Finger Millet Farming (Ragi) Guide:-
Introduction of Finger Millet: – Finger Millet also knows as “Ragi” in India .This is a hardy popular food and wonder grain crop next to wheat, maize & rice in India. This grain is valued as staple food. It is also known as dry land crop cultivated in both tropical and sub tropical regions and mainly cultivated in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and TamilNadu & Kerala.
Health Benefits of Finger Millet:- Finger Millet has wonderful health benefits. Some of them are listed below.
- Finger Millet may help in weight loss.
- Finger Millet is excellent source of calcium, hence increases bone strength.
- Finger Millet may help in regulating blood sugar levels.
- Finger Millet may reduce cholesterol, hence protecting from risk of stroke.
- Finger Millet is good source of protein & amino acids.
- Finger Millet may help in treating anemia.
- Finger Millet may help in digestion.
- Finger Millet may help in increasing lactation.
- Finger Millet has anti aging properties, hence may revert skin aging.
Finger Millet Grown States in India:- Throughout India.
Local Names of Finger Millet in India:- Finger Millet (English), Mandua/Finger Millet (Hindi), Kelvarugu/Aariyam (Tamil), Koovarugu/ Finger Millet (Malayalam), Ragulu (Telugu), Finger Millet (Kannada), Maruba dhan (Assame), Marwa (Bengali), Nagli, Bavato (Gujarati), Nachani (Marathi), Mandia (Oriya), Mandal (Punjabi),Finger Millet (Rajasthani).
High Yielding Improved Varieties of Finger Millet in India:- CO-9, CO-13, CO (Ra)-14 and TRY-1,Paiyur-1,Paiyur-2, VL Mandua-101,VL Mandua-124,VL Mandua-149,VL Mandua-204,VLMandua-146,VLMandua-314,VLMandua-315,H-22,K-1,Hullubele,Karegidda,Gidda ,Jasarilambi ,Madayyanagiri-1 ,Madayyanagiri-2, Dodda, Jadesanga and Jenumudda.
Agro-Climate Required for Finger Millet Farming:- Finger Millet crop requires day temperatures of 30° C to 34° C and 22° C to 25° C nightly temperatures for optimal growth along with good sunshine. It thrives best in the areas where annual rainfall is about 100 cm.
Soil Requirement for Finger Millet Farming:- Finger Millet crop can be grown on a wide range of soils from rich loam to poor shallow upland soils with good organic matter. However, porous/light red loam/sandy loam soils with good internal drainage are good for its cultivation. Black soils with good drainage can also be considered for this crop cultivation as it tolerates somewhat water stagnation. Finger Millet crop thrives best in soils with pH of 4.5 to 8.0. Heavy clay soils with poor water drainage should be avoided.
Land Preparation in Finger Millet Farming:- The land preparation is different for rainfed and irrigated conditions. In case of rainfed crop (crop with 80 cm of rainfall), main field should be ploughed 2 or 3 times deeply to conserve the moisture content in the soil. In case of irrigated crop, it is required to plough the field till the fine tilth upon monsoon arrival.
- Broadcasting: This is most common method practiced & the Finger Millet seeds are directly sown in the field by broadcasting.
- Line Sowing: In this method, Finger Millet seeds are sown in lines & line sowing method is better than broadcasting method. In this method, spacing of 22 cm to 30 cm between lines & 8cm to 10 cm within lines should be maintained. The Finger Millet seeds should be sown about 3 cm deep in the soil.
- Drilling in rows: In this method, seeds are sown using drill. Sowing seeds by seed cum fertilizer drill is very beneficial in line sowing.
- Transplanting the seedlings: Transplanting is a process of raising the seedlings in nursery beds and transplant to the main field. Leveling & watering of beds is required during transplanting. Seedlings with 4 weeks age should be transplanted in the field. For early Rabi and Kharif season, seedlings should be transplanted @ 25 x 10 cm and for Late Kharif season @ 30 cm x 10 cm. planting should be done 3 cm depth in the soil.
Before transplanting, follow these disease preventive methods.
- Use 0.1% carbendazim solution to dip the leafy portion of Finger Millet seedlings to prevent the blast from nursery to main field.
- Drip the root portion of the Finger Millet seedlings in the solution of Azospirillum inoculants in 40 to 45 liters of water for about 30 minutes.
