Bajra is an indigenous plant of Africa. This forms the staple diet for poor people. Its stalks are used as fodder for cattle and for thatching purposes. Bajra is a crop of dry regions of the country. It occupies 6.8 per cent of the total area under foodgrains and 8.3 per cent of the cereals in the country.
Conditions of Growth
Bajra is a crop of warm and dry climatic conditions. The ideal temperature for its growth is between 25°-31°C (10-20°C at the time of sowing). The crop requires 40-50 cm of annual rainfall. Light rainfall followed by bright sunshine favours the quick growth of the crop. Heavy rain exceeding 100 cm is harmful for the crop. Bajra may be grown on poor light sandy, shallow black and red upland gravelly soils. The crop does not require irrigation. Bajra is a Kharif crop, sown between May and September and harvested between October and March. It is grown either as a pure or mixed crop with cotton, jowar or ragi.
The average per hectare yield of Bajra is 610 kg, which is lowest among the cereals. Although there has been improvement in the per hectare yield from 286 kg/ha in 1960-61 to 869 kg/ha in 2001-02 with the introduction of HYV but fluctuations are well marked both on spatial and temporal frame.
Tamil Nadu records the highest per hectare yield of 1347 kg/ha followed by Uttar Pradesh (1277 kg/ha), Gujarat (965 kg/ha) and Haryana (893 kg/ha). On the other hand Rajasthan, with the largest area of Bajra in the country, records the minimum per hectare yield of 224 kg.