“Millet” Herbicide Recommendations- When Millet Isn’t Always Equal 

“Millet” as a crop grown for forage, hay or grain in the Northern Plains is a common cropping term. However, using the term “millet” can actually lead to some confusion. By definition, millet is a widely variable cropping group rather than an individual crop. The crop group worldwide is quite large, containing plants in several different genera, including Eleusine (finger millets), Panicum (proso and little millet) and Setaria (foxtail millets), the last of which are in the same genus as the weedy foxtails. Japanese millet is in the genus Echinchloa (IE: Barnyardgrass) and is a millet relative. There are even some minor crops in the genus Digitaria called “millet”.

In our region, millet grown for crops can be broken down into essentially four sub groups- proso millet, foxtail millet (also called German foxtail millet, golden German foxtail millet or simply hay millet), and the less common pearl millet and now Japanese millet. The differences in the genetic background of these crops and the widely different growth habits of the crops make managing crop inputs like herbicides difficult.

Figure 1: Millet crops in the Dakotas: (L to R) Prosomillet, Japanese millet, foxtail millet and pearl millet.

Managing herbicides registered for use in “Millet”
A few definitions are needed when interpreting federal pesticide labels for use in various millet crops.
• If the term “millet” is used without definition on herbicide labels, the general interpretation is that the product is registered for use in any of the millet crops
• If the label is specific, such as saying “proso millet” or “pearl millet”, then that product is limited to that particular crop only. For example, many of the herbicides registered for proso millet are very damaging to foxtail millets.
• Millet may also fall under a broad heading on herbicide labels of “grasses grown for seed” or “grasses grown for forage or hay” or some language of the sort. Be very cautious of the latter two categories. Many current versions of pesticide labels are getting more specific by listing individual species of grasses under the “grasses grown for seed” heading, but not all labels are specific.

Herbicides registered for use in “Millet” in South and North Dakota
Herbicides for each of the different millet crops most often DO NOT overlap to all types of millet! In general, proso millet and pearl millet act a bit like corn, whereas foxtail millets are unique- while still a grass crop, foxtail millet does NOT react to herbicides like corn or wheat. Please note the restrictions listed below for each type, as well as general comments.

Foxtail Millet Management:
1. Pre-emergence herbicides: Start a foxtail millet field CLEAN. Use an effective burndown to control unwanted broadleaves BEFORE the crop emerges.
   a. Be cautious with phenoxy herbicides pre-emergence, especially dicamba. Treat foxtail millet somewhat like soybeans, following the soybean pre-plant intervals.

2. In crop herbicides: Registered broadleaf herbicides are Starane Ultra (Corteva), Comet (generic Starane) or TrumpCard (Helena)
  a. There is Supplemental Label available for Starane Ultra covering millet for hay. Have this label in hand.
  b. Use 0.3-0.4 pt/a Starane Ultra on small weeds
  c. TrumpCard is registered, but use it only with caution because of significant injury potential from the 2,4-D component of the mix

Proso Millet Management:
1. Pre-emergence herbicides: Burndown herbicides (follow restrictions), Sharpen (1-2 oz/a)
2. In-crop herbicides: Aim (0.5-2.0 oz/a), , Peak (0.25-0.5 oz/a at 3-leaf to second node)
3. The following are registered, but have some notation on crop response, especially under stress: Permit or Sandea (0.5-0.66
oz/a at 2 leaf to heading), Scorch (dicamba, 2,4-D and fluroxypyr-1 pt/a on weeds <4”), Yukon (3-4 oz/a on 3-5 leaf millet), certain dicamba products (4 oz/a + 2,4-D 0.375 # A.I.) (Banvel NOT labeled)

Pearl Millet Management:
1. Pre-emergence herbicides: Callisto (or several generic mesotriones)- 6 oz/a after planting but before emergence) or Sharpen (1-2 oz/a). Post-emergence herbicides: Aim, Starane Ultra, Comet (use as for Proso Millet)

Japanese Millet Management: Glyphosate for burndown. Comet (generic fluroxypyr- 0.5-0.66 pt/a) or 2,4-D amine (0.5-1.0 pt/a) in-crop

Pesticide Labels and Harvest Intervals - Terminology
Following application of herbicides, growers must also follow all restrictions listed on the label for harvest intervals:
• A pre-harvest interval may be stated dealing with grain harvest
• Grazing restrictions are generally straight forward. Occasionally, dairy and stock cows are separated, and restrictions are
different for each.
• Pre-slaughter restrictions are generally short and are extremely strict guidelines
• “Forage” is generally considered to mean a green chop or ensiled type of product
• “Hay” is considered a dry baled or stacked dry crop plant
• “Straw” refers to crop stems after grain harvest, generally for small grains
• “Fodder” is a dried, in-field forage or post-harvest crop stems from broadleaf crops or corn

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