Browntop Millet (or dixie signalgrass) originated in South East Asia. Browntop is grown for several purposes, including wildlife attractant (dove fields), erosion control, straw production, as well as forage production (Figure 11). Because it is commonly used for a variety of purposes, many farm supply stores carry browntop millet varieties. As a result, it is occasionally used for grazing or hay production. Browntop typically grows only to 2 - 5 ft tall and produces only 60 - 70% of the dry matter of pearl millet or sorghum x sudan hybrids.
Browntop millet can be planted from mid-April until mid-August in most locations, though later plantings will result in lower yields. To establish browntop millet, broadcast 20-25 lbs of seed per acre on a prepared seedbed in spring. Seed should be covered to a depth of ½ inches in a firm seed bed.
Browntop millet is a nitrate accumulating crop. Because of this nitrate accumulation and low yield potential, browntop millet often will contain nitrate concentrations that are toxic (or lethal) to livestock. Browntop should not be planted if a drought is anticipated or forecasted.
Browntop millet is a good reseeding plant and the seed may remain viable in the soil for many years. It can become a pest in cultivated crops.
Dr. Dennis Hancock
Forage Extension Specialist
Crop & Soil Sciences Dept.