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  MAIZE FARMING  Maize is the most productive grain crops in the middle  belts  and northern states of Nigeria where sunshine is a...

Maize Farming


Maize is the most productive grain crops in the middle belts and northern states of Nigeria where sunshine is adequate and rainfall is moderate. In these areas, storage of grains can be accomplished without much damage from the insect pest.
Maize grows in a wider range of soil type than rice, almost every part of
Nigeria can grow maize on their soil. Some farmers use Hybrid Maize seeds and mechanized system of farming which gives them better yield of up to 10.2 tons per hectare, while crude farming methods which most African farmers are used to gives low yield of up to 2.1 tons per hectare.
Crop yields are an essential aspect of every farmer’s day, impacting how profitable their farmland can be. Learning how to improve crop yields is the key to successful maize farming, and access to new technologies and planting methods has helped me an opportunity increase crop production.

How to have good yield on corn production
The following are very essential 
1. Soil preparation 
2. Quality seeds
3. Fertilizer application 
4. Management

Land/soil preparation for planting of maize
Importance of proper land preparation
Poorly prepared land leads to low yields. Its
Important to prepare the soil properly ensure good germination of your maize
Digging exposes harmful pests and disease to the heat of the sun. It also helps bring nutrients near the soil surface, improve water and air movement, and loosens the so for easy root growth. In addition, digging helps to mix up organic matter in the soil and to kill weeds.

How to prepare the land for maize planting
Land preparation can be done by hand digging, using an ox-plough or a disc plough. Depending on the condition of the ground, dig once or twice, to a depth of at least 20 cm during the dry season. At the start of rains, harrow the soil. Avoid digging or harrowing the soil when it is too wet because this can cause big Lumps especially in clay soils. Harrowin involves breaking up large lumps of soil t get a good seedbed. A good seedbed makes planting easier and ensures maize germinates well. Planting should start few days after the start of the rains when the soil is moist.
Planting methods
 Depth of planting and spacing of maize
The depth of planting maize depends on how moist the soil is.
If the soil is moist, plant 2-3 cm below the ground and if the soil is dry, plant the seed 5-10 cm deep so that it does not dry up.
The depth of planting should be uniform to allow uniform plant

Germination and growth.
Plant using a planter such as a hand- held jab planter or ox- or tractor-drawn tractor to ensure uniform depth of planting. When using a planter check the first few lines to ensure that the planting is okay and adjust where necessary
For good growth and development, maize should be planted at the right spacing.

If the soil fertility is low or under low rainfall
Use a spacing of 90 by 30 cm for one seed per hole, or 90 by 50 cm for 2 seeds per hole.

In areas with high to moderate rainfall or with high soil fertility
Use a spacing of 75 by 25 cm for one seed per hole or
75 by 50 cm for 2 seeds per hole
The seed should not be directly in contact with fertilizers to avoid see burning, which can cause po germination.
When hand-planting, put fertilizer in the hole cover it with soil, and then put the seed. Cov seed with loose soil, not with big lumps, then press down the soil.
Preparing your land early, and using the right depth and spacing will lead to higher maize yields

Quality seeds
Farmers who planted their fields with quality seeds doubled their yields. Seed is the foundation of any rice crop. It must be grown, harvested, and processed correctly for best yield and quality results.
Sowing good quality seeds leads to lower seed rate, better emergence (>70%), more uniformity, less replanting, and vigorous early growth which helps to increase resistance to insects and diseases, and decrease weeds. As a result, yield can increase by 5−20%.

Fertilizer Application
This is where most farmers get it wrong, I prefer to use less fertilizers. Which leads to lower yields? Even most farmers don't use all, they forget Fertilizer application is an investment on crop you get the rewards from the yield

Application of fertilizer on maize at 3 different stages.
The first was that I used 2 bags of Diamonium Phosphate (DAP) and one bag of urea which I mixed and apply at planting.
The second stage of application was at week 4 or once the maize is knees height  after planting, he mixed 2 bags of urea with 1 bag of Diamonium Phosphate (DAP) to bury it
And the final stage was to apply 2 bags of urea when the maize has started cobbing. This brings total 3 bags of DAP fertilizer and 5 bags of urea fertilizer making it 8 bags of fertilizer in all per hectare.

Apply Atrazine @ 0.25 kg/ha as pre-emergence on 3-5 DAS using Backpack/ Knapsack/ Rocker sprayer fitted with a flat fan nozzle using 500 litres of water/ha followed by one hand weeding on 30-35 DAS. (or)
Apply Atrazine @ 0.25 kg/ha as pre-emergence on 3-5 DAS followed by 2,4-D @ 1 kg/ha on 20-25 DAS, using Backpack/Knapsack/Rocker sprayer fitted with a flat fan nozzle using 500 litres of water/ha. In line sown crop, apply PE Atrazine @ 0.25 kg/ha on 3-5 DAS followed by Twin Wheel hoe weeder weeding on 30-35 DAS.

Apply herbicide when there is sufficient moisture in soil.
Do not disturb the soil after herbicide application. If pulse crop is to be raised as intercrop, do not use Atrazine. Spray Pendimethalin @0.75 kg/ha as pre emergence on 3-5 DAS. Unweeded Maize field

                                                                   Fatudimu Temidayo Emmanuel Kola