Maize Farming Project Report
The maize plant, Zea Mays and Zea Diploperennis, are native to Mexico and South America, respectively. It is also referred to as Corn and its scientific name is Zea Mays. The maize tree is a grass of the Gramineae family, including wheat, rye, barley, etc. It is available in two varieties: Zea Mays and Zea Diploperennis. As a matter of fact, there are over sixty different sub-species of Zea Mays and Zea Diploperennis. Despite its broad adaptability to various agroclimatic conditions and its high genetic potential, maize is referred to as the nation’s queen cereal. It is grown throughout the year in India, but mostly Kharif season. The maize used as a food supply for humans and animals is an important raw material in industries such as starch, oil, protein, alcohol, cider, cosmetics, film, paper, and textiles.
Land preparation and planting
The type of tillage and crop establishment determines the crop yield. There are different types of RCT (Resource Conservation Technology) tillage and crop establishment techniques, as defined by zero tillage, minimum tillage, surface seeding, and others. The aim of soil tillage is to improve the structure of the soil and reduce erosion by wind or water. Mouldboard ploughs, disc/chisel ploughs, rippers, and others are used to first or primary tilled the soil. Secondary tilling implements include rotary tiller, tined cultivators, harrows, and others. When soil, water, weather, and other conditions are favourable, maize seeds can be planted. The depth of planting maize seeds is 5 to 10 cm; shallow planting is done on heavy soil. Wide rows of width 1.5 to 2.1 m are observed in medium-to-heavy rainfall regions. In heavy-to-heavy rainfall regions, narrow rows of sizes 0.91 cm to 1 m are created.
Plant and its properties
The maize plant has a stem that is between 2 and 3 m high. Some other tropical and subtropical maize varieties can reach 6 to 7 m in height. Each maize stem may have around 14 internodes, and 8 to 48 leaves. It is possible for side shoots to develop from maize plants. When the maize plant produces more side shoots than dent and small-seeded flint maize plants, it is considered to be a bushy plant. A tree’s root system is comprised of feathery roots that extend throughout the soil’s topsoil. The roots of the tree endure throughout the tree’s life. Nutrients and drainage characteristics play a role in the extent that roots penetrate. The root system may penetrate up to 2.5 metres in dry soil, but is only shallow in wet soil.
The plant produces flowers in spikelets that are the same as those of all other grasses, and they are of two kinds: the male and the female. The male inflorescence, or tassel, is located on the main axis. The leafs at the top of the plant are distinguished from the husks of female ear or cob covers covering the spikelets. The blades of the lateral branch are distinguished in structure with well-developed blades.
The soil type and structure decide the number of nutrients to be supplied to the farm. An integrated nutrient management strategy is used to fertilize maize crops. One hectare of land may probably require 10 tonnes of FYM (supplied 10-15 days before sowing), 150-180 kgs of nitrogen, 70-80 kgs of P₂O₅, 70-80 kgs of K₂O and 25 kgs of ZnSO₄ for generating higher economic yield from the farm. Nitrogen fertilizer is supplied to the farms in 5 split doses during different stages of plant development such as basal or sowing stage (20%), V₄ or four-leaf stage (25%), V₈ or eight leaf stage (30%), tasseling stage (20%) and grain filling stage (5%). It is important to note that nitrogen deficiency can cause a 10-30% reduction in crop yield. A full dose of all the above-mentioned fertilizers should be applied as a basal dose in bands along the seedbeds.
Soil and climatic requirements
The depth of the soil for maize cultivation should be effective, good internal drainage, and favourable morphological characteristics. Clay-loam soils with a sand content of less than 10% or over 30% are not acceptable for maize cultivation. Salinity stress is not acceptable for the plants and also the farm of maize cultivation. Maize is considered a warm-weather crop and is not suitable for cultivation in areas with a mean temperature of less than 19˚C. During germination, the seed needs a temperature of 16 to 18˚C and for proper growth, the plant needs an optimum temperature of around 32˚C.
It is advisable to treat maize seeds with fungicides and insecticides before planting in order to safeguard them against various diseases. The seeds may be planted directly in the main fields or they can be raised in nurseries and then transplanted into the main area after a month or two. It is important not to plant small seeds too deeply into the soil (maximum 5 cm).
Harvesting and yield of Maize crop
The mechanical harvesting method is commonly used by maize cultivators because the entire plant is cut and put into stacks while they are still green. Dry ears can be picked after the stacks have completely dried under the sun. While harvesting the optimum moisture content in the grain is expected to be 20%. The best time for harvest is from mid-September to October. The indication of maturity in the crop is noticed by the change in colour of the green cob cover into white. The average estimated yield of maize from one hectare of land is around 2500-3000 kgs.