Cultivation of Sesame ( Til) ; A complete Farming Guide

Cultivation of Sesame ( Til) ; A complete Farming Guide

Cultivation of Sesame ( Til); A complete Farming Guide

Sesame ( Sesamum indicum L.) belongs to the family Pedaliaceae, commonly known as til, is one of the important edible seed crops cultivated in India. It is grown in the country since antiquity. India is a major producer of this crop in the world and occupies well over 36 % of total acreage and contributes about 25 % of the total output. 

Sesame is usually rich in oil (50%) and protein (18-20 %) Nearly 78 % of the sesamum seed produced in India is used for oil extraction, 2.5 % for planting purposes, and the rest is used in confection and the rest is used in religious Hindu ceremonies. Nearly 73 % of the oil is used for edible purposes, 8.3 %for hydrogenation, and 4.2 % for industrial purposes in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and insecticides.

Origin and History Sesame Crop;

Sesame has been under cultivation in India since ancient times. It can be called one of the earliest domesticated plants. In Atharva Veda Samhita, dating 2500-1400 B.C. sesamum originated in south-western Africa, where all the wild and cultivated species of the genus sesamum are found to occur. From there it might have come into India through Malayan and Indonesian regions probably before the Aryans came into this country.

Usage of Sesame Seeds (Til )Seeds;

1) Seeds are eaten fried and mixed with sugar and in several forms in sweetmeats.
2) Sesamum oil is an important cooking oil in south India. 
3) It is really the poor man’s substitute for ‘ghee’.
4) It is also used as a perfumed oil as it does not itself possess any strong odor, especially after it is kept for some time and is able to absorb the fragrant essence of sweet-scented flowers. 5) Lower grades of oil are used in soap-making industries. 
6) It finds also a number of medicinal uses. 
7) The oilcake is an edible cake. It is eaten mixed with sugar by poor people.
8) It is also used as cattle feed especially for milch animals. 
9) It can be used as manure. The cake contains 6.0-6.2 % nitrogen, 2.0-2.2 % phosphorus, and 1.0-1.2 % potash. 

Nutrient Value of Sesame;

Cultivation of Sesame ( Til) ; A complete Farming Guide






572 kcal

Dietary Fibers

12 g

Total Fat

50 g


0.3 g

Saturated Fat

7 g


18 g


11 mg


975 mg  

Total Carbohydrate

23 g


14.55 mg




468 mg

Medicinal Importance of Sesame Seeds ;

1) Reduces premature aging
2) Strengthen muscle, skin, and hair
3) Facilitate Digestion and Prevent Constipation
4) Boast oral health, Cellular growth, and metabolic functions
5) Help in Preventing Cancer, Heart Disease, & Diabetes
6) Protect DNA from the harmful effects of chemotherapy and Radiotherapy.

Climatic Requirements for Sesame Cultivation ;

Sesamum is basically a crop of the warm regions of the tropics and subtropics. It grows in plains as well as up to an elevation of 1250 meters It requires fairly hot conditions during Growth to produce maximum yields. 
A temperature of 25-27 degrees Celsius encourages rapid germination, initial growth, and flower formation Low temperatures at flowering can result in the production of sterile pollen, or premature flower drop. Sesamum is extremely susceptible to waterlogging and heavy continuous rains. Sesamum is susceptible to hail damage at all stages of growth. Frost is also harmful to this crop
It is cultivated as a Kharif crop in north India but in south India, it is cultivated both in Kharif as well as Rabi seasons.

Soil Requirement for the sesame cultivation ;

Sesamum can be grown on a wide variety of soils provided they are well-drained, but it thrives best on sandy loam with adequate soil moisture. Very sandy, alkaline, and acidic soils are not suitable for its cultivation. Soils with a neutral reaction are preferred, but good results have been obtained on both slightly acidic and slightly alkaline soils. The crop will grow well in soils having a pH reaction in the range of 5.5 to 8.0. It can also be grown on loams and heavy clay loams which are well-drained.

Important Varieties of Seasame

There are two types of varieties, black-seeded and white-seeded. It is generally believed that the white-seeded varieties have a higher percentage of oil in the seed than the black-seeded ones. In India breeding work in sesamum has mostly concentrated on white-seeded varieties and consequently, a number of varieties have been evolved for commercial cultivation in the various states of the country. 

some of the important varieties are given below:


Oil content (%)

Average Yield (kg/ha) Rainfed

Recommended states/regions/situations

Specific features




Kharif , Madhya Pradesh

Duration 86-90 days, White seed, seed weight 2.8 g, Resistant to Phytophthora blight and Moderately resistant to Macrophomina, Cercospora, powdery mildew, Alternaria leaf spot

SWB-32-10-1 (Savitri)


1200-1500 Summer

Rabi/Summer, West Bengal

Duration 84-88 days, Light brown seed, Tolerant to Macrophomina

Jawahar Til –12 (PKDS-12)



Summer, Madhya Pradesh

Duration 82-85 days, White seed, Moderately resistant to Macrophomina stem/root rot

Jawahar Til –14 (PKDS-8)



Summer, Madhya Pradesh

Duration 82-85 days

Gujarat Til-3



Kharif , Saurashtra region of Gujarat

Duration 84-88 days, White bold seed




Kharif , Rajasthan Haryana, Panjab,HP , Gujarat , UP,Maharashtra

Duration 82-86 days, White seed, Resistant to leaf curl, Moderately resistant to Macrophomina, Alternaria, Cercospora




Summer, Vidharbha Maharashtra

Duration 88-92 days, White seed, Moderaterly resistant to root rot , bacterial blight




