Scientific name: Pennisetum glaucum Common names: Babala, Pearl millet, Bulrush millet, Poko grass Varieties: Common and Pearler hybrid Seeding rate: Common 2 – 2.5 g/m² (20 – 25 kg/ha), Pearler 0.8 – 1.5 g/m² (8 – 15 kg/ha) Growth cycle: Annual Growth season: Warm season Babala, or Pearl millet, is a robust annual grass with thick erect stems up to 3 m tall. It is a quick-growing hardy grass suited for poor sandy soils in dry climates. It was known by various other scientific names in the past, including Pennisetum typhoides and Pennisetum americanum. It is often hybridised with the perennial Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Pearl millet originates from West Africa and is grown in semi-arid and arid subtropical and tropical regions of Africa and India. It has been grown as a cereal crop for at least 4 000 years. Pearl millet, as a forage crop, is used for silage, direct grazing and cut-and-carry feeding. It is also used as a ley crop or for controlling weeds and nematodes, to which it is resistant to, in preparation for establishing perennial crops the following season. It can be grazed from 400 – 600 mm height and cutting for silage should be done before the plant gets too stalky.