Millet suitable as organic feed

The panicle millet scores not only with amino acids, but also the protein content reaches a good level.
The panicle millet scores not only with amino acids, but also the protein content reaches a good level.

Panicle millet could be a promising feed component in organic animal husbandry. Its high content of methionine in particular, but also of other essential amino acids, is impressive.

A research project funded by the German Federal Program for Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN) has now identified surprisingly high methionine contents in various varieties and lines of this crop. This was reported by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) in Bonn. According to their information, the project team from the Öko-BeratungsGesellschaft and the Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (HNEE) conducted the trials under organic growing conditions with panicle millet varieties and lines from different countries at sites with light soils in Brandenburg, Berlin and Bavaria.

Better than field bean & Co

On average for all three crop years and locations, the provenances studied achieved methionine contents of 3.46 g/kg fresh matter (FM). These were significantly higher for feed grains or protein crops such as field bean with 1.7 g/kg FM or pea with 1.9 g/kg FM. A good level was also recorded for the content of crude protein and other essential amino acids, reported the BLE. On average, about 115 g of crude protein, just under 2 g of cysteine and lysine, and about 3.7 g of threonine were measured per kilogram of FM.

High yield differences observed

There were large differences in yields depending on the weed, the BLE further noted. Between 8 dt and 41 dt per hectare were harvested during the study period. There were no significant differences between late-maturing and medium-early varieties. Only the very early-maturing varieties showed a significant drop in yield. The federal agency also pointed out that due to high demand, seed multiplication for the No. 2194, Bernburger and Panmil origins would begin this year. According to the research team, this will significantly improve the supply of seed of suitable varieties. This is because the varieties of edible millet available to date have tended to have below-average methionine contents. Further research is still needed into possible additional sulfur fertilization and the feeding of laying hens. AgE