Zone I & II of Karnataka

Duration 85-90 days, White bold seed, early maturing




Assured rainfall zone of Khandesh and adjoining areas of Vidharba, Marathwada regiond rainfall zone of Khandesh and adjoining areas of Viddharv

Duration 80-85 days, White seed




Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, HO, KK & J&K

Resistant to Macrophomia, Leaf curl, Phillody, Moderately resistant to cercospora & capsule borer




Madhya Pradesh (Kahrif)

Moderately resistant to Macrophomia, Cercospora, Bacteria leaf spot, Leaf curl, Tolerant to capsul borer




Orisha (Kharif, summer)

Golden yellow bold seed, dalyed shattering, synchronous maturity




Orisha (Kharif, summer)

White seed, tolerant to leaf curl, phyllody, macrophomina, cercospora and capsule borer

Gujarat til-4



White seed, tolerant to leaf spot

Kharif, North Saurashtra Zone IV of Gujarat




White bold seed

Kharif, summer Karnataka

Rotations and Mixed Cropping

Kharif sesame is grown both as a pure and mixed crop. In north India, sesamum is generally grown mixed with arhar, jowar, bajra, groundnut cotton, and maize crops. 

A pure crop of sesamum is followed by a crop of linseed, gram, barley, lentil, etc., in the Rabi season.

Field Preparation for Seasame Cultivation;

Cultivation of Sesame ( Til) ; A complete Farming Guide

Seeds of sesamum are very small in size, therefore, the field must be prepared very well for good germination. The seedbed should be fine, firm, and compact. Usually, one ploughing followed by two to three harrowings followed by planking brings the field in good condition for planting.

Seed and Sowing of Sesame Crop;

a) Sowing Time; The proper time for planting sesamum under northern Indian conditions is the last week of June to the first week of July. A range of 25-27°C temperature is suitable for its proper germination. In South India, sowing time during the Kharif season may vary from May to July and for the Rabi season from October to November. 

b) Seed Rate; For planting one hectare, usually 3-4 kg seed is required. As the seed is very small in size, therefore, for uniform distribution, seeds should be mixed with dry soil or sand, or powdered farmyard manure.
c) Method of Sowing; The crop should be sown in lines. A spacing of 45 centimeters should be maintained between rows and 15 centimeters between plants. The depth of sowing should not be more than 2-3 centimeters. There should be enough moisture in the soil at the time of sowing. Treat the seed before sowing with Agrosan G. N. or Ceresan at the rate of 2 g per kg of seed.

Manure and Fertilisers Requirement for Seasame Cultivation;

1)Sesamum is usually grown by small and marginal farmers on relatively poor soils with no manure and this neglect reflected in low average yields 

2)A more common practice is to grow sesamum on the residual fertility of the preceding crop and apply whatever additional fertilizer can be spared.
 3)Application of 300 tonnes of compost or farmyard manure out prior to own sowing gives good results. For obtaining higher in addition to organic manures apply 30 kg nitrogen, 60 kg P2O5, and 30 Kg of K2O per hectare 
4) Application of nitrogen and phosphorus increases the number of capsules per plant and the number of seeds per sales
5) Apply the whole quantity of phosphorus and potash at the time sowing in sandy soils, apply the nitrogen in three splits and in heavy soil in two splits. 
6) In sandy soils apply one-third of nitrogen at the time of sowing one-third 30 days after sowing and the remaining one-third 50 days after sowing. 
7) In heavy soils, two-thirds at sowing and, one-third at flowering have given economic returns

Water Management in Seasame Crop;

Cultivation of Sesame ( Til) ; A complete Farming Guide

Usually, there is no need to irrigate the crop but this crop is very susceptible to drought in various physiological growth stages. The crop requires about 50 centimeters of water during the entire growth period. Give first irrigation after 25-40 days of sowing. Second and third irrigations should be given at flowering and pod development stages, ie, 45 to 30 and 65-70 days after sowing. Give light irrigations on a calm and windless evening to avoid lodging. It is considered essential to irrigate at, or just after, maximum flowering in order that capsules may develop fully

Weed Control in Seasame Crop;

During Kharif season, the sesamum field is usually heavily infested with weeds. The slow initial growth of sesamum seedlings makes them poor competitors with more vigorous weeds. Therefore, in weed-infested fields, Weeding at the early stages of crop growth is essential. 

First weeding should be done when the plants are 15-20 centimeters tall or about 20-25 days after sowing. Thinning should be done along with weeding to keep the plants 15 centimeters apart in rows. Second weeding may be given 0-45 days after sowing. Weeds can also be controlled effectively by the use of herbicides. Basalin 1 kg a.i. per hectare, in 800-1000 liters of water as pre-planting spray may be used as an effective herbicide. It should be well incorporated in the soil before sowing the sesamum crop.

Harvesting and Threshing of Sesame Crop ;

Cultivation of Sesame ( Til) ; A complete Farming Guide

Harvest the crop, when leaves and capsules turn yellow and defoliation starts. The capsules at the base of the plants mature first and then start maturing upwards. Plants should be harvested as and when they are yellowish-brown. They should not be allowed to stand dead ripe in the field, otherwise, there would be considerable loss due to shattering. After harvest, stock the bundles erect on the threshing floor for five to seven days for drying and then thresh.

The yield of the Sesame crop 

The yield fluctuates widely depending upon the varieties, method of cultivation, and weather conditions. However, if all the improved packages of practices are followed, it should be possible to obtain 8-10 quintals of seed per hectare.

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