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Little Millet: A Dryland Drought Tolerant Millet

Little millet (Panicum sumatrense), sometimes referred to as kutki millet, is a tiny cereal grain that has been farmed in Asia since around 2700 B.C. Millets have gradually been supplanted in Indian diets in recent years by rising entitlements to subsidized rice and wheat under India's Public Distribution System.

Sonali Behera
Little millet was domesticated in India's Eastern Ghats and became a significant component of the cuisine of the tribal people there before spreading to Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar
Little millet was domesticated in India's Eastern Ghats and became a significant component of the cuisine of the tribal people there before spreading to Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar

Little millet is a cereal that grows quickly and is resistant to both drought and waterlogging. It is considered as a significant crop grown for food and livestock.

Little millet was domesticated in India's Eastern Ghats and became a significant component of the cuisine of the tribal people there before spreading to Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar. Its cultivation is primarily restricted to the tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh in India. Wonderful millet that is appropriate for individuals of all ages.

Little millet has a lot of cholesterol, which makes it beneficial for developing children and strengthens the body when taken. The complex carbohydrates in millet are quite easy to digest for people with diabetes. Per 100 grams of grain, the small millet has 8.7 grams of protein, 75.7 grams of carbohydrates, 5.3 grams of fat, 1.7 grams of minerals, and 9.3 milligrams of iron. Its high fiber content aids in lowering body fat accumulation. Along with other nutrients, little millet plays a vital role in supplying nutraceutical elements such as phenols, tannins, and phytates.

Local Names of Little Millet


Local Names


Kutki, Shavan








Sama, Same





State Wise Varieties of Little Millet






OLM 203, OLM 208, OLM-217


Madhya Pradesh

JK-4, JK 8 and JK 36


Andhra Pradesh

OLM 203, JK 8


Tamil Nadu

Paiyur 2, TNAU 63 and CO 3,C0-4,K1, OLM 203,OLM 20



JK 8, BL 6, BL-4, JK 36



OLM 203, JK 8



GV 2, GV 1, OLM 203, JK 8



Phule Ekadashi, JK 8, OLM 203


Little millet can tolerate both waterlogging and drought. As a result, in a rainfed environment, it makes a good catch crop. Its cultivation is only permitted in steep areas up to an elevation of 2000 meters. It is incapable of withstanding temperatures lower than 10OC.


Little millet can be cultivated in a variety of soil types, even those that are flooded. For successful development, deep, loamy, fertile soils rich in organic matter are preferred. Salinity and alkalinity are tolerable to some extent.

Time of Sowing:

  • Kharif- the first fortnight of July with the onset of monsoon

  • Rabi-September to October in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh

  • Mid-March - mid-May in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as an irrigated catch crop.

  • Spacing: 25-30 cm (row to row), 8 – 10 cm (plant to plant). The seed should be planted 2-3 cm in depth.

  • Seed rate: 8-10 kg/ha for line sowing and 12- 15 kg/ha for broadcasting.

Manuring and fertilization:

A month before planting, apply 5–10 tonnes/ha of compost or farmyard manure. 40 kg of nitrogen, 20 kg of P2O5, and 20 kg of potassium per hectare are typically the required fertilizers for healthy crops. Application of fertilizers based on soil testing is advised. Apply the whole amount of P2 O5, half of the nitrogen, and the remaining nitrogen at the time of sowing.

Weeding and Intercultural Operation:

In a crop that was seeded in lines, two inter-cultivations and one-hand weeding are advised. When the crop is 30 days old, intercultural operation employing a tyne-harrow is also advised. In a broadcast crop, it is advised to first weed 15 to 20 days following seedling emergence and to weed again 15 to 20 days afterward.

Cropping systems Intercropping

Orissa: Little millet +Black gram (2:1 row ratio)

Madhya Pradesh: Little millet + Sesamum/ soybean/pigeon pea (2:1 row ratio)

Southern Bihar: Little millet + pigeon pea (2:1 row ratio)

Pests And Diseases

Pests: Shoot fly is one of the major pests of Little Millet.

Symptoms: Pest damage was seen from crop planting to a crop that was six weeks old. The central shoot begins to dry as a result of its feeding, exhibiting the classic signs of a dead heart in the early stage and profuse tillering in the latter stage, both of which are also impacted. Damaged tillers may yield ear heads, but they won't contain any grains (white ears).

Management: Sow early, within 7 to 10 days of the start of the monsoon. To maintain the ideal plant stand, it's also crucial to enhance the seed rate and remove "dead heart" seedlings before destroying them. Thiamethoxam 70 WS or imidacloprid at 10–12 ml/kg of seed may be used for seed treatment. When planting, apply Phorate 10G or carbofuran (Furadan 3G) as a soil treatment in the furrows at a rate of 20 kg/ha.

Diseases: There are no serious diseases on this millet but sometimes Grain smut (Macalpino mycessharmaeis) is a common disease of little millet.

Symptom: The impacted ovary becomes smutted but does not enlarge beyond the size of the typical grain.

Management: Resistance cultivars (DPI 2394, PLM 202, OLM 203, DPI 2386, and CO 2), cultural methods including delayed sowing, and seed treatment with Carboxinor Carbendazim @ 2 g can all be used to combat the disease.


Once the ear-heads are physically ripe, the harvest is completed. After seeding, the crop is ready for harvest 65 to 75 days later.

Yield: Grain 12-15 q/ha and 20-25 quintals of straw per hectare.

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