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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Pearl millet production potential with no-till and conventional tillage on Cecil soil in the Southeast

Authors
item Endale, Dinku
item Schomberg, Harry
item Wilson, Jeffrey
item Vencil, William - UGA

Submitted to: Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2007
Publication Date: June 25, 2007
Citation: Endale, D.M., Schomberg, H.H., Wilson, J.P., Vencil, W.K. 2007. Pearl millet production potential with no-till and conventional tillage on Cecil soil in the Southeast. Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference.

Interpretive Summary: Growers and researchers in the Southeast continue to search for alternatives to offset massive imports of corn from the Midwest used for poultry and livestock rations, which are expanding enterprises. Besides economics, there is concern that these imports will lead to a net regional accumulation of phosphorus, which potentially threatens environmental quality. Pearl millet, native to the Sahara Desert in Africa, is well adapted to the sometimes erratic growing conditions of the region, and requires less fuel, fertilizer and water to grow. However, very few of the 2.5 million acres of pearl millet grown in the USA are in the Southeast. Pearl millet varieties recently developed for grain in the Southeast need to be tested under field conditions for eventual transfer to growers. In 2006, researchers from the USDA-ARS and the University of Georgia evaluated the viability and productivity of 9 pearl millet varieties at the USDA-ARS J. Phil Campbell Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center near Watkinsville, GA, space with 2 different tillage treatments; conventional and no-till with application of inorganic fertilizer. Prior to 2006, fertilization of the research plots was with poultry litter or inorganic fertilizer in a corn-related research. The pearl millet variety evaluation was planted in 14 inch row spacing. An additional test evaluated 7-, 14- and 21-inch row spacing for two of the varieties. Yields ranged from 1998 lbs/acre to 4869 lbs/acre. Average yields were higher in the historically poultry litter plots for both conventional and no-tillage treatments. The study will continue in the summer of 2007. This crucial information will allow growers to capitalize on environmental and market opportunities existing in the Southeast including increasing demand for corn to satisfy expanding poultry and livestock enterprises and biofuels production.

Technical Abstract: Importing grains from the Midwest to the Southeast for poultry rations results in a net regional accumulation of phosphorus which potentially threatens environmental quality. Regionally grown grains would help reduce the imbalance of phosphorus importation. Pearl millet is well adapted to the region and produces live weight gains in poultry equal to or superior to those of rations with corn. However, very few of the 2.5 million acres of pearl Millet grown in the USA are in the southeast. In 2006, we evaluated the viability and productivity of 9 pearl millet varieties at Watkinsville, GA on Cecil soil with 2 different tillage treatments, conventional and no-till, and application of inorganic fertilizer. Prior to 2006, fertilization of the research plots was with poultry litter or inorganic fertilizer in a corn-related research. The pearl millet variety evaluation was planted in 14 inch row spacing. An additional test evaluated 7, 14 and 21 inch row spacing for two of the varieties. Yields ranged from 1998 lbs/acre to 4869 lbs/acre. Average yields were higher in the historically poultry litter plots for both conventional and no-tillage treatments. The study will continue in the Summer of 2007.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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