Cultural method of weed control in Pearl millet
Weed-free field for sowing
Weed control need to be practiced in pearl millet crop even before sowing so that the plants grow without any weed competition from germination onwards.
That means the first weed control activity starts even before sowing pearl millet.
Weed-free environment in the early stages
The weed seeds in the soil are allowed to germinate with the first rainfall and then the final harrowing or plowing is carried out.
This practice will provide a weed free environment for vigorous and robust growth for the pearl millet seedlings.
Weeds are not allowed to grow during the first 25 to 30 days of growth of pearl millet plants as this is the most critical weed competition period.
A good crop cover by adopting right spacing between rows and within the row will smother the weed growth. For this adopt the recommended spacing of 45 cm between rows and 10 cm between the plants within the row.
Example of mulching with straw
Mulching the soil surface in between rows with crop residue material like straw etc. may prevent the germination of weed seeds and at the same time smothers the established young weeds.
This mulching practice also helps in conserving the soil moisture.
Growing pearl millet crop every year in the same field (monocropping) encourages injurious weeds to multiply like nut sedge, Bermuda grass(dhub), Striga etc. and dominate in the field. Such weeds will reduce pearl millet crop yields much more than the competition from a wide spectrum of weeds.
So, adopting proper crop rotation practices will help in overcoming the domination of certain weeds and lessening the weed competition in pearl millet crop. Intercropping practice in pearl millet crop not only provide the monetary and land utilization advantages but also help in smothering the weeds with good crop cover over the land surface.
Manual weeding is a very common practice to control weeds in pearl millet crop.
Timely weeding is important than the frequency of weeding. It is necessary to keep the crop free during the first month of its growth through manual weeding.
Hand Hoeing to control weeds
Hand hoeing is an effective method adopted widely to control weeds in the inter - row spaces of line-sown crop. This method provides excellent physical condition to the crop growth by way of soil aeration through stirring of the soil (Fig.).
First hand weeding is done at about 20 - 25 days after sowing and should be repeated at fortnightly intervals up to 45 days of the crop. Manually operated implements like wheel push hoe are also used to control weeds in pearl millet.
Intercultivation using blade harrow
Blade harrowing in relatively dry and loose soil between the rows of pearl millet, is a widely followed method for effective weed control as this operation cuts the root system of weeds resulting in desiccation of weeds.
Duck-foot harrows are also used for intercultivation in pearl millet. The first intercultivation is done about two weeks after sowing and the second and the third about a fortnight and a week later. No interculture would be possible when once the plants grow tall.
Submitted by kiran yadav on Wed, 14/03/2012 - 14:22