Japanese Millet


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Japanese Millet

 

(Echinochloa frumentacea), an annual plant of the family Gramineae. The plant forms an erect shrub with leafy culms, which are rounded-flat in cross section and reach 2 m in height.

The broadly linear leaves are sharp and rough at the margins and lack ligules. The inflorescence is comprised of long racemes in a dense panicle. The small spikelets, measuring 2.5–3 mm, are located in groups of two to four on short stalks. Each spikelet contains three glumes and one bisexual flower. The flower is often staminate. The caryopsis is rounded. One thousand seeds weigh 1.5–4 g. The plant’s root system is extensive and fibrous.

Japanese millet has been cultivated for a long time as a grain and fodder crop in India, China, Korea, and Japan. It first appeared in what is now the USSR in the late 19th or early 20th century. The plant is sown in the Primor’e and Khabarovsk krais and in some oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR. The grass contains 1.6 percent digestible protein, and the grain 12–13 percent. Japanese millet is eaten by livestock as green mass and as hay (100 kg of hay contain 60 feed units). The grain is a good feed for poultry and, in granulated or ground form, for cattle, pigs, and other agricultural animals. The grain is also used as food and in alcohol production.

Japanese millet requires much moisture and a well-maintained field, especially at the beginning of its development. With sufficient moisture and timely weeding and feeding, there may be two to four mowings per summer on any soil. The harvest of green mass reaches 760 quintals per hectare (ha), and of hay 140 quintals per ha. The seeds sprout at temperatures of 10°-12°C. Young shoots cannot tolerate even slight frosts. Japanese millet is harvested for green feed and hay during tasseling. Harvesting for grain takes place when most of the panicle has turned brown. In the Far East, Japanese millet easily escapes from cultivation and grows as a weed, especially in rice fields.

REFERENCE

Kormovye rasteniia senokosov ipastbishch SSSR, vol. 1. Edited by I. V. Larin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
A. I. TIUTIUNNIKOV
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