Flowering occurs regularly from October to December under natural conditions in Coimbatore. Inflorescence branches of male parents are collected every morning between 5 and 5.30 A.M. and exposed to slightly a higher temperature and lower humidity to facilitate anther dehiscence ahead of natural dehiscence in the open fields. The pollen collected is taken and dusted on female arrows for 7-8 days till all the spikelets have flowered. Recent analysis of seed set during the past 8 years has indicated that rainfall during July – August is crucial to better seed set. In order to ensure adequate humidity and moisture status during the inductive phase sprinklers were put into use and this has resulted in adequate and timely flowering.
Parents for a cross are decided based on synchrony of flowering and the desirable characters they possess. Parents are classified as male or female based on pollen fertility. Generally, those with more than 50% pollen fertility are used as male and those with less than 30% pollen fertility are used as female. When both parents of a desired cross are male fertile, the one with lower fertility is used as pistil parent. The female arrow is enclosed with a pollen proof cloth bag in an aluminium lantern suspended from bamboo supports erected in the field. The bag is raised to facilitate pollination and tied up at the bottom after pollination. The mature seed is collected 25-30 days after completion of pollination and dried to reduce the moisture content.