Plant: A robust, multi-stemmed annual grass.
Stems: Stems erect, 150-300 cm long, 10-20 mm diameter. Nodes are bearded and slightly swollen. Nodes can produce adventitious roots. Above each node is a shallow groove containing a bud.
Leaves: Ligule is a fringe of hairs. Leaf-blades are flat, 50-100 cm long and 8-70 mm wide.
Seeds: Wedge-shaped seeds are 3-4 mm long and colour depends on variety. About 187,000 seeds/kg.
Seedhead: Seedhead is a compact, cylindrical spike-like panicle.
It is used as an annual summer forage crop for cattle.
Rainfall greater than 500 mm/yr and soil moisture stored during fallow are required for satisfactory forage crop production.
It is adapted to fertile loams to heavy cracking clays.
It grows during the warm season and tops are killed by heavy frost.
Legumes: lablab, cowpea.
Sowing/planting rates as single species
Sowing/planting rates in mixtures
It is sown from spring to late summer.
Fertiliser application of 15-20 kg/ha P, 50-100 kg/ha N and 50-100 kg/ha K, if grown for hay, may be used to produce satisfactory forage crops.
100 kg N/ha after grazing will increase late season production.
20 t/ha DM has been produced from good stands with sufficient moisture and fertiliser.
Ability to spread
There is little chance of spread.
It has negligible weed potential.
Helicoverpa spp. can damage developing heads and should be controlled in seed crops.
Head mould and ergot can reduce seed yield.
It is killed by glyphosate and is tolerant of atrazine.
Forage quality depends on soil type and fertility, fertilisers applied, rainfall and age of the crop.
Reduced palatability is sometimes observed in droughted crops.
At Katherine NT wet season grazing by beef cattle at a stocking rate of 2.5 beasts/ha produced a liveweight gain of 102 kg per head in 20-24 weeks. Cattle grazing standing pearl millet in the dry season made an average liveweight gain of 269 kg/ha over 16 weeks during a period when animals grazing natural pasture lost weight
No known problems except unpalatability in some droughted crops.
ES004 possible commercial release spring 2011
ES006 possible commercial release spring 2011