Pearl Millet is a warm season, annual grass with a growth habit similar to sorghum-sudan but without the potential for prussic acid toxicity. As a warm season annual, pearl millet should be planted in the early summer and like most crops, it will yield best in fertile, well drained soils. However, it also will perform relatively well on sandy soils, acid soils, wet soils or when moisture and fertility are relatively low.
Pearl Millet will provide grazing in 45-60 days after planting with yields that can reach over 6 ton of dry matter per year under good fertility. While rotational grazing will greatly improve grazing efficiency, pearl millet may be continuously grazed due to its lack of prussic acid potential. Grazing or cutting may be initiated after plants get to 18"-24" in height and regrowth is best if an 8"-10" stubble height remains. An additional 40-50 units of N should be applied after first harvest or grazing to maximize regrowth. To avoid nitrate toxicity, do not apply excessive amounts of nitrogen or graze drought stressed plants. While frosts will kill pearl millet similar to sorghum-sudan, it can be grazed with no fear of prussic acid poisoning.
Pearl Millet should be planted in early summer when soil temperatures reach 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be either broadcast into a prepared seedbed or drilled. If broadcast seeded, soil must be firm prior to broadcasting and then culti-packed to insure a good seed to soil contact with seeding rates of 25-40 lbs. per acre. If drilled, seeding rates should be 15-20 lbs. per acre with a seeding depth of ½ - 1". For best results, soils should be soil tested and P2O5 and K2O applied accordingly. In the absence of a soil test, 70-90 lbs. of both P2O5 and K2O should be applied along with 60-70 units of N at seeding.