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Crop Cultivation Guidence: Jower Cultivation


Sorghum (Sorghum vulgare Pers.), popularly known as jowar, is the most important food and fodder crop of dryland agriculture. The annual area under it ranges between 17 and 18 million hectares and the annual production between 8 and 10 million tonnes.

Sorghum is originated in India and Africa. It is also said that its origin is Abyssinia and from there it was brought to USA and European countries.

Jowar is mainly concentrated in the peninsular and central India. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (the Bundelkhand region) and Tamil Nadu are the major jowar – growing states. Other states grow sorghum in small areas primarily for fodder.

The sorghum grain is used primarily as human food in various forms, such as roti or bhakri (unleavened bread), or is cooked like rice. Sorghums are also malted, popped and several local preparations are made. Green and dried fodder is the most important roughage for feeding cattle throughout the country. The utilization of grain sorghum as a cattle feed, poultry ration and other industrial uses is at present not very significant, although considerable scope exists.

Climate and soil:

Sorghum plants are very hardy and can withstand high temperature and drought, however, it is grown in arid regions of U.P, Rajasthan and humid regions of Bengal and Bihar. It may be successfully grown under atmospheric temperature ranging between 15 0C to 40 0C and annual rainfall ranging from 400 to 1000 mm.

Sorghum is grown on a variety of soil types but the clayey loam soil rich in humus is found to be the most ideal soil. It may tolerate mild acidity to mild salinity under pH 5.5 to 8.0. A good sorghum soil must have an efficient drainage facilities though, it may withstand water logging more than maize.

Land Preparation:

Deep summer ploughing with mould board plough soon after rabi crop is harvested and leaving the soil exposed to sun until onset of monsoon is a common practice. With the onset of monsoon the land should be ploughed twice by country plough. But the soil for grain crop should be pulverised for a fine tilth by harrowing and cross plankings. If desired, field should be levelled before sowing so that rainwater may be well distributed throughout the field.

Improved and Hybrid varieties of Sorghum:

A. Improved varieties
S.N. Varieties Parents Days to maturity Yield (T/ha)
1 SPV-462   110 - 115 35 - 40
2 CSV-13   110 - 115 35 - 40
3 CSV-15 SPV-475X SPV -462 110 - 115 40 - 45
B. Hybrid varieties
1. CSH-1 CK 60A x IS 84 90 - 100 30 - 35
2. CSH-5 2077A x CS 3541 110 - 115 40 - 45
3. CSH-6 2219 A X CS 3541 90 - 100 50 - 60
4. CSH-9 296 A x CS 3541 110 - 115 45 - 50
5. CSH-10 296 A x SB 1085 110 - 115 45 - 50
6. CSH-11 296 A x MR 750 110 - 115 45 - 50
7. CSH-14 AK MS 14 A x AKR150 100 - 105 45 - 50
A. Improved varieties
1. M-35-1   120 - 125 15 - 18
2. CSV-8R   120 - 125 20 - 22
3. Swati M-35-1 x SPV 36 120 - 125 24 - 28
4. CSV-14R   115 - 120 20 - 24
5. Selection 3   105 - 110 5 - 6
6. SPV-1359   125 - 130 25 - 30
B. Hybrid varieties
1. CSH-13R 296 A x RS 29 115 - 120 25 - 30
2. CSN-15R 104 A x RS 585 115 - 120 32- 35
3. Phule Yashoda   120 - 125 18 - 20
4. SPV-84   120 - 125 20 - 22


a) Sowing time:Sorghum crop is grown in almost all the seasons of the year. In Northern India conditions it is grown in kharif season but in Southern India the crop is grown during Rabi and summer seasons. Kharif crop should be sown soon after first break of monsoon rains i.e. nearly in last week of June. Therefore, the best sowing time is in last week of June to first week of July depending upon onset of monsoon. Whereas rabi jawar is sown in the month of October to November.

b) Spacing:A spacing of 40-45 cm between the rows and 15-20 cm between the plants is quite satisfactory.

c) Seed rate: Required plant population may be obtained by using a seed rate of 8-12 kg/ha. The seeds are sown about 3-4 cm deep in the furrows.

Seed treatment:

The seed treatment may be done by Agrosan GN, Thiram at the rate of 3g/kg of seed or sulphur at the rate of 5g/kg of seed. The seed is treated, dried and sown in the field.

