Goat Pastures Pearlmillet

Pearlmillet (Pennisetum americanum)



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Pearlmillet is adapted to most medium- or well-drained soils except deep, sandy soils. It has proven superior to sudangrass and sorghum-sudan hybrids on sandy loams. Pearlmillet is an erect summer annual that is more leafy than sorghum-sudan hybrids. In addition, pearlmillet does not produce prussic acid. Many good cultivars are available. Pearlmillets can be classified into three categories: dwarf, less than 4 feet; semi-dwarf, 4 to 6 feet; and tall, 6 to 8 feet. The taller the millet, the more stemmy the growth. The general growth period is May 1 to October 1. The peak production months are June, July and August. It will produce 3 to 4 tons of dry forage per acre. If grazed when 12- to 24-inches tall, pearlmillet has a good nutritive value — 60-percent to 65-percent digestible and 14-percent to 18-percent crude protein. But it becomes less palatable when allowed to head. Pearlmillet should be control-grazed with one- to three-day durations. It should be grazed when 14- to 24-inches tall to a 6- to 8-inch stubble. The dwarf selection, Tifleaf, is much easier to manage for grazing. It has less stalk with the same number of leaves as the tall form.

Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. Pastures for Meat Goats. In: Meat Goat Production Handbook, ed. T.A. Gipson, R.C. Merkel, K. Williams, and T. Sahlu, Langston University, ISBN 1-880667-04-5.