Climatic Requirements: Proso millet is a crop of warm climate. It is grown extensively in warm regions of the world. It is highly drought resistant and can be grown in areas where there is scanty rainfall. It can withstand water stagnation also to some extent. It is a hardly crop which completes its life cycle in a short span of time.
Soil: Proso millet can be grown both in rich and poor soils, having variable texture, ranging between sandy loam to clays of black cotton soils, Coarse sands are not suited for proso millet cultivation. Well drained loam or sandy loam soils free from Kankar and rise in organic matter are ideal for proso millet cultivation.
Field Preparation: Soon after harvesting of the previous crop, the field should be ploughed to expose the soil to sun and enable it to retain more moisture. With the onset of monsoon, the land should be harrowed two or three times and then finally leveled. When it is being grown during summer, one irrigation should be given prior to land preparations. As soon as the soil comes in the working conditions, the seedbed should be prepared by running harrow or desi plough thrice followed by planking. Proso millet needs a firm and clean seedbed but does not respond to deep ploughing.
Seed and Sowing:The importance of healthy and disease free seed hardly needs to be emphasized. Proso millet is no exception. It is desirable that the seed be treated with organo-mercurial compounds like Agrosan G.N. or Ceresan at the rate of 2.5g per Kg of seed before sowing.
1). Time of Sowing: As a kharif crop, proso millet should be sown in the first fortnight of July with the onset of monsoon rains and as a summer crop it should be sown by the middle of April. During summer, it would be desirable to sow proso millet as soon as the harvesting of the Rabi crop is over.
2). Seed Rate and Method of Sowing: Prosomillet can be sown by broadcasting or drilling seeds in furrows 3-4 centimetre deep. Row to row distance should be kept 25 centimetre and plant to plant 10 centimetre. Line sowing ensures better germination, cuts down seed requirement and facilitates intercultural operations compare to broadcast sowing. Depending upon the method of sowing, 8-12 kg seed is required for sowing one hectare of land.
Manures and Fertilisers: Proso millet being a short duration crop, requires relatively less amount of nutrients compared to other cereals. To get a good crop, general fertilizer recommendations under irrigated condition are 40-60 kg nitrogen, 30 kg P2O5 and 20 kg K2O per hectare. Apply half of the nitrogen and whole amount of phosphorus and potash as a basal dose at the time of sowing. The remaining half of nitrogen should be applied at the time of the first irrigation. Under rainfed condition, fertilizer dose is reduced to half of the irrigated crop. If organic manure is available, it may be added to the soil about a month before sowing at the rate of 4 to 10 tonnes per hectare.
Water Management: Proso millet sown during Kharif season, generally does not require any irrigation. However, at tillering stage, if dry spell prevails for longer period, then one irrigation must be given to boost yields. Summer crop, however, would require two to four irrigations depending upon soil type and climatic conditions. Give first irrigation 25-30 days after sowing and second irrigation about 40-45 days after sowing. Due to shallow root system of proso millet, heavy irrigation is not advisable.
Weed Control: For getting high yield and minimising loss of soil moisture and nutrients, the field should be kept weed-free up to 35 days stage. Two weedings at an interval of 15-20 days would help control it. Weedings may be done with hand hoe or wheel hoe.
Disease: Head smut (Sphacelorheca destruens) is a common disease of proso millet. The affected panicles become elongated and thickened. The smut masses rupture before harvest. This is a seed-borne disease and can be controlled by treating seeds with organo-mercurial compounds like Ceresan at the rate of 3g per kg of seed or hot water treatment (soaking seeds in hot water at 550C for 7-12 minutes). Sometimes bacterial streak is also noticed. It can be controlled by the seed treatment with 5% magnesium arsenate at the rate of one gm of the chemical in one kg of seed.
Insect Pests: Among insects, shootfly is important for this crop. This insect damages the crop in the seedling stage. Apply 15 kg of Thimet granules per hectare in the soil at the time of field preparation.
Harvesting and Threshing: Proso millet is ready for harvest after 65-75 days of sowing in most of the varieties. Harvest the crop when it is about to mature. The seeds in the tip of upper heads ripe and shatter before the lower seeds and later panicles get mature. Therefore, the crop should be harvested when about two thirds of seeds are ripe. Crop is threshed with hand or bullocks.
Yield: With improved package of practices it is possible to harvest 20-23 quintals of grain and 50-60 quintals of straw per hectare.