Sesame Seeds

When are the harvesting times for sesame seeds?

Sesame seed’s harvesting guide. Learn the plating, harvesting and storing process - key requirements needed to guarantee great taste, quality and freshness

Sesame seeds are highly nutritious seeds that are used in preparing various delicious cuisines. The demand for them is very high because of their multifunctionality.  They can be used to garnish bread, chicken and can also be used as a dressing for salads. Another very important reason sesame seeds are sought after is for their oil, both for cooking and as an ingredient in beauty products. Here is how sesame seeds are grown and harvested. 


Sesame seeds grow better in hot climates as during the vegetation period, which lasts from 78-85 days, they need constant thermal temperatures. They germinate at 15-16° C and cannot withstand temperatures below + 5° C, and at temperatures below + 15° C they do not grow. Sesame seeds need a lot of moisture. The best productions are obtained on fecund soils, with medium texture and deeper groundwater. It is important for their soil to be well drained but not water logged, and it is also advisable to grow sesame seeds in rotation following crops such as corn, sorghum, millet or cotton.

They are very versatile as they can also be grown as a mixed crop with millet, sorghum and other types of cereals. There are many variants of sesame seeds. Examples are the white, black, brown, red, yellow and ivory. However, it is not advisable to grow these different variants together. To begin with, the seeds grow very slowly, so it is important to keep their soil weed-free at the planting stage. Fertilisation is also very essential at this stage as sesame seeds consume most of their nutrients at vegetation stage. With that in mind, the plant requires a lot of nitrogen, phosphate and potash, with compost and farm manure being used to provide extra nutrients. 


Harvesting of sesame seeds usually takes place when the fruit at the base of the seeds are ripe and when the leaves at the base of the stem have fallen. This usually happens 90 to 130 days after initial planting. Sesame seeds can be harvested with a sickle then bounded into bundles, where they can be left to dry without losing their quality. After drying, the bundles collapse to the ground. This technique is best used in small surfaces. However, on larger surfaces they are harvested in two phases. First, they are cut with a windrower- a farm implement that cuts small grain crops and forms them into a windrow. 


Sesame seeds should be stored carefully to avoid contact with sand, dirt or stones. Unshelled sesame seeds should be stored in dry conditions, protected from rain and humidity as the moisture content in the seeds must not exceed 10%. Interestingly, they can only be stored for 5 years maximum, if not, they lose their taste and quality. When storing them for the long-term, they should be clean and be kept in spaces with cool temperatures and low humidity to keep them fresh!

You can find out more about KODGAV and its contribution to sesame seeds production.

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