Cultivation of Finger Millet ( Mandua or Ragi ); A Complete Information Guide

Cultivation of Finger Millet ( Mandua or Ragi ) ; A Complete Information Guide

Cultivation of Finger Millet ( Mandua or Ragi ); A Complete Information Guide;


Finger millet (Eleusine coracana Gaertn)  also known as Mandua or Ragi in Hindi. It is an important minor millet grown in India. Finger millet is an erect, tufted annual, self-fertilized crop that grows up to 60 – 122 cm in height. Finger millet is a self-fertilized crop The spikelets of finger millet contain three to eight seeds which are very small in size and generally reddish-brown in color.

Finger Millet or Ragi is a staple food crop in many hilly regions of the country. This crop is cultivated up to an altitude of 2100 meters above sea level. In fact, it is the main cereal crop for the monsoon season in some hill areas. 
Finger millet probably originated in India, as many of the forms exist in this country. Finger Millet might have originated from Eleusine indica, a grass that occurs in many parts of northern India. It is supposed to have spread from India to Abyssinia and the rest of Africa.
Finger millet is widely cultivated in India, Africa, Ceylon, Malaysia, China, and Japan. In India, it is cultivated over an area of 2.65 million hectares with a total production of about 2.9 million tonnes. It is an important crop of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal India ;

Vernacular Names of Finger Millet ;

English; Finger Millet
Hindi ; Mandua, Ragi
Tamil; Kelvarugu/Aariyam 
Malayalam ; Koovarugu
Telugu ;Ragulu 
Assamame; Maruba dhan 
Gujrati; Nagli, Bavato 
Punjabi; Mandal 

Uses of Finger Millet ;

Cultivation of Finger Millet ( Mandua or Ragi ) ; A Complete Information Guide

1) It is grown both for grain and forage. 

2) In Northern hills, grains are eaten mostly in the form of ‘chapaties‘. 
3) In South India, grains are used in many preparations like cakes, puddings, sweets, etc. 
4) Germinating grains are malted and fed to infants also. It is also good for pregnant women.
5) It is a nutritious food for adults of different ages.
6) It is good for persons suffering from diabetes. 
7) The green straw is suitable for making silage, which is sweet-smelling and consumed by cattle without any wastage.

Nutritive Value of Finger millet;

Nutritive Value of 100 gms serving Finger Millet is as follows;








19.8  g


1.9 g


382 K cal.


4.3 g


14.0 mg


3.5 g


224 mg


1.7 g

Vitamin D


Besides vitamins A and B phosphorus is also present in smaller quantities.

Climatic Requirements for Finger Millet (Ragi or Mandua ) Cultivation ;

Finger millet is a crop of tropical and subtropical climates and can be grown successfully from sea level to an altitude of 2100 meters on hill slopes as well as in plains. 

It is a very hardy crop. It is grown in areas having annual average rainfall between 50 to 100 cm. In regions of higher rainfall, it can be raised on well-drained soils as a transplanted crop. Finger Millet crops can be grown under rainfed as well as irrigated conditions.

Soil Requirements for Finger Millet Cultivation ;

Finger Millet can be grown on a wide variety of soils ranging from very poor to very fertile soils. It thrives best on well-drained loam or clay loam soils. Clayey soils, heavy black cotton soils, gravely and stony soils with poor fertility and drainage are not suitable for raising finger millet crops. It tolerates salinity better than other cereals.

Rotations and Mixed Cropping ;

a) Finger Millet (Mandua or Ragi ) under rainfed conditions can be grown as a  mixed with jawar, bajra, and a variety of oilseeds and pulses. 

b) In hills regions of Northern India, it can be grown as mixed with soybean
c) Under irrigation, it is grown in rotation with several crops like tobacco, chilies, vegetables, turmeric, and crops like gram, linseed, mustard, barley, etc. 
Some of the common crop rotations are given below:


North India

South India


Finger Millet – Gram

Finger Millet – Ground Nut


Finger Millet – Barley

Finger Millet – Tobacco


Finger Millet – Sugarcane

Finger Millet – Mustard


Finger Millet – Potato – Maize

Finger Millet – Linseed


Finger Millet – Potato –Finger Millet

Finger Millet – Tobacco

Field Preparation for Finger Millet Cultivation ;

a) The field for the Finger Millet crop is prepared as thoroughly as possible. 

b) The first ploughing with mould board plough should be done immediately after the harvest of the previous crop. 
c) In south India, where the soil becomes too hard for ploughing, a shallow stirring should be given by heavy ‘kunte’ (bladed harrow) or a disc harrow. 
d) With the onset of monsoon, the field should be harrowed or ploughed with local plough two to three times and finally levelled.
e) In south India under rainfed conditions, with every succeeding rain, the ploughing is repeated or the ‘kunte’ is used. 
f) Seedbed for Finger Millet is usually very thoroughly prepared, which should be free of weeds, friable, and smooth for better germination and crop growth.