Application of mannurs and fertilizers:

Sorghum is an exhaustive crop and it depletes soil fertility very fast, if proper care is not taken. The fertilizer doses differ from type to type and nature of crop to be grown e.g. local varieties need less quantity than hybrid ones. Similarly, irrigated crop requires higher doses than rainfed ones no matter whether it is a local or high yielding variety. Considering all these points an optimum dose may be found out from the following details: an optimum dose of nitrogen for rainfed high yielding and local varieties of irrigated crop should be 60-80kg/ha while for irrigated high yielding varieties it should be between 120-150 kg/ha. In case of heavy soils one single application gives better results than split application but in case of light soils split application i.e. half basal and remaining half as top-dressing at knee-height stage or 30-35 days after sowing is preferred. Under low rainfall or in rainfed areas top-dressing of nitrogen is not required. On an average a dose of 40-60 kg P2O5/ha is found to be good. Placement at 4-6 cm depth has given better results. However, under normal conditions it is mostly basal placed. Potash at the rate of 40kg/ha applied at the time of field preparation gives good result.

Interculture :

Manual weedings and hoeings help in solving the weed problem but it is possible only during rabi and arid cropping seasons while rains do not permit the manual weeding or hoeing during kharif season. Application of herbicides like atrazine @ 0.5 kg a.i./ha or Propazine @1.0 kg a.i./ha dissolved in 900-1000 liters of water, therefore, becomes obviously essential to control weeds. These herbicides should be applied before emergence of sorghum seedlings.


Sorghum is a fairly drought resistant crop and it does very well in areas receiving 50 cm well distributed rainfall but it cannot withstand waterlogging at any stage of crop growth. The most critical growth stages for irrigation are knee-height stage, flowering and grain filling stages at which the crop should be ensured for proper moisture conditions so that the crop does not suffer from moisture stress.Contrary to this in kharif crop an efficient drainage must be provided as the crop cannot tolerate water accumulation for more than few hours, therefore, in low lying areas sowing of crop on 5-7cm high ridges or sowing in flat beds followed by light earthing is a remedy for stagnant water in the field.

Plant protection Measures:

Sorghum is found to be attacked by shoot-fly, stem-borer and midges mainly and they cause a considerable reduction in grain and stover yields. Following schedule may help in their control:

A. Schedule of operations for control for insect/pest in sorghum crop

Insect Growth stage at which they attack Control measures
    Chemical Preventive
Shoot- fly Seedling stage Carbofuran @ 1kg/100kg of seed, or 5% Disulfoton @ 3g/m row length, or 10% phorate grannule @ 5 g/m row length may be sown along with seeds.
Spraying of Carbaryl (50%w.p) or Endrin (20% EC @ 2 kg or 1 kg/ha respectively twice i.e. 3-5 DAS & 8-12 DAS.
Use of higher seed rate removal & destruction of damaged seedlings 10-12 days after germination.
Stem borer Seedling to flowering stage Application of grannules of any of 4% Edosulfan @ 8kg/ha, 4% Carbaryl @ 12kg/ha or 2% Lindane @ 15 kg/ha in leaf whorls twice at 10 days interval starting from 20 days after germination. Uprooting and burning of stubbles.
Midge Panicle emergence to flowering Spraying of Carbaryl (50%W.P) @ 3 kg/ha or Lindane (20EC) @ 1.25 litre or Endosulfan (30 EC) @ 1 litre in 500-600 litres of water/ha before flowering or 3 days after panicle emergence controls the insect. Buming of panicle residues and chaff left after threshing.

B. Disease and their control
Diseases Causal organism Control measures
Grain smut Sphacelotheca sorghi Seed treatment with organo-mercurial compound viz. Ceresan, Agrosan GN, etc.
Ergot Sphacelia sorghi 1. Seed treatment with any of the above-mentioned chemicals.
2. Spraying of Ziram @0.15% or 1 kg/ha at boot leaf stage and its repetition at 5-7 days interval at least two times.
3. Immersion of seed in 2% saline water, washing them with fresh water and drying in shade controls the disease.
Downy midew Sclerospora sorghi 1. Avoid waterlogging.
2. Removal and burning/burying of diseased plants.
3. Application of Dithane Z-78 @ 0.2 % spray solution reduces secondary infaction.

Harvesting and threshing:

a) Harvesting
The high yielding varieties mature in about 100-120 days duration after which they are harvested. Generally two methods of harvesting i.e. either stalk-cut or cutting of earheads by sickles are employed. However, in foreign countries sorghum harvesters are used. In case of stock cut method the plants are cut from near the ground level, the stalks are tied into bundles of convenient removed from plants, while in later case the earheads, after their removal from the standing crop, are piled up on the threshing floor and after few days they are threshed. Threshing of earheds is done either by beating them with sticks or by trampling them under bullock’s feet. Later method is quicker and is practiced by majority of farmers who use to grow the crop on larger scale.

b) Yield
The grain yield of improved varieties under assured water supply ranges between 25-35 quintals/ha and that of hay or karvi between 150-170 quintals/ha.

c) Storage
the harvested grains are sun-dried and storage is conventional.

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