CULTIVATION OF MAIZE(ZEA MAYS)

cultivation of MAIZE (Zea mays) Maize: also called corn, is a member of the grass family (Gramineae).

It is a cereal crop which produces grains that can be used as food by human beings as well as livestock(read livestock management here). The seed/fruit of maize is a caryopsis, i.e., it has its epicarp fused with the mesocarp.

Land Preparation for the cultivation of maize
This is done by clearing the land or bush with cutlass, making ridges or heaps manually with hoe, or mechanically by ploughing, harrowing and ridging.

maize Varieties/Cultivars:

during the cultivation of maize, the following varieties are used. These include dent maize, flint corn, flour corn, popcorn, sweet corn and pod corn.

Climatic and soil requirements for the cultivation of maize


Maize requires a temperature of 26°C – 300C, rainfall of between 75cm – 1 5ocmper annum and a well-drained sandy loamy soil ofpH6-7.

certain soil conditions are more favourable for its growth and productivity. Here are the best soil requirements for maize cultivation:

Soil Type: Maize prefers well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. Sandy loam or loam soils are considered ideal for maize cultivation due to their good drainage and moisture retention properties.

Soil pH: The optimal pH range for maize is between 5.8 and 7.0. It can tolerate slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil, but pH values close to neutral (around 6.5) are generally preferred.

Soil pH affects nutrient availability, so it\’s important to maintain the appropriate range for optimal growth.

Soil Texture: Maize performs well in soils with medium to fine textures. Sandy soils have low water and nutrient retention capacities, so they may require more frequent irrigation and nutrient supplementation.

Clay soils, on the other hand, can be heavy and poorly drained, leading to waterlogging.

Amending clay soils with organic matter or employing proper drainage techniques can help improve their suitability for maize cultivation.

Organic Matter: Maize benefits from soils with good organic matter content. Organic matter enhances soil fertility, improves soil structure, and increases nutrient-holding capacity.

Adding organic matter through compost or well-rotted manure can enhance the soil\’s productivity and moisture-retaining capabilities.

Nutrient Levels: Maize has relatively high nutrient requirements, especially for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Conduct a soil test before planting to assess nutrient levels and apply appropriate fertilizers to meet the crop\’s nutritional needs. Adequate nutrient availability is crucial for healthy plant growth, yield, and grain quality.

Drainage: Proper soil drainage is essential for maize cultivation. Excessive waterlogged conditions can lead to root rot and adversely affect plant health.

Implementing proper drainage systems or selecting well-drained fields is important to prevent waterlogging.

Soil Compaction: Avoid planting maize in compacted soils as it restricts root growth and reduces nutrient and water uptake. Compaction can be mitigated by using appropriate tillage practices and avoiding heavy machinery on wet soils.

Method of maize propagation

Maize is propagated by seeds. The maize seeds can be planted manually by stick or cutlass, or mechanically by planter. which is a mechanized way for the cultivation maize

Planting date for maize

Early maize is planted between Marc and b/April and late maize is in July/August. Maize (early or late) is also planted depending on location and rainfall.

maize Seed rate for planting:

The quantity of seeds required to plant one hectare of land is 25kg- 30 kg/hectare; two to three seeds are also recommended per hole. The quantity of seeds used usually depends on spacing or plant population desired.

Spacing: 90cm x 30cm at one seed per hole or 75cm x 25cm at two seeds per hole for the cultivation of MAIZE

Planting: Planting can be done manually, using cutlass or mechanically by planters at two to three sees per hole at 2 – 4cm deep. Germination occurs four to seven days later.

Cultural Practices in the cultivation of maize

(a) Supplying: Replanting of seeds to replace those seeds that did not germinate.
(b) Thinning: Removal of weak plants from a stand to give rise to one or two vigorous crop plants.
(c) Fertilizer Application: Apply N.P.K 15:15:15 (200kg/Ha) (four bags) at planting.

probably at the beginning or planting during maize cultivation, Also apply 250 kg (five bags) or 150kg (three bags) of urea per hectare, five to six weeks after planting.

Farmyard manure, poultry droppings/organic manure can also be applied as a side dressing or by the broadcast method in the cultivation of MAIZE

(d) Weeding: This is done three to four times at regular intervals. Weeding can be done manually by hoeing, cutlass, etc: or chemically with the use of specified herbicides; or mechanically with the machine.

Control of pests and disease: This is done anytime at regular intervals or prevent it completely, using appropriate chemicals for the cultivation of MAIZE

The maturity period for maize:

This takes up to two to three months (60-90 days) for wet maize, and three to four months (90 – 120 days) for dry maize after planting.

Harvesting: Maize can be harvested by hand, sickle or corn picker by combined harvester. Maize matures 90-120 days after planting. It is harvested either green or dry.

It is mostly harvested green for consumption when the silk dries and turns brown. Maize is harvested by plucking the cobs on a small scale and by machine.

Uses and Processing of Maize: Maize can be eaten either boiled or roasted or processed into corn flour, corn flakes or used for corn meal, beer, baking flour and livestock feed.

Storage of maize
Dried maize cobs can be stored either in cribs, rhumbus or in a fireplace, on a small scale or in silos, on a large scale.

PROCESS OF HARVESTING MAIZE

Harvesting maize, also known as corn, involves several steps. Here\’s a general overview of the process:

Timing: Maize is typically ready for harvesting when the kernels are mature and dry. This stage is known as physiological maturity, and it occurs when the husks have turned brown and dry, and the kernels have hardened.

Equipment: To harvest maize efficiently, you\’ll need some equipment such as a combine harvester, tractor, wagons or trailers, and storage bins or silos.

Preparation: Before harvesting, it\’s important to make sure the equipment is in good working condition.

Check the combine harvester\’s settings and adjust them accordingly for maize harvesting. Ensure that the wagons or trailers are clean and ready for transportation.

Field Preparation: Clear the area around the field\’s perimeter to provide ample space for manoeuvring the equipment. This step helps prevent damage to the crop and facilitates efficient harvesting.

Harvesting: during the cultivation of maize, The combine harvester is the primary machine used for maize harvesting.

It cuts the stalks, separates the grain from the plant, and collects the maize kernels.

The combine harvester\’s header, or cutting platform, is adjusted to the appropriate height to ensure a clean cut just below the ear (cob).

The stalks are then pulled into the machine, where the kernels are stripped from the cob, and the remaining plant material is processed and expelled as residue.

Collection and Transportation: The harvested maize kernels are usually directed into a grain tank or hopper on the combine harvester.

Once the tank is full, the maize is unloaded into wagons or trailers for transportation.

These vehicles are driven alongside the harvester as it continues its work. When a wagon or trailer is full, it is driven to a designated storage area.

Storage: After transportation, the maize kernels are stored in bins, silos, or other appropriate storage facilities.

These storage structures should provide protection against pests, moisture, and other factors that can cause spoilage.

Post-Harvest Handling: Once the maize is harvested and stored, further processing may be required, such as drying the kernels to reduce moisture content, shelling to remove the kernels from the cob, and cleaning to remove any impurities or foreign matter.

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