Important Varieties of Finger Millet in India ; 




Varieties released/ recommended during last 15 years

Varieties popular in the State

Andhra Pradesh


Padmawathi, Maruti, Bhairabi, Champavathi, Chilika, Bharathi & Shri Chaitanya.

Padmawathi, Maruti, Kalyani, Godawari, AKP-2, SURAJ, Simhadri, Ratnagiri, Gouthami, Sapthagiri.


Bhairabi, Bharathi & Maruti.



Birsa Marua-2




Bhairabi, Chilika, GPU-67 & Saura.

VL-149, PR-202, Ratnagiri, GPU-28, HR-374 & VL-147.



Chilika, GPU-45 & Saura.

Gujarat Nagali-2 & Gujarat Nagali-3.



Birsa Marua-2, GPU-45 & GPU-67.



VL Ragi-146, Akshaya, Champavathi, GPU-28, MR-1, Bhairabi, GPU-26, GPU-45,  L-5, Divya, Rathana, ML-365 & GPU-67.

Indaf-8, Indaf-9, HR-911, PR-202, MR-1, MR-6, L-5, GPU-26, GPU-28, GPU-66, GPU-45, VR-708 & OEB-10.

Rabi/ Summer

Bhairabi, GPU-28, GPU-26 & ML-365.

Indaf-5, Indaf-7, Indaf-15 & Indaf-9, HR-911, GPU-26 & GPU-48.

Madhya Pradesh


Bhairbi &  Chilika.

Chilika & GPU-45.



Bhairabi, GPU-45 & GPU-67.





Subra, Chilika & Saura.





Champavathi, Chilika, Co(Ra)-14, Paiyur (Ra)-2 & GPU-67

GPU-28, CO-7, CO-10, CO-11, CO-12, CO-13, CO-14, Paiyur (Ra)-2, K-567, Indaf-5, Indaf-7, Indaf-9, Paiyur-1, PR-202 and TRY-1.

Uttar Pradesh


KM-65 & Champavathi



KM-65, Champavathi, VL Mandua-315, VL Mandua-324, PRM-1 & GPU-67.

VL-146, VL-149, VL-315, VL-324, PRM-1 & PRM-2.















Seed and Sowing of Finger Millet Crop ;

(1) Time of Sowing ;
a)The irrigated crop of Finger Millet is sown in more than one season in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. 
b) The rainfed early crop is sown in April or early May
c) Kharif season’s main crop is sown during May or June
d) If the rains are not received in time the sowing time is shifted forward up to the end of August. 
e) However, sowing should be done early in rainfed conditions to avoid moisture stress at a critical stage of flowering.
f) In areas, where irrigation facilities are inadequate, the sowing should be done soon after the onset of the monsoon. 
g) In the higher hills of north India, the optimum time of sowing time for Finger Millet is the first fortnight of June.
h) The irrigated crop in the Rabi season in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh is sown in September and October.
(2) Seed Rate ;
The quantity of seed required would be between 8 to 10 kg per hectare in case of line sowing
When the crop is raised by transplanting, 4 kg of seed is sufficient for raising the nursery. Seed should be treated with thiram @ 2.5 g/kg of seed
(3) Method of Sowing;
a) Line sowing;
a) It is beneficial to sow Finger Millet in lines 3-4 cm deep
b) Line sowing ensures better germination, cuts down seed requirements,s and facilitates intercultural operations as compared to the broadcast method of sowing.
c) The line-to-line distance of 20-25 cm and plant-to-plant distance of 8-10 cm is considered ideal for the Finger Millet crop.
b)Transplanting ; 
a) In areas with adequate moisture, Finger Millet can be raised by the method of transplantation. Higher yields are obtained in the case of transplanted crops as compared to direct-seeded crops. 
b)Transplanted crop does not lodge during rains. 
c) Seed should be sown in well-prepared nursery beds during the month of May-June
d) About four kg seed of Finger Millet will give enough seedlings to transplant one hectare of land. Three to four weeks old seedlings should be transplanted in the main field. Before pulling the seeds, the nursery should be irrigated. The field should be well prepared before transplanting. 
Transplant two seedlings per hill at a distance of 25 X8 centimeters or 20 x 10 centimeters. 
Seedlings should be transplanted 2-3 centimeters deep. 
The beds should be irrigated on the third day after transplantation. 
In the absence of timely rains, the transplanted fields should be irrigated regularly till the seedlings are well established. Other cultivation practices for the transplanted crop are similar to that for the direct sown crop.