Note: Start watering the seedlings after 3rd day of transplanting.
Seed Rate in Finger Millet Farming:- Seed rate in Finger Millet Farming is about 10 to 15 kg per hectare.
Crop Rotation in Finger Millet Farming:- Following the crop rotation is very important in Finger Millet cultivation and it results in good yields and minimize the inorganic fertilizer application as well. Below are some of the crop rotations followed in south and north India.
|South India||North India|
|Finger Millet – Tobacco||Finger Millet – Mustard|
|Finger Millet – Groundnut||Finger Millet – Gram|
|Finger Millet – Potato – Maize||Finger Millet – Barley|
|Finger Millet – Potato – Finger Millet||Finger Millet – Linseed|
|Finger Millet – Sugarcane||Finger Millet – tobacco|
In south Karnataka, the Finger Millet crop rotations are as follows:
|Kharif||Castor and Horse Gram|
|Kharif and Rabi||Pigeon Pea|
|Kharif||Green gram, Black gram & Cowpea|
Manures and Fertilizers in Finger Millet Farming:- Incorporate 13 tonnes Farm Yard Manure (FMY)/ha in the soil. Application of the fertilizers like NPK depends on the region and soil. Different states have different requirements for both irrigated and rainfed conditions. For example: Finger Millet cultivation in Tamil Nadu requires NPK of 30:30:30 Kg/ha at the time of seed sowing & where as Karnataka requires NPK of 50:50:50 Kg/ha at the time of seed sowing. For other regions based on the fertility of the soil, NPK should be applied (contact your nearest agriculture department for NPK requirement for both rainfed and irrigated conditions).
Intercropping in Finger Millet Farming:- Inter cropping always brings good returns .some of the best intercrop combination of Finger Millet is mentioned below.
- Finger Millet + maize = Highest yield.
- Finger Millet + field bean or Fodder sorghum = Enhancing the productivity.
- Finger Millet + Pigeon pea = Higher returns.
- Finger Millet + black gram or green gram = Profitable crop combinations.
- Finger Millet + mustard = Profitable.
Irrigation in Finger Millet Farming:- Following are the irrigations required in Finger Millet Farming.
|No. of irrigations.||Red Soils.||Heavy Soils.|
|1st||Immediately after sowing||Immediately after sowing|
|2nd||3rd day after sowing||4th day after sowing|
|3rd||7th day after sowing||9th day after sowing|
|4th||12th day after sowing||16th day after sowing|
|5th||17th day after sowing||..|
Weed Control /Inter cultural Operations in Finger Millet Farming:- In irrigated crop ,weeding is very important operation to be carried out on regular base in Finger Millet cultivation. Hand weeding can be done or weedicides can applied in the field. Hand weed should be given twice on the 9th and 19th day after transplanting the seedlings. The inter cultivation and weeding should be done with hand hoe after 4 weeks of sowing. 2 or 3 hoeing would be sufficient. Thinning operation need to be done 2 weeks after sowing as Finger Millet is densely sown crop. Usually hand thinning is practiced.
In rainfed crop, in line sown Finger Millet crop requires 2 to 3 inter cultivation operations.
Pests and Diseases in Finger Millet Farming:- Main pests found in Finger Millet cultivation are :Pink stem borer, Leaf folder, Earhead bug, Earhead bug ,Aphids, White stem borer, Root aphid, Finger Millet leaf hopper, Cutworm, Yellow aphid and Grasshopper. Blast and Mosaic are main diseases in Finger Millet crop. For symptoms and control measures for these pests and diseases, contact your nearest agriculture department.
Harvesting of Finger Millet:- Finger Millet crop will be ready and matured in 4 months to 5 months period. Finger Millet starts flowering in 2 to 3 months. This crop should be cut above ground level and dry them in the sun for 2 to 3 days. Bullocks or sticks can be used to separate the seeds from the plants.
Yield of Finger Millet: – Yield always depends on the crop management practices and the variety cultivated. In Finger Millet farming, an average yield of 12 to 15 quintals/ha can be expected in case of rainfed crop. In case of Irrigated crop, 40 to 45 quintals/ha can be obtained.
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Bottom Line of Finger Millet Farming:- With best crop management practices and minimal investment, one can expect good returns.
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