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Mohar (also mogar) – Setaria italica – is a fodder crop related to annual cereal (bluegrass) grasses.

Mohar (Setaria italica)
Mohar (Setaria italica)
Source: commons.wikimedia.org
©Dinesh Valke from Thane, India (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Economic importance

Mohar is a valuable fodder crop. Its hay contains 7.8% protein, 26.8% fiber, 51.3% nitrogen-free extractives, 6.7% ash substances. The grain contains 14.3% protein. Hay harvested in the tillering phase contains 21.5% protein in dry matter, in the heading phase – 11.1%.

The green mass of the mohar is used in the summer in a mowed form or as annual pastures, as well as for preparing fodder for the winter. It is well eaten by all farm animals.

Unground grain serves as food for birds, in ground form – for all animals.

In the forest-steppe zone, it is cultivated for green fodder and hay. When sowing in the spring, mogar allows you to get one mowing and aftermath, when sowing after mowing – for an autumn pasture.

In terms of hay quality, mohar is not inferior to Sudanese grass.

For fodder purposes, straw and chaff are also used, containing 6.7% protein.

100 kg of mogar grain correspond to 103 feed units and contain 10.3 kg of digestible protein.

Mohar, as a grain crop, can be used to make cereals and alcohol.

Cultural history

Mohar comes from East Asia (China, Mongolia), where it was known 2700 BC.

In Russia, mogars began to grow from the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century.

It does not occur in the wild.

Cultivation areas

The main areas of cultivation are semi-arid and arid steppes of the Lower and Middle Volga regions, the North Caucasus and the Central Black Earth zone.

Due to the biological characteristics of the mogar, it is grown in the east and southeast of Russia (Western and Eastern Siberia, the Far East), in Central Asia and the Caucasus.


In terms of yield, mohar is usually inferior to Sudanese grass. However, in the conditions of the Omsk region, according to the State Commission for Variety Testing of Agricultural Crops, the yield of green mass and mogar hay exceeds the yield of Sudanese grass, since under these conditions the latter lacks heat.

In the conditions of the Volga region on chestnut and light chestnut soils, it is not inferior in terms of hay yield to Sudanese grass. On chernozem soils with sufficient moisture, Sudan grass exceeds mogar in hay yield by 2 times.

On fertile soils with a high level of agricultural technology, the yield of hay reaches 4-6 t/ha, green mass – 20-25 t/ha, grain – 1-1.5 t/ha.

Botanical description

Mohar (Setaria italica mocharium Abf.).

The root system is fibrous, penetrates the soil to a depth of 100-150 cm. Most of the roots are located in the plow horizon of the soil.

The stem is cylindrical, erect, pubescent, the number of internodes, depending on the precocity of the variety, is 4-16. Height 50-200 cm. The stem is prone to branching. Late-ripening varieties are characterized by a greater number of internodes. Bushiness from 2 to 7 stems.

Leaves up to 45-50 cm long, pubescent, dark green, sometimes with anthocyanin coloration. One stem has 15-16 leaves. When mowing at the beginning of heading, the share of leaves is 45-55% of the total yield.

Inflorescence -dense spike-like panicle (sultan), length 6-25 cm, width 1-4 cm. Spikelets are single-flowered, have 3 spikelet scales. Long bristles are located between the spikelets.

The fruit is an ovoid small caryopsis, membranous, densely enclosed in flower films, yellow, straw-yellow, orange or black in color. Weight of 1000 seeds 1.5-4.0 g.

Biological features

Mohar is drought tolerant and less demanding on heat and soil than sudan grass.

Seeds germinate at 10 °C. The optimum temperature for germination is 20 °C.

Due to earlier sowing time, it is more resistant to cold and frost than Sudan grass and millet.

Shoots are very sensitive to the sun and morning frosts.

Light-loving culture of a short day.

Drought tolerance is high. A lack of moisture in the soil can lead to a suspension of growth; plants have only germinal roots. Mogar can remain in this state for a long time, but after rainfall it can give a satisfactory harvest. The total transpiration coefficient is 300. The optimal soil moisture for it is 60-70% of the lowest moisture capacity.

Mohar grows well on sandy, sandy, heavy loamy soils. It grows poorly on waterlogged and waterlogged soils. Chernozems, loamy and sandy chestnut soils are optimally suited.

Plant nutrition

With 1 ton of hay, 17-20 kg N, 4-5 kg ​​P2O5 and 15-17 kg K2O are removed from the soil.


Mohar, as well as other millet species, is sensitive to weed infestation in fields.

17-25 days after the emergence of seedlings, the tillering phase begins.

Intensive accumulation of dry matter and protein is noted in the period from panicle emergence to flowering.

After mowing, it grows back badly.

The duration of the growing season depends on the variety and growing conditions, it is 90-130 days.

Crop rotation

With a high level of agricultural technology and fertilization, mogars can be sown in various fields of crop rotation. It is usually placed in fodder crop rotations in fields set aside for annual crops. With low soil fertility and a lack of fertilizers, the last field of the crop rotation is assigned to this crop.

Optimal predecessors are tilled crops and leguminous crops.

Serves as a good predecessor for row crops and cereals.


Mohar responds well to the application of nitrogen fertilizers, to a lesser extent – phosphorus ones.

Recommended application rates for mineral fertilizers N30-45P30-45K30-45.

The application of nitrogen fertilizers in the norm N45 helps to increase the hay yield by 0.5 t/ha.


Soil tillage is similar to that for millet. It is important that tillage keeps the fields clean of weeds.

Soil preparation includes stubble plowing, autumn plowing, fallow harrowing in early spring, 1-2 pre-sowing cultivations.


The sowing rate of mogar seeds for dry steppe regions is 8-12 kg/ha, for the forest-steppe zone – 15 kg/ha, for humid regions with chernozem soils – up to 20 kg/ha.

The sowing method when cultivating for hay is continuous and wide-row, when cultivating for grain – wide-row with row spacing of 45 cm and a seeding rate of 8-12 kg/ha.

Sowing depth 2-5 cm.

Sowing dates – at the same time as millet, corn and Sudanese grass, when the soil warms up to 8-12 °C.

Before and after sowing, the soil is rolled.

Crop care

With a wide-row sowing method, after the emergence of seedlings, loosening of the row spacing is carried out. The last inter-row processing is carried out until the rows close.


Mohar harvesting for hay and green fodder is started in the phase of the beginning of the heading of the sultan. Delayed harvesting results in coarse hay with less nutritional value. The mowing height is 7-10 cm, since at a lower height (less than 5 cm) it does not grow back.

Harvesting for seeds begins when the spikelets turn brown and the seeds harden by direct combining or separately, depending on weather conditions. Seeds are cleaned of impurities and dried to a moisture content of 12-14%.


Crop production / P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov and others; Ed. P.P. Vavilov. – 5th ed., revised. and additional – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher educational institutions).

V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Agriculture and crop production. Ed. V.S. Niklyaev. – M .: “Epic”, 2000. – 555 p.