Manures & Fertilisers Requirement in Finger Millet Crop;

1)The addition of adequate quantities of organic matter in Finger Millet soils is considered beneficial since it helps to improve the physical condition of soil which helps soil to retain moisture for a longer period of time. 

2) Apply about 5 to 10 tonnes of farmyard manure or compost per hectare one month before sowing. 
3) Fertilizers should be applied according to soil test recommendations. 
4) If soil test values are not available, apply 50-60 kg nitrogen, 30-40 kg P205, and 20-30 kg K2O per hectare. 
5) An entire amount of phosphatic and potassic and half of the nitrogenous fertilizer should be applied at sowing time. 
6) Half of the remaining dose of nitrogen should be topdressed in two equal split doses after 30 and 50 days of sowing
7)Half of the above doses should be applied in a rainfed crop. 8) The entire quantity of fertilizers should be applied 8-10 cm. deep in the soil at the time of sowing.

Water Management  in Finger Millet Crop ;

1) Finger Millet is sown during Kharif and generally does not need any irrigation. 

2) However, at tillering and flowering stages, if rains stop for a long spell, then irrigation would be required to obtain a good yield. 
3) Furrows and ridges should be prepared for irrigation, which would serve the dual purpose of irrigation and drainage.
4) Finger Millet crop does not do well under waterlogged conditions, therefore, proper removal of excess water after rains is also essential.

Weed Control in Finger Millet Crop ;

Cultivation of Finger Millet ( Mandua or Ragi ) ; A Complete Information Guide
Finger Millet Field

It is essential to control weeds in the initial stage of plant growth and development. The inter-cultivation and weeding should be done with a hand hoe after 25 days of sowing. Two to three hoeings would be sufficient to control the weeds in problem areas.

Diseases and Pest Management in Finger Millet Crop;

Disease Management;

a) Blast; 
Infection of this disease may occur even in the seedling stage with grey-green to yellow lesions forming ou leaf blades. In a severe condition, spots may coalesce to form large Nlighted spots and the main stem becomes infected and the ear heads break over. Grains of infected ear heads are shriveled and become light in weight
Control Measures 
a) Treat seed with thiram @ 2.5 g/ ks of seed 
(b) Grow resistant varieties namely VL-146, VL-149, Gautami, and Sharda.
b) Seed Blight
It causes severe damage during years with high continuous rainfall. This disease occurs throughout the life cycle of the Finger Millet plant and may infect all parts of the plant.
Control Measures
(a) Seed treatment with organo-mercurials like Ceresan, Thiram, etc. (b) Spray the crop with 0.2 % Dithane Z-78 or 
sprays of 0.2% Zineb/ Mancozeb 75 WP   
c) Downy Mildew
It may cause severe damage in certain areas. Plants are stunted and leaves may arise close together in a bunch.
Control Measures
(a) Spray Dithane M-45 (0.02%) solution on standing crop and (b) Keep the field clean.
Insect Pests Management ;

a) Stem borer ; For controlling stem borer apply the nursery bed once at 15 to 20 days after germination with Chloropyriphos or Monocrotophos @ 40ml/ 10 cm nursery area. Prior to transplanting apply Phorate @ 0.5kg or Carbofuran 3G 1.2 kg/ha.
b) Aphids ; Apply Methyl Demeton @1000 ml/ha at pre-flowering stage or apply
quinolfos @0.05%
c) Ear caterpillars ;  Dust crop with Malathion 5% @ 25 kg/ha

Harvesting and Threshing of Finger Millet Crop ;

1) The crop matures in about 120-135 days depending on the variety. 

2) Harvesting is generally done in two stages. 
3) The earheads are harvested with ordinary sickles and straw is cut close to the ground. 
4) Earheads are heaped for three to four days to cure and then threshed with hand or bullocks. At some places under rainfed conditions, the whole plant with earhead is cut, heaped, and then threshed.

The Yield of Finger Millet Crop ;

With improved package and practices, it is possible to harvest 20-25 quintals of grain and 60 to 120 quintals of fodder per hectare. The straw of Finger Millet makes nutritious fodder. It can be conserved by putting up in well-built stakes.


One thought on “Cultivation of Finger Millet ( Mandua or Ragi ); A Complete Information Guide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights