Jowar Farming in India: From Sowing to Harvesting

Updated on 29th March, 2024, By Sonu Gupta
Jowar Farming in India: From Sowing to Harvesting
Jowar is a cereal crop belonging to the Gramineae family, and it is widely used as a staple food in India. It is an all-season crop cultivated in most parts of the country. The major Jowar-producing states in India are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and more.

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Jowar, also known as Sorghum, is an essential food and fodder crop of dryland agriculture. It is referred as the king of millets. It is one of the crops that can be cultivated in both the Rabi and Kharif seasons

Jowar is India's fifth most important cereal crop after barley, maize, rice, and wheat. Its nutritional value is similar to corn, and that’s why it is important as livestock feed.

In India, Sorghum used to be a major staple crop in the 1950s, and it covers a total land area of more than 18 million hectares.

However, in the current scenario, the Jowar land area has come down to 6.3 million hectares, and the annual production of Jowar is around 6.4 million tonnes.

What is Jowar?

Jowar belongs to the Gramineae family and is high in carbohydrates. Jowar is one of the staple crops for lakhs of semi-arid people, and that's why it is called the king of millet. The main ingredient found in Jowar is starch, which is digested more slowly than other cereals and contains low protein and fat digestibility. It is used as a human food in various forms, such as rotis and bhakris, and it can even be cooked like rice. This crop can handle high temperatures and droughts, which makes it a common crop in many parts of the country.

Where is Jowar Grown in India

Jowar is mainly cultivated in the peninsular and central regions of India. The top Jowar-producing states in India are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and more. The other states also produce Jowar in small quantities, mainly for fodder.

Climate Requirements for Jowar Farming

Jowar is a tropical crop, and it requires temperatures between 250 C and 32C to grow well. However, a temperature below 160 C is not good for the crop. The minimum rainfall required for better cultivation of Jowar is 400 mm annually. Thus, it is an extremely drought-tolerant crop and highly recommended for dry areas. However, too many moist conditions and prolonged dry conditions are not suited for the cultivation of Jowar.

Soil for Jowar Farming

Jowar can be cultivated in different soils, but the best soil type is sandy loam soil, which has good drainage. For better growth and production of Jowar crops, soil with a 6 to 7.5 pH range is ideal. The field should be ploughed and levelled well for weed-free plantation.

Field Selection and Preparation in Jowar Farming

Rocky fields should be avoided for Jowar farming. The field should be ploughed one to two times, followed by two crosswise harrowings to prepare a good seedbed for Jowar cultivation. The field should be well drained because water logging is not suitable for Jowar farming.

Sowing of Jowar Seeds

Jowar is an all-season crop. It is grown during the Kharif season in the northern parts and Rabi and the summer season in the southern parts. The Kharif crop should be planted soon after the first monsoon break. Thus, the best time for sowing in Northern India is from June last week to July first week, depending on the arrival of monsoon. The best time for sowing in Southern India is from October to November.

Spacing: While sowing, a gap of 40 to 45 cm is required between the rows and a 15 to 20 cm gap between the plants is ideal.

Manures and Fertilisation in Jowar or Sorghum Farming

The field being prepared for Jowar cultivation should be added with 10 to 15 tons of Farm Yard Manure. This soil is rich in micronutrients, making it ideal for growing Sorghum. The basal application of 60:40:40 kg N: P205-K20 should be applied at the time of sowing of Jowar seeds.

Irrigation in Jowar Farming

The irrigation differs as per the climate in which the crop is sown. If the seeds are sowing during the monsoon season, which is July, then one to three irrigations are enough. On the other hand, six to seven irrigations are required for the summer season because of the high temperature. In the Southern region, the rabi season crops require four to five irrigations.

Weed Control

The weed problem can be solved with manual weeding and hoeing. Power weeders and manual weeders can also be used to remove the weeds. Also, herbicides such as Atrazine or Propazine can be used to control weeds during the rainy season. However, these herbicides must be applied before the occurrence of Jowar seedlings.

Insects and Disease in Jowar Cultivation

Jowar crops are prone to several diseases and insects.

  • Insects and pests: Some of them include shootfly, stem borer, stem borer & sorghum midge.
  • Disease: Sooty stripe, zonate leaf spot, and anthracnose.

However, the pests and diseases can be controlled by taking the following measures:

  • Use of carbaryl or lindane on leaves to combat stem borer.
  • Endosulfan or lindane spray for midges.
  • Treatment of shoot fly seeds with disulfoton or carbofuran.
  • Dithane-based downy mildew spray.

Apart from all these control methods, farmers can opt for traditional techniques to control diseases and pests.

Harvesting & Threshing of Jowar

Jowar crop duration differs from one variety to another. In coastal areas, there is a high chance of strong winds and heavy rains in March and April due to low sea pressure, which can severely damage crops. Thus, the crops must be harvested at an early maturity stage (between 105 and 110 days) to avoid losses from diseases and cyclonic rains.

After harvesting, the panicles are sundried for seven days, and then manual or mechanical threshing is applied to separate the grains.

Health Benefits of Jowar

Some major health benefits of Jowar are:

  • It is a good source of antioxidants.
  • Jowar consumption can help in weight loss.
  • It is a good source of potassium, protein, iron, calcium, fibre, and phosphorous.
  • It is rich in B vitamins, such as riboflavin and thiamin.
  • Jawar is famous for being heart-healthy, and Jowar Roti is widely preferred in India for its numerous health benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions On Jowar Farming in India: From Sowing to Harvesting

1. Why is Jowar called the king of millets?

Jowar is high in carbohydrates, and it is one of the staple crops for millions of people in India. That is why it is called the king of millets.

Yes, Jowar is gluten-free.

Jowar is a cereal crop that belongs to the Gramineae family. It is rich in starch, which is digested more slowly than the other cereals, containing more protein and fat.

Jowar is grown in the peninsular and central regions of India.

Kolhapur, Parbhani, Buldhana, Yavatmal, Nanded, Osmanabad, Ahmednagar and Amravati are the important Jowar-producing districts in Maharashtra.

Yes, Jowar atta is one of the best alternatives for wheat roti and is valued as a weight-loss food.

Jowar contains potassium, protein, iron, calcium, fibre and phosphorous.

Sonu Gupta
Published By
Sonu Gupta
Sonu Gupta holds a bachelor's degree in arts. He is a seasoned SEO expert with focus on strategic planning and optimization of tractor related content. He is a believer of following a customer-centric approach in execution across his field of interest. He is an avid traveler, reader, and has a great interest in agriculture.
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