Japanese millet (Echinochloa esculenta) is an introduced, annual, warm-season grass that is grown primarily as forage and wildlife habitat in the United States. It is a domesticated species derived from wild millet barnyardgrass (E. crus-galli). It is robust with course, hairless leaves 4–20 in long, has a thicker stem than most millets, grows 2–4 ft tall, with a brown to purple inflorescence.
Forage/Feed: Japanese millet is often grown as forage in the United States. It can produce up to 3,500 lb/ac of dried aboveground biomass. The straw has greater protein and calcium content than rice, oat, and timothy.
Cover crop/green manure: Japanese millet is a weed-suppressing cover crop that can grow up to 4 ft in 45 days. It is considered a good smother crop and has been shown to reduce the dry weight and the number of plants of yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) through root competition for nutrients and water. It is a good N scavenger and can be used as a fast-growing catch-crop. When Japanese millet is combined with cowpea, it can provide good weed suppression and improve the N fixation of cowpea; however, it may be too aggressive to be beneficial in most mixes. It is not recommended for aerial seeding. It has a C:N ratio of 42 and can add 35 lb/ac N in above-ground biomass.