40 FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.
BARNYARD MILLET (Panicum Crus-galli L.). Seed, Plate 26, Fig. 2.
Other Latin names: Echinochloa Crus-galli (L.) Beauv.; Oplismenus Crus-galli Drum.
Other English name: Barnyard Grass.
Botanical description: Barnyard Millet is an annual which grows to a height of from one to three feet. The stems, often knee-bent, are ascending and rather stout. It differs from other millets mentioned by having the sheaths of the leaves compressed and sharply keeled and by the presence of a bunch of long hairs at the base of the leaf. The panicle is composed of numerous one-sided clusters of spikelets, varying in size, colour and general appearance. Each spikelet consists of a single flower, which generally has a short stout awn. In some varieties (for instance, Japanese Barnyard Millet) the awn is wanting, while in others it is very long.
Geographical distribution: Barnyard Millet is indigenous to the Old World, where it occurs in moist fields, in gardens, along roads and ditches, in waste places, etc., often as a troublesome weed. It is not a native of Canada, but was introduced early.
Agricultural value: Being a coarse grass which rapidly deteriorates in quality after blooming, Barnyard Millet should be cut for hay when the plants are in flower, or even earlier. If intended for ensilage, cutting may be delayed until flowering is well over.
Twenty pounds of seed should be sown to the acre for hay; for seed production, twelve and a half pounds are enough.
Meadow land will grow old in time, and it requires to be renovated every now and then, by sowing upon it a crop of beans, or else rape or millet, after which it should be sown the next year with corn, and then left for hay the third.—Pliny, Natural History, 23-79.
The sticks and the stones go gather up clean, For hurting of scythe, or for harming of green.
—Thomas Tusser. Fire Hundreth Pointes of Husbandrie. 1557.
Come then, let your sturdy bullocks forthwith turn up the rich soil, in the very earliest months of the year; and let the dusty summer with its strongest suns bake the clods as they lie exposed. But if the land be not rich, it will be enough to plow it lightly, rather before the rising of Arcturus; in the former case, lest weeds obstruct the healthy corn; in the latter, lest the scanty moisture forsake the unproductive soil.—Virgil, Georgies, 37 B.C.