Best Fertilizer for Sorghum/Jowar: Organic, NPK, Bio-fertilizers, Requirements, When and How to Apply

Sorghum (Sorghum Vulgare Pers.) is also known as Jowar. It is essential to understand the needs of the crop for maximum yield. Sorghum needs many vital nutrients in maximum productivity. These nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), calcium (Ca), and to some extent, manganese (Mn) and copper (Cu). Let’s check out the best fertilizer for Sorghum/Jowar.

Best Fertilizer for Sorghum/Jowa
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Fertilizer nutrient management 

Farmers should apply NPK fertilizer with at least six compounds of the nutrients (including NPK) for maximum yield. For Sorghum production, NPK fertilizers and S, Mg, and Zn give the best combination ratio. Fertilizer for the NPK is best used in two splits for better yield. Please make sure that you use certified seeds and good agricultural practices to get the maximum benefit from investing in high-quality fertilizer at each sown crop. 

Soil testing is the basis for determining which of these nutrients could potentially limit production. Soil test results will allow you to develop an accurate plan for fertility management and fix it. Balanced fertility programs improve grain production and water use efficiency (famine tolerance) at a minimal cost. Adequate soil fertility is one of the requirements for profitable grain and fodder production. 

Fertilizer application

Sorghum is an exhaustive crop, and if not correctly cared for, it can destroy soil fertility very quickly. In addition, fertilizer doses vary by variety and the type of crop grown. For example, local varieties require less quantity compared to hybrids. Similarly, irrigated crops need more food than rainfed crops, whether local or high-yielding varieties. Considering all these points, the best details can be found from the following information: Maximum dose of 60-80 kg/ha for local varieties of rain-fed, high-yielding, and irrigated crops. While for high-yielding varieties of irrigation, it should be between 120-150 kg per ha. 

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Jowar Farm
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In the case of heavy soils, the same application gives better results than distribution, but in the case of light soil distribution, i.e., half basal and the other half as a top dressing is preferred at knee height or 30-35 days after sowing. Nitrogen topdressing is not required in low rainfall or rainfed areas. An average dose of 20-60 kg P2O5 / ha is good. Placement at a depth of 4-6 cm gives better results. Again, though, it is mainly kept basal under normal circumstances. 

Symptoms of fertilizer deficiencies in Sorghum

Apply fertilizer recommendations based on soil analysis. Symptoms of deficiency that can be seen in the field are;

  • Nitrogen (N) deficiency – Young plants are light green or pale green; at a more mature stage, the older leaves start yellowing color first with a characteristic inverted V-shape.
  • Phosphorus (P) Deficiency – In wet, cold conditions, the leaves of young plants may turn dark green color with reddish-purple margins and tips. 
  • Potassium (K) Deficiency – Initially, K deficiency is noted as the margins of yellow or necrotic leaves, extending from the lower leaves to the upper leaves. 

Best fertilizer for Sorghum/Jowar

NPK fertilizers

Apply 12.5 tonnes/ha composted coir path and 40:20: 0 of NPK fertilizer; apply enriched FYM 750 kg/ha. The recommended dose of 40 kg N and 20 kg P2O5 / ha for rainfed Sorghum can be halved if FYM by 5 t / ha is applied for crop growth. 

Organic fertilizers

Spread 12.5 tons per hectare in FYM or composted coir pith with 10 packets Azospirillum (2000 grams / ha) and 20 packets Azophos (4000 grams / ha) or 10 packets (2000 grams / ha) of phosphobacteria. Apply well-decomposed poultry manure at the rate of 5 tons per hectare to improve the soil’s physical properties and the production of grains in the soil.

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Jowar farming
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Fertilizer requirement (kg / acre) 
UreaSSPMuriate Of Potash

The organic fertilizers or manures recommended for the Sorghum crop are farmyard manure and composted coir pith. And they are essential sources of macro and micronutrients. It is recommended that 5 to 6 percent of the organic matter level in the soil or 2.5 to 3 percent of organic carbon will lead to the sustainable production of crops. 

Organic fertilizers improve soil fertility, crops, and air quality. They increase soil water retention capacity. Stimulate the activity of the microorganisms that convert complex organic matter into simple substances that plants easily absorb. The method and quantity of use in the preparation of land are given.

