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Lesson Note

Subject: Agricultural Science
Topic: Production of Guinea Corn (Sorghum spp)
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:

  1. Explain the varieties of Guinea Corn,
  2. State the uses of Guinea Corn,
  3. Explain the various processes involved in producing Guinea Corn.

Lesson Disscussions

Production Of Guinea Corn

The crop, Guinea corn is one of the Sorghums spp. It is also known as millet and mainly grown as grain and forage.

Origin: It is an important cereal of the semi-arid tropics especially in Asia and Africa.
Varieties: Common varieties are Sorghum bicolor and Sorghum arundinaccum. Sorghum has the ability to resist drought especially at the vegetative growth. This resistance is based primarily on:

  • extensive root system with a profusion of rootlets. The rootlets of Sorghum are twice that of maize and as such, it has double the ability of maize to extract water from the fridge soil.
  • Sorghum has relatively small leaf area which makes for reduced transpiration.
  • Ability of the stomata to close up and cease to transpire. When the intensity of the drought has been reduced, perhaps after two weeks it can resume normal function and yet no damage to the plant.

Uses of Guinea Corn: It is used as a staple human food especially in the tropics. It also serves as a livestock feed, and industrial raw material for the production of alcoholic drinks.
Ecological Requirements: Guinea Corn is resistant to drought, water logging, and high salt concentration. It requires sandy loam soils which are rich in organic matter. It is adapted to semi-arid regions with average yearly rainfall of 350 – 400mm and may also grow well where the annual rainfall is as high as 1000mm. It can be grown under a soil pH range of 5.0 – 9.0.
Land Preparation: Guinea Corn cannot stand weed competition and therefore, requires deep and well prepared seed beds so as to reduce weed infestation, conserve soil moisture and avoid soil compaction. It may also be planted in ridges or hills.
Planting: Guinea Corn is raised from seeds and 3 – 6 seeds are usually planted per hole. These are later thinned to 2 seedlings per stand. Guinea Corn seeds are sown in dry climates with the onset of the rains (May – June). The seeds may be dressed with fungicides against smut and other fungal diseases.
Spacing: The optimum stocking density is determined by the size and tillering habiy of the cultivar, the amount of available moisture and the nitrogen status of the soil. The usual spacing is 30 – 50cm between plants in a row and 45 – 90cm between the rows. The seed rate ranges from 2kg/ha in very dry areas to about 10kg/ha in irrigated plots. Where Sorghum is hand sown, the density is about 17,000 stands per hectare.
Fertilizer Application: In Nigeria, the response of Guinea Corn to nitrogen is erratic but it responds well to phosphorus and it is recommended that 60 – 125 kg/ha of sure phosphate and sulphate of ammonia be applied before sowing and at 3 weeks from sowing (after the first weeding) respectively.
Weeding: Sorghum does not stand weed competition. This is usually done by hand. The most serious weed is the parasitic Striga. Early control of weeds is important to prevent setting of the weed seeds. Production of prop-roots in Sorghum is encouraged by earthening up during weeding.
Harvesting: Generally, Sorghum plants mature in 5 – 7months though some short-term cultivars take less than four months to mature. Harvesting is done by cutting the panicles and then drying them to about 10 – 12% moisture content.

The heads are threshed to remove the seeds from the panicles and the husks are separated from the seeds by winnowing.
Storage: The Guinea Corn grains are stored in jute bags or grain storage bins. Sorghum may be stored in the head hung above wood fire in the houses.
Pests: Sorghum is attacked by such pests as birds, witchweed, stalk-borers, grasshoppers, Sorghum midge and weevils.
Diseases: The major diseases of Sorghum are anthracnose, leaf blight, smut and downy mildew.

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Take a quick test for this lesson

  1. Explain the varieties of Guinea Corn,
  2. State the uses of Guinea Corn,
  3. Explain the various processes involved in producing Guinea Corn.

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References

Are, L.A., Ashaye, T. I., Adegbola, A.A., & Nwogu, E., (Ed.). (2007). Agricultural Science for Junior Secondary Schools. University Press.

Ubakamma, E. E., Eruchal, M.C., Okafor, O.M., & Ezeani I.C., (Ed.). (2005). Founders Agricultural Science for Senior Secondary Schools. MAS Founders Publications.

Note: itsmyschoollibrary considers the above academic resources appropriate and so were sourced for the development of this lesson. Hence no part of these referenced materials should be lifted from this blog without appropriate written permission from the various sources.