Finger Millets (Eleusine coracana) Kurakkan

Introduction

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) is one of important food crops in Sri Lanka. That can be cultivated under adverse soil and climatic conditions mostly as a rain fed crop. Millets are important crops in tropical regions of the world due to their resistance to pests and diseases, short growing season, and productivity under hardy and drought conditions when major cereals cannot be relied upon to provide sustainable yields. Kurakkan grains are highly nutritious and have an excellent seed storage quality. They are also recognized for their health beneficial effects, such as anti-diabetic, anti-tumerogenic, atherosclerogenic effects, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

Most of the finger millet cultivations were observed as shifting cultivation (Chena) in Sri Lanka late 1980. Extent of finger millet cultivation has decreased from 21000 ha in late 1980s to 7000 ha 2016 due to forest clearance regulations in the mean time the traditionally finger millet cultivated lands are being replaced by other comparable and competitive crops such as maize, pulses and vegetables.

Productivity of finger millet has been increased from 0.6 mt/ha in late 1995 to 1.17 mt/ha in year 2015 due to newly improved varieties and adoption of improved cultivation practices specially irrigated transplanted method of crop establishment.


Nutritional values of finger millet

Nutritional component

100 g of finger millet

Moisture

18.1 %

Energy (Kcal)

328

Proteins (g)

7.3%

Fat (g)

1.3%

Carbohydrates (g)

72%

Calcium (mg)

844

Prosperous (mg)

283

Iron (mg)

6.4

Vitamin A (mcg)

-

Carotene (mcg)

42

Thiamine (mcg)

420

Riboflavin (mcg)

190

Niacin (mcg)

1.1

Source: Medical Research Institute, 2000

Medicinal values (Teorapitic Values)

Finger millet has low glicimic index Therefore low blood sugar levels have observed after a finger millet diet thereby reacting as a safer food and popular food among diabetic patients in the country. It is rich in Calcium which helps in strengthening bones and as excellent source of natural calcium for growing children and aging people. It is a very good source of natural Iron and consumption helps in the condition of Anaemia. Kurakkan contains high amount of fiber which gets digested at slower rate controlling excessive food consumption; it will help to lose body weight. Consumption of finger millet helps to reduce body cholesterol level also helps in relaxing body naturally. Specially green kurakkan is recommended for lactating mothers under reduced milk production. Finger millet is good for prevention of premature aging.

Present status

Finger millet is presently grown in Anuradapura, Monoragala, Hambantoda, Kegalla, Ratnapura, Nuweraliya, Matale, Ampara, Badulla, and Jaffna districts

Extent and production of finger millet during 1996 -2015

Year

Extent (ha)

Production (mt)

Imports (mt)

1995

7439

4876

0

1996

6129

3906

1187

1997

5562

2500

1254

1998

6042

4385

695

1999

6483

4807

277

2000

6544

4849

552

2001

5636

4196

816

2002

5477

4071

1134

2003

7356

5267

610

2004

5113

4669

1829

2005

6207

6447

1380

2006

5910

6296

1933

2007

5408

5457

2601

2008

6384

6552

2881

2009

5902

6433

3272

2010

6565

7307

2052

2011

5251

5411

3622

2012

5153

5984

1452

2013

5923

6946

1158

2014

7416

8852

1235

2015

6950

8916

765

Source AgStat 2016, SEPC, Department of Agriculture

Recommended Varieties

Variety

Days to maturity

Year of released

Rawana

105 – 110

2002

Oshadha

100-110

2007



Rawana Oshadha

Seeds of the varieties Rawana and Oshadha are produced and distributed by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) as high yielding varieties.

