2012 sesame producer_guide_13_feb

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  • P a g e | 1

    FOREWORD Every year since 1982, a Sesame Production Guide has been published to share and update producers with experiences

    of the SESACO Production and Research teams. The teams work together expanding the boundaries and knowledge of

    sesame production. As the sesame industry evolves, more information and experience is shared with a widening diverse

    group of producers and researchers.


    2 INTRODUCTION 11 Seed Metering Equipment

    2 CROP DESCRIPTION 11 Planting Rates

    3 U.S. Growing Area 12 MOISTURE AND NUTRIENTS

    3 Temperature 12 Moisture Management

    3 Growth 12 Dryland

    4 Development 13 Irrigation

    6 FIELD SELECTION 15 Nutrient Management

    6 Soils 15 PEST

    6 Herbicide Carryover 15 Weeds and Herbicides

    6 Sesame in Rotation 17 Diseases


    8 No-till 19 Wildlife

    8 Conventional Tillage 19 HARVEST

    9 Preformed Raised Beds 19 Moisture matters

    9 Row Spacing 20 Header

    9 Dry and Buster Planting 20 Threshing


    10 Traditional Areas 23 DEVELOPMENT OF SESAME

    10 Expansion Areas

    ADVANTAGES OF GROWING SESAME One of the most efficient crops for volumes of 6 to16

    inches of plant available water.

    A versatile crop grown in arid/semi-arid regions with

    unique attributes to fit almost any cropping system.

    Offers more potential return for less cost (less risk)

    than other crops.

    Can be more profitable with limited resources than

    other crops using the same level of resources.

    Excellent drought and heat tolerance. Performing

    where other crops fail.

    Common equipment used for other crops can be

    used to produce sesame.

    Has shown excellent disease and insect tolerance

    and has shown to grow well in cotton root rot infested


    Relatively negligible economic damage from wild

    hogs, deer, and/or birds.

    Deep tap root may reach and utilize nutrients and

    moisture below the root zone of other crops.

    As a non-host for root-knot nematodes, rotation with

    sesame has shown to reduce nematode levels.

    Adds beneficial residue not only on the surface but

    within the soil profile, resulting in improved tilth and

    topsoil protection.

    Is a standard nation-wide program crop. No follow up

    crop is required to receive program payments.

    Multi Peril Crop Insurance Pilot Program established

    in specific counties of Texas and Oklahoma in 2011.

    Stretch limited water supplies by dividing acres with

    higher moisture demanding crops.

    Has worked well as a catch crop option following

    failed wheat, canola or cotton.

    Has not shown iron or zinc deficiencies on high pH


    Grows well in no-till and results in mellow soil with

    residue that allows uniform planting.

    During the drying phase (last 30-40 days), soils may

    collect and store rainfall for the following crop.

  • P a g e | 2


    SESACO is the premier genetic developer, processor, and

    marketer of U.S. grown sesame. SESACO has used

    traditional breeding to develop the only non-dehiscent

    (ND) sesame varieties in the world (U.S. patent number

    6,100,452). ND sesame changes the way sesame has

    been cultivated and harvested for 7,500 years.

    Even today, 99% of the sesame grown in the world is still

    harvested manually because traditional sesame capsules

    shatter during the drying stage before harvest. SESACO

    ND varieties mature and dry standing in the field and then

    are harvested direct from standing plants. Traditional

    sesame with known traits such as drought, heat, insect,

    and disease tolerance is now completely mechanized by

    the ND genes. In 2008, SESACO released the first

    Improved Non-Dehiscent (IND) varieties (U.S. patent

    number 8,080,707).

    CROP DESCRIPTION Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is a broadleaf summer crop

    with similar growth habits to cotton and soybeans.

    Generally, it is 3-5 feet tall; and, with good moisture and

    fertility, sesame can reach 5-6 feet. Varieties can be single

    stemmed or have branches.

    Flowering starts about 35-45 days after planting, typically

    setting two new flowers per day. Sesame is indeterminate

    but generally flowering stops after 75-85 days.

