Plant Name: Panicum miliaceum L.
Marathi: Bhagar/ Varai
Hindi: Sama ke chaval
English: Proso millet, broomcorn millet
Jawhar: Bhagar/ Varai
Interesting facts and history
- According to some archeological theories, proso millet domestication took place around the beginning of the Holocene as global temperatures became warmer and hunter-gatherers were exposed to new plants and environments.
- Like corn, it has a C4 photosynthesis.
Proso millet is an annual grass whose plants reach an average height of 100 cm (4 feet.).
Stout, up to 1 m or more high, smooth or somewhat hairy (a) for several cm below each node (b), especially where not enclosed within the leaf sheath.
Leaf sheaths (c) densely hairy, the hairs somewhat harsh and standing more or less perpendicular to the surface; leaf sheaths split, their margins membranous, overlapping just above each node but becoming separate upwards nearer the leaf blade; leaves smooth to sparsely hairy, elongate, to 30 cm or longer, and 5 - 25 mm wide, widest just above the rounded base and tapering towards the tip; ligule (d) a band of hairs 2 - 5 mm long, the bases of the hairs united and more or less membranous; no auricles.
Fibrous root system.
Flowers and fruits
Panicle either dense and arching or nodding to one side (D) (usually associated with cream-, orange- or reddish-seeded forms) or erect and loose or open (E) (usually associated with black-seeded forms), 8 - 30 cm long; spikelets (e) ovoid, 4 - 5.5 mm long and Â½ to 2/3 as wide; seeds 3 - 3.5 mm long by about 1.6 - 2.0 mm wide, hard and usually shiny, varying in colour from white through shades of yellow, orange and brown to black, the darker coloured seeds with 5 parallel beige veins.
Habit / Habitat
It is a grass species which is used as a crop and is cultivated widely.
It is a widely cultivated crop and with a short growing season. Proso millet grows best in full sun, moist to dry conditions, and can perform well in many soil types. It is found in croplands, fallow fields, roadsides, waste sites, and disturbed soils.
Availability of the plant species in India: It is largely grown in Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
2) Global distribution: It is cultivated widely across the globe, however it is extensively cultivated in India, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, Turkey and Romania
World wide use Seeds
Used by tribal community in Jawhar Seeds as grains
Method of consumption
- It is generally consumed as Soup with some minor spices.
- Grains are boiled to prepare khichadi by adding local ingredients.
Same like vegetable rice biryani, just millets are required to soak for almost an hour in warm water.
- It is used as a health food in Brazil, USA, UK and Canada, mainly for the people who are intolerant to gluten.
Nutritional and medicinal information
- Protein content of the millet was compared with wheat or rice and it has been observed that millet it is almost similar to that of wheat but it has richer content of essential amino acids and hence, essential amino acid content index was higher (51%) in millet than wheat.
- It consist of health-promoting phenolic compounds that are readily bioaccessible with a high calcium content. It favors bone strengthening and dental health.
Harvesting and preserving
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.
Grains could be preserved
Propagation and Storage
Season of collection
Flowers from July to September
How to grow it?
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. 8-12 kg seed is required for sowing one hectare of land.
Method of storage
Seeds for cultivation as well as grains for consumption.
- In the United States, proso is mainly grown for livestock and birdseed and also grown as catch/cover crop for winter wheat, corn and sorghum in USA.
- Starch is also obtained from millets and is a good substrate for fermentation and malting with grains having similar starch contents as wheat grains.
6 Merkblatt für den Anbau von Rispenhirse im biologischen Landbau, www.biofarm.ch, http://www.biofarm.ch/assets/files/Landwirtschaft/Merkblatt_Biohirse_Version%2012_2010.pdf
11 "Codex Standard For "Gluten-Free Foods" CODEX STAN 118-1981" (PDF). Codex Alimentarius. February 22, 2006.
13 Saleh, A.S.M., Zhang, Q., Chen, J., Shen, Q., 2012. Millet Grains: Nutritional Quality, Processing, and Potential Health Benefits. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 12, p. 281-295. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proso_millet#cite_note-Saleh-15)