The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Setaria italica maxima), an annual cultivated subspecies of foxtail millet (family Gramineae). The erect, nearly cylindrical stem varies in height from 25 cm to 2 m. The leaves, which are broadly lanceolate and pointed, measure 25–65 cm in length. The inflorescence is a spicate panicle, and the fruit is a grain.

This foxtail millet subspecies is cultivated in Korea, China, India, Mongolia, Japan, the USSR, and other countries. In the USSR it is grown in the Byelorussian SSR, the Ukrainian SSR, the republics of Middle Asia, the Kazakh SSR, the Georgian SSR, the Northern Caucasus, and the Far East. It is cultivated on small plots. Chumiza is used as a food crop in the form of groats and flour and as a feed crop in the form of grain, hay, and green feed.

The plant is drought resistant and thermophile. It grows well in chernozems, gray forest soils, and soddy podzols. Germination occurs at a temperature of 5°C; the shoots are sensitive to frost. Three varieties are distinguished based on the length of the vegetative period: early varieties, with a vegetative period of 100 to 110 days; average varieties, with a vegetative period of 110 to 130 days; and late varieties, with a vegetative period of more than 130 days.

For plantings raised for grain, the seeds are sown in wide rows 45–60 cm apart. Continuous drilling is used if the crop is to be used as hay or green chop. The rate for wide-row sowing is 10–12 kg/hectare (ha); the seed rate in continuous drilling is 14–20 kg/ha. The depth of seeding is 2.5–4.5 cm. Chumiza is grown with vetch, clover, and other legumes. The crop is harvested for grain during the phase of waxy ripeness or at the beginning of the phase of complete maturity. Harvesting for hay is done at the beginning of panicle formation, and harvesting for green feed takes place ten to 14 weeks earlier. The yield per ha is 250–300 centners of green mass, 50–70 centners of hay, and 15–30 centners of grain. One hundred kg of green mass contain 17.5 feed units and 1.8 kg of digestible protein. In 100 kg of hay there are 55 feed units and 5.4 kg of digestible protein. Green mass, hay, and silage may be fed to cattle, sheep, and horses. The grain may be fed to all agricultural animals.


Varenitsa, E. T. Kul’tura chumizy v nechernozemnoi polose. Moscow, 1955.
Varenitsa, E. T. Chumiza: Biologiia, selektsiia i agrotekhnika. Moscow, 1958.
Spravochnik po kormoproizvodstvu. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.