Pearl Millet - Land Selection

The fields selected for seed production should be those known to be even and grow millet well, however no field where the immediate previous crop was pearl millet should be used for multiplication because of the danger of volunteer plants from seed left in the soil. Though pearl millet can grow well on poor acidic soils the fields chosen for seed production should have reasonable fertility and be free from waterlogging so that the crop can have proper growth and expression of characters.

Pearl millet is a protogynous crop (that is to say the flowering heads become female fertile before male fertile) so emerging heads begin to receive pollen before they themselves shed pollen so making the crop highly outcross-ing. Thus a field of millet gets more easily contaminated by outside pollen than a field of maize since in maize the tassels shed pollen before the silks emerge. In pearl millet however, the first heads are female fertile before any pollen is available and are very liable to pick up outside pollen from a great distance.

The following minimum isolation distances are recommended:-

Type of seed


Chipata Depot
Stand No. 931 David Kaunda Rd
P.O. Box 510695, Chipata
Tel: +260 216 21500
Eastern province

Kapiri Mposhi Depot
Stand No. 911 Great North Rd
P.O. Box 810194, Kapiri Mposhi
Tel: +260 215 271166/74
Central Province

Kitwe Depot
Kitwe Show Grounds
P.O. Box 22196, Kitwe
Tel: +260212 226777
Coperbelt Province

Mazabuka Depot
Lubombo Rd
P.O. Box 670174, Mazabuka
Tel: +260 213 30275
Southern Province