History Present Biological Charakteristics Attributes Grain Quality and Use
Soil, Climate and Temperature Requirements Cultivation and Manuring Crop Management Harvest Postharvest Processing and Storage

Common millet

(Panicum miliaceum L.)

Common millet Common millet Common millet


Its origin is in China, East Asia and India. Millet belongs among the oldest cultivated crops. It used to be very important cereal for Slavic nations also. By the times millet has become less and less important.



Millet is in slow renaissance recently. Unfortunately there is lack of new quality varieties ('Hanácká Mana' - 1940, 'Unicum' - 1975). In the Czech Republic there are 300 to 500 hectares sown with conventionally grown millet and 30 hectares of organic millet. This crop is a promising one especially in dietetic products (gluten free food).


Biological Characteristics

Stem of millet is erected and divided on internodes. Its grain is round, oval or elongated covered with hulls all around. Grain can be white, yellow, grey, red and brown. It is said that the highest quality groats are made from red grain. The basic types of millet inflorescence are opened, clustered and compact.



Millet does not require special growing conditions and usually shows good profitability. Products made out of millet have high nutritional value with well-balanced nutrients (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates).


Grain quality and Use

Millet grain contains approximately 11.6 % of protein, 3.9 % of lipids, 3.1 % of minerals (mostly Ca, Fe), 5.2 % of fibre. In comparison to other cereals millet has not only a higher content of lipids but also essential amino acids and vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin). Millet is suitable for people suffering from celiac disease.


Groats (dehusked grains) are the basic product made from millet grain. It is easy digestible with high nutritional value. Grains can be processed on flakes or steamed. Millet flour is used in bakery (bread pancakes) and pasta industry. Extrudated millet flour lasts longer.


Millet grain is high quality feed for poultry, pigs, fish and avifauna. Green feed and millet straw have high nutritional value.


Pillows filled up with millet husks are very interesting and exclusive products.


Soil, Climate and Temperature Requirements

Millet is a thermophile and xerophile short season crop. It is more resistant to high temperatures and drought than barley and wheat but emerging plants are very sensitive to cold weather (optimum 15-20 °C). Duration of growing season varies from 60 to 110 days. Millet requires light and worm soils.


Cultivation and Manuring

Panicum miliaceum can be grown as a main crop or intercrop. The best integration in crop rotation is after root or leguminous crops. Pre-sowing preparation must ensure well-firmed seedbed.


Crop Management


Millet has to be sown from late April to beginning of May (20-25 kg per hectare at row spacing 125-150 mm) or (15-18 kg per hectare at row spacing 250-300 mm) in depth 20-30 mm. Millet as a second crop can be sown by the end of June. Sowing demands temperature of soil between 8 to 10 °C. Millet does not like muddy conditions during germination.


Treatment during growing season

Field should be rolled with grooved roller after sowing to keep seedbed firmed. Light harrowing can be applied once millet has emerged.



Combine-harvester has to be adjusted to the smaller grain as well as the height of harvest because millet straw is green with plenty of moisture. It is important to realise that millet grain matures successively from the top of inflorescence towards its basis.


Postharvest Processing and Storage

Millet grain is better to separate from impurities after harvest. Drying has to be done if the crop is too moist (optimum 14%). Millet can be stored with husk but prior to its processing or consumption the husk must be removed. Net yield of groats reaches 45-68 %.