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How to Plant Brown Top Millet

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

Brown top millet is a warm-season grass often used in animal pastures or for hay production. The grass is a leafy perennial that produces a yellow seed head. Brown top millet seed should be sown in early spring, as it only has a 60-day growing season that falls between June and the end of August, according to the Mississippi State University Extension Service. The millet can be grown in areas where the soil has a low nutrient content or fertility as long as it is drains well to prevent standing water.

Find a planting location for the brown top millet that has well-draining soil and is slightly acidic. Use a tiller to work the soil area to a depth of 10 inches. Smooth the planting area with a hand rake or ATV-pulled rake unit to remove rock and vegetative growth before planting the seed.

Test the soil pH with a test kit to verify that it is in the range of 5.0 to 7.0. If necessary, add limestone to the soil to increase the pH level or ground rock sulfur to lower the pH.

Apply brown top millet to the planting area, using a broadcast grass seeder for an even application. Sow the seed at a rate of 30 to 40 pounds per acre. Sow that seed at 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet if seeding a small area.

Firm the seed into the planted area by rolling a lawn roller half filled with water across the soil. Lawn rollers can be rented from a garden supply store and either pushed across the area or pulled by an ATV or small tractor. Brown top millet seed must be packed into the soil to germinate.

Fertilize the planting area after germination with an application of general-purpose grass fertilizer at a rate of 125 to 250 pounds per acre or approximately 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet.


Things You Will Need

  • Tiller
  • Hand rake
  • ATV with rake unit (optional)
  • Soil pH test kit
  • Limestone (optional)
  • Ground rock sulfur (optional)
  • Broadcast seeder
  • Lawn roller
  • General-purpose lawn fertilizer


  • Mix brown top millet seed with other grass seeds if you are using it for animal pasture grass. This improves the millet germination time, as the other grass seeds germinate and sprout faster to provide protection.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.