Proso Millet as an Alternative Crop
Proso millet, Panicurn miliaceum (L.), is a warm season grass that is capable of producing seeds within a short growing season of 60 to 100 days (Boland, 2003). Proso millet possesses many unique characteristics that make it a promising alternative cash crop for the Great Plains region of United States. There is much potential for beneficial results if proso millet is further integrated into the cropping scheme of the Great Plains. Reasons for looking further into proso millet include benefits in crop rotation with wheat, and its characteristic ability to be used to produce ethanol, as well as other products.
Proso millet commonly grows up to four feet tall, and the seeds are small…show more content… Proso millet is effective at helping control these grasses because proso millet does not occupy the same growing season as these weeds, unlike winter wheat. Putting millet into a wheat/fallow rotation makes it possible to produce two crops in three years. Proso millet requires little water, and has fairly low nutrient requirements. Studies have shown that proso millet starts to produce seed after utilizing as 6 inches of total water, as opposed to the 9 to 10 inches of total water use before wheat beings seed production (Baltensperger). The main nutrients that may be lacking for proso millet production are nitrogen and phosphorus (Blumenthal). It is recommended that a soil nitrogen test be conducted every year before planting proso millet and that a soil test for potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients be done every three to five years (Blumenthal). Fertilizers should then be applied accordingly to the results of the soil tests. Insect and disease problems are not very high in proso millet (Baltensperger). Weeds, however, can be a problem in proso millet, and can cause drastic reductions in yields. The herbicide combination that is used most often in proso millet production is Banvel and 2,4-D (Baltensperger). Atrazine, which was used extensively in proso millet production, is no longer labeled for use with proso millet, which has increased the amount of management and money required to produce proso millet