High yielding pearl millet

Scientists at the department of millets, Centre for Plant Breeding and Genetics, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, have developed a high yielding pearl millet (cumbuin Tamil and bajra in Hindi) hybrid with built-in resistance to downy mildew disease. The university has recently released it for commercial cultivation by the farmers. Christened, Cumbu hybrid-CO (Cu) H 8, the new hybrid has 5-8 productive tillers and produced compact ear head with medium sized grains. A cross between 732A and PT 4450, this hybrid has a duration of 80-85 days. It is ideally for kharif, rabi and summer seasons. It has recorded an average yield of 2841kg per hectare as a rainfed crop, and 3682 kg per hectare under irrigated conditions. It performed well in both rainfed and irrigated conditions (summer). The hybrid millet grows to a height of 140-170 cm, and yields spindle type ear heads of 20 cm to 30cm long. The amber coloured grains weigh 8.5g to 9.5 per thousand. The protein content is about 13.8%, and the grains are of acceptable cooking quality. The early-maturing hybrid has field tolerance to downy mildew disease, and is free of major pests. About 5 kg seeds will be required to cover a hectare. Proper seed treatment should be done before sowing. About three packets (600 g) of Azospirillum should be mixed with the seeds prior to sowing. A spacing of 45cm between rows and 15 cm between plants within a row should be maintained for vigorous growth of the plants. For the irrigated crop, a basal dressing of 12.5 tonnes of farmyard along with 40 kg each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash is recommended per hectare. About 4 packets of Azospirillum are to be applied in the main field. The remaining 40 kg nitrogen should be applied as top dressing on the 30th day after sowing. For the rainfed crop, the basal dressing of 12.5 tonnes of farmyard manure should be applied along with 40 kg nitrogen and 20 kg each of phosphorus and potash per hectare.