Foxtail Millet (Tenai) Cultivation Practices

By TamilNadu Agricultural University on 15 Dec 2018 | read

Foxtail millet (Tenai)– (Setaria italica)Image title

Package of practices for Tenai


PanicleImage title

PanicleImage title

GrainImage title

Season and Varieties

CropDistricts grown
TenaiDharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Perambalur, Karur, Madurai, Theni, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi.

a)    June-July (Hill slopes of Coimbatore and Erode Districts)CO 6, CO (Te) 7
b)    September-October (Coimbatore and Southerndistricts)CO 6, CO (Te) 7
a)   February-March
b)   September-October
CO 6, CO (Te) 7

ParentageHybrid derivative of CO 5 x ISE 301CO 5 x ISE 248
Duration (days)85-9080-85
PigmentationgreenGreenish purple
Tillering abilityHighhigh
PaniclesLong and droopingLong, compact
Grain CharacterBold & Yellowyellow
Grain Yield (kg/ha) Straw1565 
3.7 t/ha
5.1 t/ha
Special featuresSuitable for irrigated & rainfed conditions, good grain quality, rich in protein, fat and minerals than CO 5Non lodging
High yielding

 Seeds and sowing:

For line planting



For sowing


12.5kg/ha for use of Gorru or seed drill is recommended.

Seed treatment


Treat 1 kg of seeds with 2 g Thiram or 

Field preparation


Plough the field thoroughly using a small iron 
plough or country plough to fine tilth.

Fertilizer application


Apply basally
FYM/Compost      12.5 t/ha 
Nitrogen                44 kg/ha
Phosphorus          22 kg/ha



For line planting 22 x 10 cm, for sowing 10 cm in between plants



First weeding on 15 th DAS and the second on 40th DAS



Before 20 DAS

Plant protection


Generally no major problem of pests and diseases

Post Harvest Technology 


The minor millets comprise of proso millet or panivaragu (Panicum miliaceum), foxtail millet or thenai (Setariaitalica), little millet or samai (Panicum sumatrense), barnyard millet or sanwa millet (Echinochloa colona) and kodo millet or varagu (Paspalum scrobiculatum).

Minor millets are high energy, nutritious foods comparable to other cereals and some of them are even better with regard to protein and mineral content. They are particularly low in phytic acid and rich in dietary fibre, iron, calcium and B vitamins. As the millets are consumed by the poor, they guard them against food and nutritional insecurity imposed by various agronomic, socio economic and political factors. Minor millets can thus act as a shield against nutritional deficiency disorders and provide nutritional security.

Supplementation of cereal based products with millets has become increasingly popular due to nutritional and economic advantages. With proper preparation, 30 per cent of minor millets can be gainfully substituted in value added foods belonging to the categories of traditional foods, bakery products, extruded foods and allied mixes for the convenient preparation by rural and town folk at low cost. Poroso millet flour is used as a substitute for rice flour in various snack foods.

Traditionally, finger, kodo and poroso millets are brewed by tribal in certain parts of India. Popping of finger millet is done on cottage industry level and the popped meal is marketed in polyethylene pouches.

Nutritive Value of Minor Millet 

Italian millet33111124386131290 
Sanwa millet307126241065202805

 Small millets are rich in phytochemicals, including phytic acid, which is believed to lower cholesterol. Dietary fiber protects against hyperglycemia, some phenolics and tannins act as antioxidants. Small millets have potential benefits to mitigate or delay the onset of complications associated with diabetes.

Value Addition -Traditional foods
Bakery Products
 Soup stick
Instant Food Mix - Murukku Mix
Extruded Products - Noodles

Preparation of Supplementary Food MixImage title