Characteristics of Varieties

Character

Rawana

Oshadha

Ravi

Plant

Growth habit

erect

erect

Erect

Height (cm)

75-80

96

85-90

Stem

Plant pigmentation

green

green

None

Length of flag leaf (cm)

36

35

37

Width of flag leaf (mm)

1.3

1.2

1.3

Culm branching

2

2.3

3.8

Productive tillers

4-5

intermediate

5.4

Sheath colour

green

green

green

Pubescence

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Character

Rawana

Oshadha

Ravi

Flower

Days to 50% flowering

61

57-80

60

Ear

Ear type

incurved

incurved

incurved

Ear size (cm)

5

small

5

Finger number

8-10

8-10

5-8

Finger branching

absent

absent

absent

Finger length (cm)

9.6cm

5.5

9.4

Finger width (cm)

1

1.5

Discontinuity of spikelet

absent

absent

Days to maturity

100-105

100-105

96-100

Synchrony at maturity

not synchronous

not synchronous

not synchronous

Lodging

Intermediate

absent

Intermediate

Spikelet shattering at maturity

absent

absent

absent

Grains covered by glumes

Exposed

Expossed

exposed

Grain colour

brown

Light brown

brown

Climatic and soil requirement

Finger millet is an important food crop grown in rain-fed uplands in the Dry zone and Intermediate zone of Sri Lanka. Interesting crop characteristics of finger millet are the ability to withstand cultivation at altitudes over 2000 meters above sea level. The optimal average growth temperature range is 18- 27 °C but it can withstand up to 360 C (Pollen viability up to 360 C) . Finger millet can be cultivated where receives average rainfall of 500 mm per year requirement for growth and development. It is one of the few crops that can be grown during in low land paddy fields during Yala season if water logging is prevented. Finger millet grows well in all well-drained soils but silt loams are the most desirable. Finger millet can be cultivated in moderately acidic soils (pH 5), also moderately alkaline soils (pH 8.2). It grows well on Reddish brown earth, Calcic red yellow latasols and sandy regosols.

Land preparation
a. Millets were traditionally grown on newly cleared Chenas during rainy (Maha) and are usually sown without land preparation
b. Higher yields can be obtained in cultivated fields if the soil is worked to a fine tilt with a disc harrow or mammoty.
c. On uplands seeds should be planted in moist soil and protected them from biological hazards.
d. The raised beds are prepared to protect the plant from water lodging. The basin beds are prepared during Yala season for irrigation.

Planting and spacing
a. Broadcasting – Finger millets are commonly sown by broadcasting
b. Row seeding - Row seeding permits easy weed control and higher yield. Sow seeds thinly in rows 30 cm between two rows and final spacing of one plant every 10-15 cm excess seedlings should be thinned out 2-3 weeks after seeding to set the final spacing as 10-15 cm between plants in a row.
c. Transplanting 18-21days old seedlings can be planted in rows 30 cm apart to get a plant to plant spacing of 10-12 cm.


Seed rate
Broad casting 6-8 kg/ha
Row seeding 3-4 kg/ha
Transplanting 2-3 kg/ha


Time of planting

Land preparation is commenced with first showers of Maha season and seed sowing or transplanting is done in the later part of month of October, For Yala season cultivation, land preparation is done at the 2nd week of March, seed sowing and transplanting is practiced at the first week of April.

Crop Management

Fertilizer application is important for proper growth and development

Basal dressing (at planting)

Top dressing (4-5 weeks after planting)

Fertilizer

Rate (kg/ha)

Fertilizer

Rate (kg/ha)

Urea

65

Urea

130

TSP

55

MOP

82.5

Irrigation
irrigation is provided once in every 4-5 days until seedlings are established. During dry period supplementary irrigation is provided at weekly intervals.

Weed control
Millet seedlings are slow growing and require a weed free environment up to 45 days to develop vigorous plants. Seedlings in rows facilitate weed control.

Pest control
Stem borer and Aphids are identified as high pest in finger millet cultivation.

Stem borer- Chilo partellus

The damage starts from the seedling stage and continues till maturity.

Symptoms:- Formation of death heart which results from drying of central shoot in the vegetative stage.

