Maize is a staple food in various parts of East and Southern Africa. It is a significant energy source in West and Central Africa, particularly in Ghana, Benin and parts of Nigeria. Maize (botanical name = Zea mays) has a wide distribution, growing in a wide range of agro-ecological regions.
Farmers grow maize in all countries of Africa, but it is essentially a crop of warm regions where moisture is sufficient. The Guinea savanna regions of West and Central Africa provide the best ecological conditions for the crop. Southern Africa and the East are also suitable for their production. However, the semi-arid or equatorial climate does not favour the growth of maize conveniently. However, drought-tolerant varieties adapted to semi-arid conditions are now available.
Farming requires the most pivotal type of equipment, which plays a major role in agro-processing. Equipment, harvesters and tractors are the major ones in maize cultivation. Hence, we suggest the Mahindra Yuvo 585 MAT Tractor. Moreover, we also suggest a rotavator, a cultivator for this Maize farming.
Uses of Maize
- Maize is a versatile crop. It means that every part of the plant has its economic value.
- Corn kernels are used as food [in food for boiled, roasted or ground oatmeal and pasta], as feed for poultry and livestock, and as a raw material for many industrial products, in the form [starch, oil, beverages, beer and wine, sugar, cornflakes etc.].
- You can use the leaves as fodder for sheep, goats and cattle.
- The cob and stalk of the maize plant can be used as fuel, and the ash sometimes used as a salt substitute.
Soil Type and Site Selection
- Farmers can grow maize on a wide range of soils, but well-aerated, well-drained, deep soils contain ample organic matter and are well supplied with nutrients.
- High crop yield depletes soil nutrients; Therefore, you should grow it as the first crop in the cropping cycle.
- Stay away from the place where there are trees, shady areas and anthills to ensure good yields.
- This crop is sensitive to salinity and does not withstand waterlogging; therefore, avoid compacted, muddy, and clayey soils.
- Farmers can successfully grow maize on soils with a moderately acidic environment with pH value within the optimum pH range of 5.5 – 7.
- Any pH level outside this range will enhance mineral toxicity and make the soil nutrient deficient.
- They can test soil on the soil to determine the pH level.
- Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus tests should also performed on the soil to help you determine a fertilization program for maximum yield.
- Soil research institutes, private laboratories and universities are good places to go with soil test samples.
Maize Farming – Temperature Requirement
- Maize requires plenty of sunlight for maximum yield. However, the average minimum daily temperature of 20 °C is sufficient.
- Optimally, a temperature between 25-30°C is suitable for proper growth and development.
- Maize performs poorly in cold regions with temperatures below 5°C and in areas with temperatures above 40°C. These temperatures eventually lead to the death of the plant.
Land Preparation For Maize Cultivation
- A vast range land preparation methods used in different agro-ecological regions.
- Essentially, any chemical, mechanical or manual method can sufficiently remove weeds and keep the soil loose for good seed.
- Farmers use fire to reduce excess vegetation in their fields, and this practice adds potassium salts and other trace elements to the soil.
- Some farmers mix the previous crop’s residues into the soil, which later decomposes into humus.
- It is recommended to apply organic manure before ploughing to improve soil structure and supply nutrients.
- When clearing and uprooting trees for large scale farmers, make sure your cleaning method will preserve the topsoil of your agricultural land, especially when the cleanup done mechanically.
- Inland preparation, the soil is manipulated to optimize the conditions for proper growth and development of the maize plant.
- Riding or piles are usually done on heavy soils to improve drainage.
- Field tillage optimizes soil temperature, and moisture conditions encourage root development and reduce weed competition.
- It is important to plant the corn immediately after land preparation to allow the maize to overtake the weeds.
This crop propagated from seed, and its yield greatly influenced by planting practices like; Planting time, planting depth and planting method.
Time of Planting:-
- In the forest area, early-season maize usually planted between mid-March and the first week of April.
- However, due to changing rainfall patterns, sowing of maize is recommended as soon as soil conditions and temperatures are favourable and rainfall is well established.
- Late sowing can lead to incidences of diseases and insect attacks.
- In the late season, popcorn is sown after the corn has been properly dried to maximize popping extension.
- You should note that maize planting timing is not an important factor in areas where irrigated cultivation is being done.
The Depth of Planting:-
- The sowing depth is usually 3–8 cm depending on soil moisture and also depends on air conditions, temperature.
- For moist soil, planting depth between 2-4 cm is sufficient, while for dry soil, between 5-8 cm deep sowing recommended.
- Whatever planting depth you adopt, make sure it is the same for all corn seeds planted, allowing for uniform plant growth.
The Method of Planting
- Farmers Plant it either by hand or mechanically, and they can plant it on hills or in rows, on ridges or flat land.
- 1-3 maize seeds are planted at a distance of 75-85 cm between rows and 25-40 cm in a row.
- Weed growth increases with a vast distance and increases erosion.
- A uniform crop stand is essential for a high yield.
- The oldest and most commonly used method of sowing maize is by hand.
- When sowing by hand, the seed put into pits made with sticks or spades, and the pits covered with soil.
- The sow from hand method makes it easier to apply fertilizer at the time of planting.
- Mechanical planting is quicker than manual planting; This allows you to plant maize over a much larger land area within a predetermined planting period.
The tractor is the most useful equipment in maize farming. Therefore we suggest the Mahindra 575 tractor because this tractor is the best to lead to work in farming. Mahindra 575 price list is affordable for all Indian farmers.
For more information regarding maize cultivation, stay tuned with us.