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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #204867

Title: Progress in grain pearl millet research and market developments

item Wilson, Jeffrey - Jeff

Submitted to: Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/12/2006
Publication Date: 10/14/2006
Citation: Gulia, S.K., Wilson, J.P., Singh, B.P., Carter, J. 2006. Progress in grain pearl millet research and market developments. 6th New Crops Symposium, Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops. San Diego, CA Oct. 14-18, 2006. p. 48.

Interpretive Summary: not required

Technical Abstract: Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br.) has historically been grown only for forage and hay in the southern United States. However, recent research and technology transfer activities are resulting in continued improvements in grain hybrids adapted to the southeast and the emergence of new markets for the crop. With increasing global competition for major commodity crops, farmers have been actively seeking alternative crops to remain profitable. Pearl millet provides an opportunity for production on sandy and acidic soils of the southeast without irrigation because of its deep root system and the ability to withstand drought and extract nutrients from poor soils. The current and future demands for pearl millet grain are coming from diverse markets. The agritourism and recreational wildlife industries are finding superior results from using pearl millet in rations for bobwhite quail production, and for supplemental feeding. It also seems to be an excellent food for other birds, including dove, turkey, and songbirds. Pearl millet is equal to or better than typical corn-soybean diets for broiler production and can be fed without grinding, thus eliminating processing costs. New evidence indicates superior results when used in pre-starter and starter rations for poultry. Pearl millet can be a useful supplemental feedstock for ethanol production. Research suggests that ethanol facilities processing pearl millet could yield a 25% greater gross return over traditional feedstocks. Immigrants from Africa and the Indian subcontinent where pearl millet is widely grown for food are in the habit of eating this grain in various preparations. The large immigrant population from these two regions ensures a steady demand in the foreseeable future. Because it is gluten-free, marketing opportunities for this grain also exists in the health-food outlets. ‘Tifgrain 102’, a pearl millet hybrid cultivar released jointly by USDA-ARS and the University of Georgia, possesses resistance to diverse nematodes, rust, and pyricularia leaf spot. Research is currently in progress to identi1 molecular markers for disease and pest resistance in ‘Tifgrain 102’. This effort will lead to broad-spectrum resistance against multiple diseases and pests in future hybrids.