Prospects of breeding sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea for high forage yield and quality uri icon


  • Sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea are major warm-season dryland crops adapted to and grown primarily for grain production in the semi-arid tropical regions of Asia and Africa. With the increasing demand for livestock products and a realization of the impact of livestock in improving rural livelihoods, the value of forage (both green forage and stover) has considerably increased in recent years. Both sorghum and pearl millet are high water-use-efficient crops and belong to C4 species with high photosynthetic efficiency and dry matter accumulation rates. Based on the mean performance of several varieties at common test locations in the All India trials, higher green fodder yields were obtained for sorghum (32.7 t/ha) and pearl millet (37.6 t/ha) than for maize (30.9 t/ha). Both sorghum and pearl millet produce good quality forage, with crude protein in pearl millet (8.7 %) being higher than those in sorghum (6.0%) and maize (5.5%). Pigeonpea is a perennial and bushy plant with still higher green forage yield (40.6 t/ha) and crude protein content (23.7%). Several other forage quality traits have been identified in these crops. With the large genetic variability identified in the germplasm and improved breeding materials, opportunities exist to develop forage cultivars with high forage yield and quality, and improved adaptation to diverse agro-ecological environments

publication date

  • 2004