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Cultivation of Maize: Step by Step Method Explained

P. Godha Hiranmayee
P. Godha Hiranmayee
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You can earn more money by cultivating maize. Here you go, these are the simple & easy guidelines you need to follow... 

Maize is one of the important foods, green forage & industrial crops of the world. It is called QUEEN OF THE CEREALS. Maize has highest yield/ha among the cereal crops. 

Climate:

Maize is a tropical plant which prefers warm humid weather. It is a short-day plant. It is very sensitive to excess or deficit soil moisture. It cannot with stand frost at any stage of growth. The optimum pH range of soil for maize is 6.5-7.5. 600 mm rainfall with even distribution is sufficient for good cultivation. Optimum temperatures for germination are 21℃ and for growth is 32℃ respectively. 

Soils: 

Maize can be grown on a variety of soils, but it grows best on well drained soils. 

1. Best soils- Deep dark silt loams

2. In semi-arid climates- Deep soils (Heavy Texture)

3. In sub humid climates- Sand Loam soils

Seasons: 

Kharif – sowing in between last week of May to 2nd week of June and harvested in late September or October. 

Varieties:  

1. DHM-101,103, 1 Rohini, Ashwini]- Synthetics

2. Trishulatha-3 Way cross

3. Arsha & Varun- Composites

Land preparation:

2-3 shallow tillage operations during summer season are essential. Deep ploughing is also helpful to control weeds & for efficient moisture conservation. 

Seed Rate:  

1. For pure crop: 20-25 kg/ha

2. For fodder maize: 40-50 kg/ha

3. For intercropping with soybean: 10kg/ha (1:3) or 15 kg/ha (1:2)

Spacing: 

60×25cm or 75×20cm 

But crop geometry of 45×20cm is found to be optimum for most of the areas.  

Method of sowing:

Dibble the seed 2-3cm deep & should not be more than 5cm. 

Weed Management: 

Maize needs two inter-cultivations & two hand-weeding’s. First inter-cultivation is done between rows near to plants for earthing up. Second inter-cultivation should not be done near the plants nor deep.  

The combined use of herbicides & inter-cultivations is the most effective technique of weed control in maize. 

  • Pre-emergence –Simazine (Tafazine) or Atrazine (Atrafaf) @ 2kg/ha should be sprayed 2 or 3 DAS (Days after sowing), by wetting the entire surface uniformly. Later the soil should not be disturbed for 4-5 weeks after application of the herbicide.

  • Post-emergence—2,4 DEE at 1 ½ - 2 kg/ha at any time when maize is about 20cm height.

Water Management: 

The optimum available soil moisture for maize crop is 75% or 80%. 

The frequency of irrigation will be once in 6-10 days depending upon rainfall. The total water requirement varies from 530mm to 800mm depending upon season & rainfall received during the crop growth crop period. 

Light & frequent irrigations just to moisten the effective root zone of the maize crop viz., 15cm to 22.5cm depth of soil are more conductive to higher yield. 

Up to 40 DAS, the crop is more sensitive to excess moisture & from pre-flowering to maturity, it is more sensitive to drought. 

Manure: 

20-25 tones/ha FYM (Farm Yard Manure) 

Fertilizers: Recommended doses are 

Nutrient 

Irrigated (Kg/ha) 

Rainfed (Kg/ha) 

Deficiency Symptoms 

N(Nitrogen) 

120-150 

80-100 

Yellowing the tips of lower leaves & gradually spreads to mid ribs & finally affects the upper leaves 

P(Phosphorus) 

60-75 

40-50 

Reddish discoloration was observed before plant have reached knee-high stage. Older leaves are affected first 

K(Potassium) (Based on soil test) 

35 

35 

Yellowing to necrosis (Tissue death). First observed in lower leaves. 

Zn (Zinc) (Once in 3 seasons) 

25-50 

25-50 

Stunted growth, lower half of leaf having broad ends of bleached tissue. Stems develop basal plant parts. 

Time & method of fertilizer application: 

Rainfed Crop: All the fertilizers should be applied in single dose as basal dressing. Place the fertilizers 10cm away from seed rows & 5 cm below the seed. 

In case of other situations N should be applied by the below stated methods: 

1. Light or Sandy soil (All seasons)

2. Sowing stage – drill 10cm away & 5cm below the seed rows -¼ N

3. Knee-high (30-35DAS)- broadcast between rows & mix up with soil-½ N 

  • Pre-tasseling (50-55 DAS)- Broadcast between rows & mix up with soil-¼ N

1. Heavy or Black soil (Kharif & Summer season)

2. Sowing stage- drilling-¾ N

3. Knee- High Stage- Broadcast & mix with soil-¼ N

4. Heavy or Black soil (Rabi season)

  • Sowing stage- drilling-¼ N

  • Knee- High Stage- Broadcast & mix with soil -¾ N

Apply 2nd & 3rd splits of N in the afternoon. Fertilizer should be mixed up in the soil with a hand hoe. Immediately after fertilizer application, field has to be irrigated. (in the case of irrigated crop only) 

Harvesting:

Hybrids of maize mature within 90-110 days. Plants may remain green when cobs are dry & ready for harvest. Therefore, do not wait for stalks to dry up for harvesting, this is desirable as such plants can be used as fodder. 

Test for Maturity:

The husk cover turns pale brown & the grains are too hard to be pressed in with finger nail. 

Shelling:

The plants should be left in field for one or 2 days after harvesting. Remove the husk & keep the cobs in sun for 2-3 days before shelling. Shelling can be done either by beating with sticks or by using maize shellers operated by hand or power. 

Yield:  

  • Hybrids: 8.75-10 tons/ha

  • Locals:  3.75-5 tons/ha

Keywords: Forage crop, Tropical, Cereal, Dibble & Broadcast.  

Cost of Cultivation of Maize per acre 

Activity 

Cost per Acre (Rs) 

Land Preparation 

 

Tractor Ploughing (2/3 ploughings) 

1,500 

Human Labor (4) 

1,600 

Seed cost (8kg) 

3,200 

Sowing (6) 

2,400 

Manures  

1,500 

Fertilizers 

2,500 

Manual weeding/ chemical spray 

2,500 

Plant protection measures 

1,500 

Miscellaneous activities 

2,000 

Harvesting (10) 

4,000 

Shelling (10) & Machine 

5,000 

Cost of Transport 

1,000 

Total 

28,700 

(_) Indicates the no. of labor  

  • Wage of labor per day-Rs.400/- (It may vary from place to place)

  • Therefore, the cost of cultivation of maize per acre on an average is Rs.28,700/-

  • Yield of maize per acre is 30-40 quintals. (Hybrids)

  • The current market price of maize is Rs.1,800/- per quintal

  • The gross income is Rs.54,00-72,000/-

  • Then the profit the farmer gets is Rs.25,300-43,300/-

Note: The cost of cultivation is high due to high labor wages. 

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