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Sesame (Sesamum) is an oilseed crop.

Sesame (Sesamum indicum)
Sesame (Sesamum indicum)
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Economic importance

Sesame ranks first among oilseeds in terms of oil content. Its seeds contain 50-65% oil, 16-19% protein and 16-18% soluble carbohydrates. The iodine number of sesame oil is 103-112.

Sesame, or sesame, oil, which is obtained by cold pressing, is characterized by high taste and resembles olive (Provencal) oil. This oil has a light yellow color, excellent taste, no smell. It is used for food purposes, in the production of canned food and confectionery, as well as in medicine.

Sesame oil, obtained by hot pressing, is used for technical purposes.

Sesame seeds are used in the confectionery industry, for example, for the manufacture of sweets and oriental sweets, and halva is prepared from peeled and ground seeds.

The cake obtained by the cold pressing process contains 8% oil and approximately 40% protein. It also finds application in the confectionery industry. Cake obtained by hot pressing is used as a good concentrated feed for farm animals. 100 kg of cake correspond to 132 feed units.

Crop history

Sesame is considered an ancient crop, the cultivation of which began in Asia and Africa. Homeland – Africa.

Sesame appeared in Russia at the end of the 17th century.

Cultivation areas and yield

The main producers of sesame are India, China, Burma, Pakistan, some African countries and southern Europe, Mexico.

The area of ​​crops occupied by sesame in the world at the end of the 20th century was 7 million hectares or 4% of the area occupied by oilseeds. The gross harvest of seeds was 2.5 million tons. The average yield was 0.4 t/ha.

From the countries of the former USSR, it is cultivated by the countries of Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan) and Transcaucasia.

In Russia, small areas are occupied by this crop, mainly in the North Caucasus.

The yield of sesame seeds under conditions without irrigation is 1.0-1.2 t/ha, under irrigation 1.8-2.0 (3.0) t/ha.

Botanical description

Cultivated sesame, or Indian, Sesamum indicum L. is an annual plant belonging to the Sesame family (Pedaliaceae).


The root is taproot, penetrates the soil to a depth of 1 m.


The stem is erect, pubescent with soft hairs.

Plants 1.2-1.5 m high.


Leaves petiolate, alternate or opposite, pubescent. The shape of the leaves depends on the position on the stem and variety. In some varieties, the leaves are whole, the lower ones are large and wide, the plants decrease towards the top. In other varieties, the lower leaves are dissected, the upper ones are whole, narrow, lanceolate.


The flowers are of the five type, located in the axils of the leaves, 1-2, sitting on short legs.

Corolla white or pink to purple. Calyx and corolla pubescent.

Plants are self-pollinating, cross-pollination by bees is possible.


The fruit is an elongated pubescent capsule, consists of two or four carpels, 70-80 seeds. When ripe, the box cracks.

One plant can form 100-150 bolls.


Seeds are small, flat, white, gray, brown or black.

The mass of 1000 seeds is 3-5 g.

Biological features

Sesame belongs to heat-loving plants.

Seeds begin to germinate at a soil temperature of 15-16 °C. Seedlings die during frosts of -0.5 … -1 °С. The optimum temperature for the growth and development of sesame seeds is 25-30 °C. When the temperature drops to 12-15 °C, plant growth stops.

Makes high demands on moisture and nutrients. Drought tolerant.

Chernozem, light loamy and sandy loamy fertile soils, free from weeds, are optimal.

Light-loving short day plant.


In the first month after germination, sesame plants develop slowly. Before the flowering phase comes a period of intensive growth.

The vegetation period of sesame depends on the variety and growing conditions and is (80) 90-120 days.

In sesame, the following phases of plant growth and development are distinguished:

  • seedlings;
  • first pair of true leaves;
  • budding;
  • bloom;
  • fruit formation;
  • seed maturation.

Crop rotation

The best predecessors of sesame in a crop rotation are winter wheat, corn, and legumes.

Fertilizer system

Sesame responds well to fertilizers.

The greatest increase in yield can be obtained by applying N90P90K90. Equally effective is the combined use of manure (10 t/ha) and complete mineral fertilizer N30P30K30 (Vavilov). According to other sources, it is not recommended to apply manure for sesame seeds in order to avoid the rapid development of the vegetative mass, it is advisable to apply it under the previous crop (Kolomeichenko). Also, the recommended application rates for mineral fertilizers are N45P45K45.

A good effect is given by row application when sowing granular superphosphate at the rate of 100 kg/ha.

Sesame belongs to crops with extended nutrient intake: plants consume approximately 67% of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the flowering phase and later. This is the reason for the high responsiveness of sesame to top dressing. During the formation of the second pair of true leaves, it is recommended to feed NPK in small quantities.

Tillage system

Sesame places high demands on tillage.

Soil cultivation for sesame includes:

  • autumn plowing with preliminary peeling;
  • harrowing in early spring;
  • at least two cultivations in the spring to a depth of 4-5 cm, followed by harrowing.

On non-irrigated lands, rolling is carried out before sowing.


Sesame sowing is started when the topsoil is sufficiently moist and warmed up to (15) 16-18 °C. When grown under irrigation conditions and with dry soil, pre-sowing watering is carried out before sowing.

The sowing method is wide-row with a row spacing of 45-70 cm.

Seeding rate (5) 6-8 kg/ha.

Sowing depth 2-3 cm.

After sowing, rolling is carried out.

Crop care

Care of crops consists in carrying out 3-4 inter-row treatments.

Under irrigation conditions, irrigation is carried out along the furrows 2 times: the first – during budding, the second – during the period of mass flowering of plants. Water consumption is (600) 700-800 (1000) m3/ha.


When ripe, sesame seeds crumble heavily.

Harvesting is started when the lower leaves turn yellow or fall off, the lower boxes on the plants turn brown, but do not open yet, and the seeds should have a normal color characteristic of the variety.

The two-phase cleaning method is more effective. When the boxes begin to
open, the seeds are shaken out of the sheaves 2-3 times by hand or threshed by self-propelled harvesters with a pick-up.

Sorted and cleaned seeds with a moisture content of not more than 9% are laid for storage.


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.