Necessary fertilizers


Nitrogen increases the vegetative mass of Sorghum and promotes rapid plant growth. The highest yields are obtained from the use of large amounts of nitrogen. The most limiting nutrient for production is nitrogen in most farming environments. Sorghum is no exception, requiring a grain yield of 1.12 pounds per bushel, similar to the corn recommendation. Yields become less responsive to nitrogen as yields reach 150 bushels per acre because other factors limit yields.

In case you miss this: Sorghum Cultivation Income (Jowar), Yield, Project Report.

Jowar field
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Farmers should base their nitrogen intake on production target, residual nitrogen content in the soil profile, and expected nitrogen content of minerals from soil organic matter. Soil sampling and analysis are essential for this determination and will prevent both high and low use of fertilizers. 


Phosphorus fertilizer accelerates seed germination. The dose of phosphorus applied for Sorghum is usually 1.5-2 times less than that of nitrogen. Phosphorus is particularly limited when the pH falls below six or above 8. When the pH goes beyond the maximum, agronomists often recommend applying phosphorus in or near the seedbed or in a narrow strip a few inches apart and a few inches apart in the depths of the soil.

Concentrating phosphorus reduces the chance of nutrients being “tied up” by the soil. In addition, common phosphorus fertilizer sources contain nitrogen and sometimes sulfur, which lower the pH within the narrow band to allow more phosphorus to be available.


In Sorghum grains, this fertilizer positively affects the accumulation of starch and sugar. Potassium is abundantly available for Sorghum needs. However, farmers may need to add potassium to very shallow soils with shallow roots and on sandy soils. Therefore, it is better to fertilize the seeds deeper before sowing. 

Organic fertilizers and micronutrients are also included in the requirements of grain Sorghum fertilizer. For example, manganese, zinc, and boron are used to promote better maturation of seeds, which in turn increases their germination and yield. 

In case you miss this: Jowar Farming (Sorghum) Information Guide

Jowar plants
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Other nutrients 

Secondary and micronutrients are needed only in specific areas and specific soils. Rely on experience and local recommendations to find where these nutrient supplements are required where the grain Sorghum crop is planned. Soil tests are difficult to interpret for some of these nutrients. For example, sandy soils may be deficient in sulfur which is low in organic matter. Under irrigation conditions, irrigation water can meet most of the sulfur requirements of the crop if the irrigation water contains sulfate.

Water analysis helps determine the amount of sulfur in the water. For production on low-organic sandy soils, it is recommended to use 10 to 15 pounds per acre of sulfur to determine the probability of a sulfur reaction—an excellent way to add sulfur to a starter mix. Zinc is also a critical factor in optimal Sorghum production.

Soil tests are an excellent way to assess zinc requirements. Zinc deficiency is more likely to occur in areas where topsoil has been removed and more productive conditions. Zinc is usually applied in combination with phosphorus and potassium. Fertilizer use, if available, is a good source of many nutrients, including zinc. 

Starter fertilizer 

Row starter fertilizer can maximize efficient utilization of nutrients such as phosphate, zinc, and sulfur in low test soil. The most dramatic visual reaction of starter fertilizer occurs when the soil is cool at planting. Therefore, an essential response to the early development of Sorghum applied in cold soil conditions may be when starter fertilizer is used correctly. The advantages of rapid growth include a more uniform stand establishment and plant size.

The response to early growth does not always increase grain production but may result in the early maturation of the crop. Early flowering can improve yields in the early frost years. The effect of starter fertilizer is often seen on grain Sorghum in areas where it is cold at night. Also, earlier maturity can result in slightly dry grains at harvest time (one or two percentage points reduce grain moisture). 

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Jowar farming
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In Sorghum, biofertilizers are microbial preparations containing living or latent cells of microorganisms. When mixed with seeds or planted on the ground, they dissolve and increase nitrogen or phosphate in the crop’s root zone. Soil fertility management through inorganic fertilizers in areas with low humidity requires proper care. The way for using fertilizers should be different from areas with high humidity so that plants can easily access and use them. 

Types of biofertilizers

  1. Nitrogen fixers – Azospirillum 
  2. Phosphate solubilizer/mobilizers – Phosphobacteria



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