:- Drying of panicles causing white ears

Control Measures :- Early planting during Maha season

:- Use of recommended nitragen fertilizer levels

:- Removal and destruction of dead heart at initial stage of infestation

:- Plough the field immediately after harvest to kill larvae and pupae

:- Use of recommended insecticides

:- Ethopenfox 10 EC - 15ml/10l of water

:- Novaluron10 EC - 10 ml/10l of water

:- Methomyl 40% SP - 20g /10l of water

:-Thiodicarb 375 SC - 20ml /10l of water

Aphids - Rhopalosiphum maidis

Symptoms :- Yellowing of leaves

:- Stunned plants

:- Bluish green Aphids colonies present on the central leaf whorl and ears


Control measures :- Destroy crop debris after harvesting

:- Use of recommended insecticides

:- Thiamethoxan 25 WG - 3g / l0l of water

:- Imidaclopid 70 WG - 1.3g/10l of water

Disease

Blast

Causal organism - Pyricularia grisea (Magnapothe grisea)

Losses -: Heavy blast damages could be observed specially during Maha season in dry and intermediate zone of Sri Lanka
under heavy rainfall conditions

Symptoms -:The disease occurs at all the stages of the crop as leaf, neck and finger blast. If the young seedlings are infected they
give burnt appearance and death of the plants due to severe leaf blast. In leaf blast disease appears on leaf lamina
with typical spindle shaped spots and severe infestation spots enlarge and gave blasted appearance. In neck blast
neck region get attacked blackened and may break away from the point of infection. In finger blast, infection occurs
on fingers starting from the apical part to base and shriveled blackened seeds may resulted.

Favorable conditions :- Temperature 25-300 C

:- RH > 90%

:- Cloudy days with intermittent rainfall

Control measures :- Use of blast resistant/ Tolerant varieties Eg- Oshadha (Moderately resistant)

:- Seed treatment with fungicides

:- Avoid dense plant population

:- Avoid applying heavy nitrogen (N) fertilizer

:- Apply recommended fungicides to control Magnaporthe grisea pathogens

:- When disease symptoms showing Chemical controlling

Tricyclazole 75/WP - 6g /10l of water (200-250g / ha)

Tebuconazole 250g/l - 6ml/10l of water (200-250 ml / ha)

Carbendazim 500g/l SC- 7 ml/10l of water (225-275 ml/ha)

Harvesting & Post-harvest Technolog


Yield
-: 2-3 t/ha (Transplanting method)

-: Harvesting can be done, when 80 % of the ears become brown in colour
-: Grains are separated by threshing after sun drying

-: Seed can be stored in sacks or gunny bags at room temperature for about one year without losing viability


Economics & Marketing

The highest extent of 29,000 ha of finger millet was recorded in 1974 and thereafter declined sharply to the present extent of 6950 ha in 2015. The total production and average yield is 8916 mt and 1.28 mt/ha respectively.


Exports and Imports of Finger millet

Finger millet seeds are exported in small amount which is negligible. It is imported to meet requirements of the industries due to shortage of local products.

Cost of Cultivation of Finger millet (Kurakkan ) under rain-fed condition during Maha 2014/15

Operation

Cost (RS./ha)

Materials and input (Rs./ha)

Total (Rs./ha)

Pre land preparation

456.00

1,864.00

2,320.00

General and Preparation

4,900.00

-

4,900.00

1st plough with 4wt

6,573.00

6,573.00

Seeding

7,505.00

476.00

7,981.00

Fertilizer Application

624.00

1,104.00

1,728.00

Harvest/Drawing

9,710.00

-

9,710.00

Processing

4,018.00

4,018.00

Total cost , inclusive of imputed cost

27,213.00

10,017.00

37,230.00

Total cost, without impute cost

4,860.00

10,017.00

14,877.00

Related Information

Unit

Seed

4.00kg

119.00

21.85

Hired Labour

md

5.00

972.00

Family Labour

md

23.00

-

Total

28.00

Average yield

1,212kg/ha

Farm gate price Price (Rs./kg)

Rs. 82.00

Income (Rs.)

39,777.00

Profit including imputed cost (Rs.)

2,540.00

Profit, without imputed cost (Rs.)

24,893.00

Unit cost + imputed cost (Rs./kg)

76.76

Unit cost - imputed cost (Rs./kg)

30.67