Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #355887

Research Project: Bridging Project: Integrated Forage Systems for Food and Energy Production in the Southern Great Plains

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research

Title: Adaptability and forage characterization of finger millet accessions in U.S. southern Great Plains

Author
item Baath, Gurjinder - Oklahoma State University
item Northup, Brian
item Gowda, Prasanna
item Rocateli, Alexandre - Oklahoma State University
item Turner, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/7/2018
Publication Date: 9/10/2018
Citation: Baath, G., Northup, B.K., Gowda, P.H., Rocateli, A.C., Turner, K.E. 2018. Adaptability and forage characterization of finger millet accessions in U.S. southern Great Plains. Agronomy Journal. 177: 1-9. https://doi:10.3390/agronomy8090177.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8090177

Interpretive Summary: Winter wheat and perennial warm-season grasses are the primary forage resources for cattle grazing in the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP). However, low nutritive value of perennial grasses during summer is a limiting factor for maintaining high growth rates by stocker cattle. Alternate forage sources with the ability to fill the quality void that occurs during late-summer period needs to be explored to enhance the effectiveness of forage-stocker production systems in the SGP. In this study, we examined the adaptability of 11 finger millet lines to growing conditions in the central region of the SGP, quantify their forage and grain yields, and define their potential nutritive value as forage. The tested lines generated dry biomass yield ranged 5.0-12.3 Mg ha-1 100 days after planting. Finger millet forage found to have 105-156 g kg-1 crude protein, 598-734 g kg-1 neutral detergent fiber (NDF), 268-382 g kg-1 acid detergent fiber (ADF), and 597-730 g kg-1 in vitro true digestibility (IVTD) at maturity. This study has provided a baseline for the grain produced by finger millet in the United States that was not available within the existing literature. Tested lines of finger millet were also capable of producing grain and yielded 60-1636 kg ha-1. Future research should focus on developing strategies for agronomic management and evaluating its performance in different grazing and hay production systems for beef cattle.

Technical Abstract: Low forage quality of available perennial warm-season grasses during mid through late summer affects production of stocker cattle in the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP). There is a fundamental need to explore alternative plant species to identify those with the capacity to produce high quality summer forage. Finger millet (Eleusine coracana Gaertn L.), a drought tolerant annual grass, could be a promising forage for the SGP. This field study assessed the adaptability and forage characteristics of 11 finger millet accessions originally sourced (1964 to 1981) from different parts of the world. Results of this study suggested that finger millet can generate forage yields ranging from 5.0-12.3 Mg ha-1 at 120-150 days after planting. Finger millet forage contained 105-156 g kg-1 crude protein, 598-734 g kg-1 neutral detergent fiber, 268-382 g kg-1 acid detergent fiber, and 597-730 g kg-1 in vitro true digestibility at maturity. Ten of the 11 accessions flowered and produced grains with yields varying from 60-1636 kg ha-1. Overall, finger millet has potential to serve as an alternative crop for production of forage, and possibly grain, in the SGP. Further research needs to be focused on developing strategies for agronomic management and evaluating capacity of finger millet under different grazing and hay production settings in the SGP.