    The fruiting form is called a capsule. The first capsule is

    about 1-2 ft above the ground. Capsules are divided by

    carpels like a cotton boll. There are 4 rows of seeds in each

    capsule with about 70 seeds produced in each capsule.

    The plant is very leafy and succulent prior to physiological

    maturity (PM) which normally occurs 95-110 days after

    planting. PM is when 75% of the capsules on the main

    stem have mature seed. Normally, sesame will self-

    defoliate by full maturity and drydown 120-150 days after

    planting. Frost may accelerate drydown and prepare the

    crop for an earlier harvest. A killing freeze will terminate the

    crop and typically dry down the plants in 7 to 10 days.

    Usually a freeze after PM does not damage the crop.

    Photo 1. A mature capsule cut open to present seed arrangement. Photo by J. Simon.

    Photo 2. Sesame in mid bloom with full size capsules 6 node pairs below open flower.

    Cover Photo. Irrigated sesame on the High Plains in rotation

    with corn and cotton.

  • P a g e | 3

    Fig. 1. SESACOs traditional production areas have been mainly in TX, OK,KS, and some in AL, as shown in green. Sesame

    can be grown in many areas of the southern United States.

    U.S. Growing Area

    SESACO has ambitious goals to grow more sesame each and every year. As shown in purple in Figure 1, SESACO is

    expanding into areas outside of the traditional TX, OK, and KS production area. These areas have previously grown

    sesame either as commercial production or game bird food plots. In the expansion areas, sesame is being planted as

    both a primary crop and a double crop behind wheat. Sesame offers producers an alternative rotational crop that can be

    integrated into many cropping systems like potatoes, watermelons, etc.


    Sesame is very heat tolerant. Cool temperatures are

    more limiting to production than hot or even very hot

    temperatures. Sesame has produced excellent yields

    while enduring very hot temperatures (120F) in the

    deserts of Arizona and around the world.

    The threshold temperature for growing degree days of

    sesame is 60.6F. When night temperatures go below

    this threshold, it takes longer for the crop to mature.

    Typically, sesame requires 115 days from emergence to

    the first frost date. Sesame needs to reach physiological

    maturity prior to frost to make optimum yield.


    As shown in Figure 2, sesame is characterized by a slow

    growth rate in the first 30-35 days to reach only 12 while

    the root is growing faster than the leaves and stems. This

    is followed by a rapid increase in height of roughly 12

    every 7-10 days to reach 4 feet by 60 days from planting.

    At the end of flowering, the plants no longer grow.

    With limiting moisture conditions, the final plant heights

    are lower, but the pattern of slow growth followed by fast

    growth during the reproductive phase exists under all


    Fig. 2. Normal growth curve for sesame.

  • P a g e | 4


    There are four phases in the development of sesame

    as shown in Table 1. Each of these (excluding the

    ripening phase) are divided into stages based upon

    events which can be identified. With this information,

    producers should make timely applications of inputs

    and schedule future activities as the crop develops.

    Vegetative Phase

    Germination stage

    For the germination stage, soil temperatures need to

    maintain a minimum of 70F at planting depth. Final

    stand should be judged at 7 days after planting.

    During the germination stage, a rain can create a crust

    in the soil over the sesame. If the seed is located

    inside the crust, there is almost no hope for emergence,

    and the sesame should be replanted. If the seeds are

    germinating below the crust, there is a possibility that

    the crust will crack and allow for emergence. The stage

    ends when the seedlings emerge.

    Seedling stage

    The seedling stage is a tough time for producers

    because of the slow pace of growth. This stage is still

    too small to cultivate. The stage ends when the 3rd


    of true leaves are as long as the 2nd


    Juvenile stage

    In the juvenile stage there is a dramatic surge in growth.

    At this stage, it is important to consider cultivating and

    sidedressing. The stage ends when the first green buds

    are visible.

    Pre-reproductive stage

    The pre-reproductive stage is the most important stage to

    optimize production. This is the last chance to sidedress,

    let alone get a tractor into the field. From this stage until

    late bloom, it is important to minimize stre