Japanese Millet for Attracting Wildlife
Japanese millet is a popular food plot planting for ducks. It is a great small grain attractant for doves, quail, turkeys, and pheasants, forage for cattle, and cover crop planting. Japanese millet performs well planted by itself or in a mix. It can germinate quickly, as soon as four days in the right conditions. This characteristic of quick germination makes it a great planting to prevent wind and rain erosion. Japanese millet can be broadcast or planted with a seed drill. It is best to plant in a seed bed with few to no weeds established. Herbicide and/or mechanical seedbed preparation (i.e., disking) can get rid of weeds. In wetlands, Japanese millet can be seeded directly onto the mud. It can tolerate shallow flooding after it is established, similar to rice.
What is Japanese Millet?
Japanese millet is a short-growing season millet that produces an abundance of small seeds. It will mature in 60-90 days. When planting Japanese millet for ducks, it can be planted directly onto mud or planted into a prepared seed bed. We like planting directly onto mud when possible. The mud needs to be sticky and not crusted over. If the mud is crusted over when the seed lands on it, it is like planting on concrete. It is difficult for the seed to reach moisture and for the tap root to penetrate the crust. We have planted Japanese millet successfully onto mud by hand, ATV, and with a crop duster. Broadcasting is the only method to plant onto mud due to the planting conditions.
Planting Japanese Millet to Attract Deer, Waterfowl, and Wildlife
When planting Japanese millet for ducks and other wildlife, plant when the average soil temperature is 70 degrees. Japanese millet can be planted from April through August. It needs at least 60-90 growing days without a frost to produce seed. If planting for ducks, Specialty Seeds recommends planting 90 days before your average first frost date. With any late summer crops, scouting must be done for Fall Armyworms. Fall Armyworms can be devastating if they go unchecked. There are several insecticide options available to treat Fall Armyworms. Choose one that has a residual effect and is just not a contact killer.
Japanese Millet Fertilizer Recommendations
Japanese millet can be planted with a seed drill or by broadcasting. Plant 15 lbs./acre drilled or 20 lbs./acre broadcast. “Less is more” when planting millet. At a minimum, all the vegetation needs to be killed before planting whether you are planting with a seed drill or by broadcasting. This can be done with a herbicide like glyphosate or by disking. Most people plant into a well-prepared seed bed with success. The seedbed will be disked and smoothed. The seed can be drilled into the soil or broadcast and lightly covered. There are some herbicide options to control broadleaved weeds in Japanese millet like 2,4-D, Aim, and Blazer.
Will Japanese millet grow in water? Japanese millet does tolerate growing in saturated soils better than browntop, Pearl, or Proso millets. It can grow in standing water like rice, as long as the water is shallow. When planting Japanese millet in a waterfowl impoundment, we recommend putting 1-2 boards into the water control structure after the millet is 12" tall. This will capture any runoff from rain keeping the soil moist. This will help the millet roots stay in moist soil and will also help with building winter water for ducks. The soil is not as dry and will start pooling water sooner for duck season. Just keep in mind a shallow flood, approximately 6" deep is ok, on growing millet that is 12" tall or taller. Too deep water will make the Japanese millet stalk become “leggy”, which is a long, thin stem. The long, thin stalk is more prone to lodging or falling over.
To purchase Japanese millet for cattle, Japanese millet for deer, and Japanese millet for ducks, browse our selection at Specialty Seeds.