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Botanical Name of Bajra
Agriculture is one of the oldest economic activities practiced all around the world. There are different varieties of crops that are grown and harvested depending upon the soil type and weather.
Bajra or Pearl millet is widely grown type of millet. Pennisetum glaucum is the botanical name of Bajra. It belongs to the grass (poaceae) family. It can be of different colours such as white, yellow, grey, brown or purple. The Bajra plant can have a length of 0.5 - 4 m. It has large stems, leaves and head. The Bajra grain is coarse.
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Production of Bajra in India
India is the largest producer of pearl millet. It grows in states such as −
Rajasthan is the highest-cultivating state for Bajra in India. The north and northwestern part of India contribute to more than 90% of Bajra production in India.
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There are many different varieties and hybrids of pearl millet or Bajra. Among these most common are NBH-149, VBH-4, MP-204, H-306, NH-338 and ICM4-155.
Bajra or Pearl millet is a warm and dry weather crop. During its vegetative growth, moist weather proves to be advantageous.
Bajra crop has high drought tolerance and can also grow and flourish well with annual rainfall ranging between 40–60 cm.
Bajra requires light rain along with bright sunshine during its initial growth period.
Bajra is cultivated as a Kharif crop in the northern part of India.
Bajra is also grown as a summer crop in some southern parts of India. In the northern and central part of India, the sowing of kharif pearl millet takes place at the beginning of monsoon season that is in the first fortnight of July. In southern states of India, it takes place during the rabi seasons which is the first fortnight of October.
Bajra can be grown at the temperature ranging between 20°C and 32°C. The temperature ranges 28°C–32°C is considered ideal for it.
Bajra can grow and flourish in areas where other crops such as wheat and maize cannot survive.
Cultivation of Bajra can be done in many different types of soils.
The sandy loam soil and black cotton soil with good drainage are considered best for its production.
Acidic and waterlogged soils do not work well for its cultivation.
Soil with low pH and high salinity is best suited for its production and growth. The most suitable pH range for its growth is 7.5–8.0.
Saturated soils should be avoided for Bajra production. It has a very high drought resistance capacity.
Harvesting and Water management
Bajra is the type of crop that can grow in dry and unfertile soil. It does not require much irrigation as it is grown in the rainy season and is drought resistant. However, it should be noted that irrigating at specific stages such as maximum tillering, flowering and grain filling increases the yield and its quality. We can say that light irrigation and efficient drainage has a very positive effect on the crop and yield quality.
Once the bajra grain is hard and has sufficient moisture, the crop is ready to be harvested.
The Bajra crops can either be harvested by cutting the earheads from the standing crops and then cutting the remaining plant later on. The entire plant can also be cut by the sticks.
The cut plants are usually kept in sunlight for drying the grains.
The earheads are beaten for separating the grains from the husk.
It is recommended to clean the Bajra grains and then dry them in the sun to reduce the moisture content by 12–14% before bagging and storing them.
Before sowing the Bajra crop, first of all type of weed should be destroyed. Then, the field should be harrowed two or three times after that the land should be ploughed.
For dibbling method
The seed rate is 3–3.5 kg/ha while for the drilling method it about 5 kg/ha.
The approximate seed rate is 3 kg/ha.
It is advised to maintain a row space of 40–45 cm and within rows the space should be 10–15 cm.
Pests and Common Diseases
There are various types of Insects which affect the Bajra/pearl millet crops.
Some of these are as follows −
chafer beetle, etc.
Grasshoppers and stem borers are the major pests affecting the Bajra crops. Diseases such as blast, ergot, rust and smut also spoil Bajra crops.
Bajra has very impressive nutritional content in it.
The below given table describes the nutrition content per 100 grams of Pearl Millet −
|Nutrients||Amount (Per 100 gm)|
Table: Nutrition content per 100 grams of Pearl Millet
Benefits of Bajra Production
In general, millets have higher nutrient content in them as compared to rice and wheat.
It is rich in dietary fibres and has cholesterol-lowering properties, thus it is considered good for heart health.
Bajra is a good diabetic diet as it contains carbohydrates which are digested slowly and help in maintaining stable glucose levels for a very long period.
Bajra is a gluten free grain and is good for people who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant.
Bajra reduces stomach acidity and is also helpful in preventing constipation.
It is a good source of protein for vegetarians.
Due to its high phosphorus content, it helps in making the bones stronger.
It is rich in antioxidants and is an ideal grain for weight management.
It is widely grown in Asian and African subcontinents. There is evidence that it has grown since prehistoric times. It can grow in less fertile and dry soils. Due to its low cost, it is considered the common man’s staple nourishment source. It is also a good source of fodder for the animals. It is widely used in rural areas of India.
Q1. What is the botanical name of Bajra?
a) Oryza sativa
d) Zea mays
Q2. How much protein does 100 grams of Bajra has?
a) 4 grams
b) 8 grams
d) 16 grams
Q3. Which of the following is the correct temperature range at which Bajra can be grown?
a) 10°C –20°C
b) 20°C –32°C
c) 25°C –40°C
d) 30°C –45°C
Q4. Which of the following types of soils are considered best for Bajra crop production?
a) Sandy loam soil
b) Acidic soil
c) Black cotton soil
d) Both a and b
e) Both a and c
Q5. What is the most suitable pH range of soil for Bajra production?
d) Both a and b
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