Introduction: -Maize which is famous by Corn is one of the most versatile crops which grows under varied climatic conditions. Maize is said to be the queen of cereals. Maize is said to be the 3rd most important food cash crops after wheat and rice.
Throughout the year Corn can be grown in all states of the country. It is produced and used for various purposes like fodder for animals, as a food grain, baby corn, green cobs and popcorn. Maize or Corn is popularly and widely used for cooking in India.
The largest cultivation of Maize/Corn crop is done in North India. States covering UP, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab all together combines and contributes to 2/3rd of the total area and output of Corn. The major producers of Maize in South India are Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. But Madhya Pradesh is the leading producer of Maize in the country.
Maize or Corn gain its popularity providing a number of health benefits.
⦁ The fiber content in Corn makes it helpful in digestion
⦁ It also helps in reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol
⦁ Corn helps in preventing diabetes and hypertension
⦁ It helps in reducing risk of cancer
⦁ It helps in gaining vision
⦁ Corn is very good for heart
⦁ Corn prevents disease named Alzheimer’s
⦁ Corn is very beneficial for skin
⦁ It controls hair loss
The commercial varieties of Maize depend upon the right high yield depending upon the local conditions. The popular few varieties are Himalayan 123, 30V92, 30B07, Sona, Kisan, 30R77, Hi-Starch, 32T25, 31T15, Ganga-1, Ganga-101, Ranjit, Deccan, Ganga-5, Ganga-Safed-2, Ganga-3, Ganga-4 and V.L.54, Vijay, Amber, Jawahar and Vikram.
Maize, known in different Languages
Makka (Hindi, Marathi, Oriya)
Climatic conditions for Maize Farming: –
Maize being rain-fed Kharif crop is sown just before the monsoon starts. Temperature varying from 22 ͦC to 30 ͦC supports good growth of Maize. But it has the capacity to tolerate the temperature as high as 35 ͦC. Maize crop grows well where at least yearly 5 frost-free months are available as the frost effects Maize growth. 50 to 90 cm of rainfall is required for Maize farming and not cultivated where the rainfall exceeds 100 mm.
Soil Essentials for Maize Farming: –
Maize cultivation complements a variety of soil varying from clay loamy to sandy to the black cotton soil. Soils with a good organic matter which has high water holding capacity are preferred best for the better yield of Maize. The pH value ranging from 5.5 to 7.0 with well-drained soil is preferred for Maize Farming. In order to check the deficiency of any nutrient value of the soil, it should undergo Soil test. If any deficiency is found in the soil, then the adding of organic matter or compost at the time of land preparation will make it beneficial.
Sowing of Maize: –
June to July, September to October and January to February are the seasons suitable for Maize Cultivation. For better germination of seeds, November to December is the suitable month for the sowing of Maize as the maturity of seed doesn’t coincide with Rainy season.
The propagation involves seeds in Maize Farming. The plant to plant spacing should be kept keeping 10 cm apart and per hill 2 seeds are to be sown. Moreover, the seeds should be sown at the rate of 1/3rd of a ridge from the bottom.
Land Preparation in Maize Farming:
The desired field should be kept free from volunteer (unwanted plants that are grown from previous maize plant) Maize plants.
6 to 7 ploughings should be done in order to form fine tilth. Farm Yard Manure at the rate of 13 to 14 tons should be applied across the field or else composted and 10 Azospirillum packets in the field should be applied. Furrows and ridges should be prepared to keep spacing of 45 cm to 50 cm in order to save the irrigated water.
The rate of Seed and Treatment, done in Maize Farming: –
Maize seed at the rate of 10 to 11 kg is sown per hectare field. The seeds should be treated with Thiram or Carbendazim at the rate of 2 grams per kg so as to control any seed borne pathogens of downy mildew which is a type of fungal disease. The seeds should be treated with Azospirillum at the rate of 600 grams along with rice gruel and then dried in the shade for 15 to 20 minutes just after the one day of seed treatment where Azospirillum helps in fixing the atmospheric nitrogen in the soil.
Manures and Fertilizers in Maize Farming: –
At the time of land preparation, inorganic fertilizers such as 470 kg of super-phosphate, 200 kg of urea and 180 kg of Potash per hectare as a basal dose are applied. After 20 days of sowing Urea at the rate of 50 to 60 kg should be applied. After 40 days of sowing 120 kg of urea and 50 kg of potash should be applied as a top dressing.
The nutrient deficiency in maize hampers the growth of the plant thereby decreasing the yield. The most common deficiencies are Zinc and Magnesium deficiencies found in leaves of the Maize. In order to control and remove these deficiencies ZnSO4 at the rate of 20 kg per hectare as basal fertilizer should be applied. Yellowish symptoms between the edges and veins of basal leaves are caused due to the magnesium deficiency. The whole Maize plant turns to yellowish color due to these deficiencies. To avoid such deficiencies, the micro-nutrient mixture at the rate of 63 per hectare should be mixed with 45 kg of sand should be applied after the sowing of Maize Seeds.
Irrigation, done in Maize Farming: –
After the sowing of the seeds, immediate irrigation is required. The field should be irrigated on the third and the fourth day after sowing. Also, the water availability depends on the soil type and season. Up to 25 to 30 days, in the beginning, less irrigation is done afterward the field is irrigated once in a week. Water stagnation should be avoided and good drainage should be provided at the early stage of the crop.
Weed Control in Maize Farming: –
Hand weeding should be done at least to control the weeds thereby one weeding is carried by 20 to 25 days and the second weeding is done by 40 to 45 days after sowing. After the weeding process is done fertilizers should be applied as top dressing and earthling up operation should be done. Atrazine at the rate of 500 grams mixed up with 1000 liters of water should be sprayed. Also, irrigation, done on 3rd and 4th day helps in controlling the weeds in the maize field.
Diseases and Pests in Maize Farming: –
The common diseases include Downy Mildew and Leaf spot.
In case of Downy Mildew, the affected plant should be removed in order to control it. Metalaxyl 72 WP at the rate of 1 kg per hectare or Mancozeb 1 kg per hectare is sprayed after 20 days of sowing.
In order to control Leaf spot, Captan or Mancozeb at the rate of kg per hectare are sprayed in case of high intensity of the disease.
The Maize crop is less affected by insects. Only Shoot Fly and Stem Borer are few pests that attack the young plants. It affects the shoot after 20 to 30 days of sowing. To control these, Carbofuran granules at the rate of 8 kg per acre at the rate 2 granules per plant is applied.
When the outer cover of the cob turns from green to white color of the crop means it is ready to harvest. The harvesting can be done by hands and machines are also available to separate the seeds.
The better yield of Maize Farming depends upon the field management and seed variety. If quality seeds are used, then the expected yield goes to 2500 kg per hectare.