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Cover Crop Series: Tifleaf III Pearl Millet

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Tifleaf III Pearl Millet is well adapted to sandy and loamy soils. It is not adapted to clay or heavy soils. Pearl millet has no risk of developing prussic acid, but it usually will not make as much total biomass as the various sorghums and sudans. Pearl millet can grow to 6 feet or taller under good conditions but is generally medium in height when compared to other warm-season grass cover crops. Expect about 60 days of growth before it goes reproductive. Seeding rate was 16 pounds per acre.

The plots were drill planted in 7.5 inch rows in a clean-tilled and culti-packed seedbed on May 16, 2017, at the Noble Research Institute Headquarters Farm in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on a Weatherford fine sandy loam. Planting depth was shallow, about 0.5 inch, in a dry seedbed, and 2.33 inches of rain fell over the next three days. There was no fertilizer, insecticide or herbicide applied to the crops, and pigweed pressure in the field was very heavy. Rainfall was below average after establishment.

About the Cover Crop Series

The Noble Research Institute is testing dozens of cover crop species with potential to help build soil health in the Southern Great Plains. This series features the cover crops we've grown on our Headquarters Farm in southern Oklahoma. These videos explore our results on establishment and growth, ground cover potential, and weed control for each crop.

Jim Johnson serves as a senior soils and crops consultant at Noble Research Institute, where he has worked since 1999. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in soil science from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in agronomy from Oklahoma State University, he worked in various plant breeding programs in Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma. His interests are cover crops and soil health.