Maize Cultivation

Maize is a popular kharif fodder in Pakistan and finds much use as fodder for livestock and poultry. The crop can be harvested in 60 – 65 days and it can be grown in most parts of the country. The green stalk has high carbohydrate contents so it is an enchanting feed for poultry. Hybrid seed should not be used for fodder purposes because they have less foliage, and short stature with less nutrition.

VARIETIES

Neelum, Akbar, Sargodha 2002 and Sultan. Sargodha 2002 is a new promising variety. It can remain green in the field for longer duration of time and the production can also be increased to 50 mand per acre with an average yield of around 600 mands per acre.

MAIZE FERTILIZER

Official fertilizer use figures for maize are not specifically recorded by the agricultural statistics services. However, extensive farm level surveys conducted by PARC/CIMMYT in various districts of NWFP and in the central Punjab reveal that approximately 66% of all maize growers now use chemical nitrogen fertilizer (70 kg N/ha) and about 25% use phosphorus (18 kg P/ha).

PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT

Approximately 65% of the maize in Pakistan has access to irrigation; the remainder is farmed under strictly rained condition. Eighty four percent of the maize production in Pakistan is concentrated in two principal geographic cluster: 11 districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Northern Punjab and 9 districts in the central Punjab.

Maize in Pakistan is cultivated as a multipurpose food and forage crop, generally by resource poor farmers using marginal land, few purchased inputs, with significant portions of harvest distant for home/farm consumption.

MAIZE UTILIZATION

It is estimated that almost 40-50% of the Pakistan maize is consumed on farm, 15-20% is marketed locally and 40% sold in the organized wholesale market.

SOIL REQUIREMENTS AND PREPARATION

The fodder grows well in well irrigated loams and gives low yields in areas with high rainfall. The soil can be prepared by ploughing 4 times followed by planking each time.

TIME OF SOWING

March – September

Good crop stand is possible when sown in early March and July or else the yield will be reduced.

FERTILIZER REQUIREMENTS

At sowing: 1 bag of DAP + 1/2 bag of potash
When crop is 1.5 – 2ft tall: 1/2 to 1 bag of urea
Leaf littre can be added 1 month before seedbed preparation and mixed well by ploughing.

SEED RATE

40 – 50 kg/acre healthy seed is used for fodder purposes.
10 – 12 kg/acre healthy seed is used for seed purposes.
To get thinner plant seed rate can be increased. It has been noticed that fodder with thin stem is more popular in the market.

METHOD OF SOWING

Usually seed is broadcasted. But to get better crop yield the seed can be sown with row to row distance of 1 foot by a seed drill.
For seed purposes, row to row distance should be 2 to 2.5 ft. The seed should be sown in wattar condition to get better crop yield.

INSECT PEST AND DISEASE

a. STEM BORER

Immediately after emergence, maize crop faces a serious threat of shoot fly and stem borer attack. Stem borer bores into the stem and makes a hole in the stem. Maize stem borer is a single major insect problem which will reduce the average and yield by about 10-30% under normal conditions. The loss may reach as high as 50% if the crop is planted earlier and environment is favorable. Furadon powder should be dropped into the shoots or broadcast at the rate of 20 kg ha-1 followed by irrigation. This practice should be repeated twice at 1 – 2 week interval. A considerable success has been achieved and germplasm MBR-25 has been identified through series of observation under natural and artificial stresses. The new material has shown a considerable tolerance for the maize stem borer.

b. STALK ROT DISEASE AND LEAF BLIGHT DISEASE

Maize stalk rot disease is a serious problem causing economic losses to maize crop. The continuous selection and introgression (hybridization) of tropical brood (reduction in the temperature) in the improved major varieties have proved extremely helpful. With these research efforts the presently all of the improved varieties can be grown without occurring any economic damage by the stalk of disease which has been eliminated to a level of non-significant existence.

Similarly selection and breeding for leaf blight tolerance is a regular feature of research activities.Leaf color changes and leaf start drying farmers can easily core leaf blight by sowing of the above mentioned maize verities.

IRRIGATION REQUIREMENTS

First irrigation should be done after 3 weeks of sowing. Later, irrigate the field according to the crop requirements. It should be kept in mind that no water remains in field or else plants will die.
Maize is drought sensitive crop and requires frequent irrigations for successful vegetative and reproductive growth. An irrigation within 10-15 days interval results in good growth. Drought will restrict many physiological processes leading to reduced yields.

HARVEST AND YIELDS

The fodder crop should be harvest when 50% of the flowers are apparent. The crop is ready to harvest in 55 – 65 days. Yield depends upon the variety used like mentioned earlier if good variety is used and all the cultural practices have been done properly yields upto 500 mands per acre can be obtained.

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