July1 , 2022

WHAT TO DO TO BOOST YOUR MAIZE PRODUCTION

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WHAT TO DO TO BOOST YOUR MAIZE PRODUCTION

1. Weed control

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It’s no brainer that weeds often compete with crops for nutrients, sunlight, water etc. Good weed control in maize production is a prerequisite for high yields. This is one of the sure ways of cultivation to reach its full potential in the field. In many parts of the Nigerian savannah, striga is a notorious weed that pose a major threat to maize farming. Apply manual and chemical control methods to manage weeds on your maize farm. It is recommended to do two manual weeding at 2 weeks and 4-5 weeks after sowing. Good soils can increase the effectiveness of herbicides.

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To control weeds with Primextra Gold, apply 250-300 ml for 15 litre sprayer and spray farmland immediately after planting or a day after.To control weeds with Glyphosate, apply 350 ml for 15 litre sprayer before land preparation.

To control weeds with Atrazine, apply 2.5-3 kg of powdered atrazine (i.e 400-500 ml for 15 litre sprayer) immediately after planting or the following day after planting. Dissolve atrazine powder in clean water before use at the rate of 1 kg in 1 liter of clean water. Do not apply atrazine if you intend to intercrop the maize crop with legume crops (cowpea, groundnut and soybean).

2. Land preparation

Many are not aware that maize yields are not affected by zero tillage. However, a well prepared ridges should be made as soon as the rains start. To increase maize production, maize should be cultivated on a well-drained, deep friable soil with ridges of 75 cm apart.

Read also: Secrets to successful and profitable maize farming business

3. Required Temperatures

Maize crop needs above 19°C and the average night temperature should also be above 14°C during the growing season. During germination, the ideal temperature seems to be around 18°C.

4. Time of Planting

The weather is almost unpredictable but maize seed should be planted as soon as the rains become steady. Before, It was around March/April in the rainforest areas, and month of May in the southern guinea savanna areas. Now, with irrigation facility, you can plant anytime of the year.

5. Seed rate and planting

There are two major ways to plant and space you maize seeds; i) you can plant 2 seeds per stand at 90 x 45 cm to get a population of 48,000 plants per hectare. This is recommended if maize will be intercropped. ii) you can plant 2 seeds per stand at 75× 50 cm. This is recommended for sole cropped maize. For a hectare, about 15-20 kg of maize seeds is required. Some people plant 3 seeds per hole and thin to 2 plants about 14 days after germination.

6. Harvesting

Once it’s about 60-70 days after planting, maize is ready for harvest. Use the appropriate tool or machines to carry out harvesting. But if you planned turning to grains, leave it for about 90 to 110 days after planting. You can also dry in a traditional ventilated granary.

7. Marketing

Maize production level in Nigeria has gone beyond local consumption. The demand for maize and it derivatives in the poultry industry as well as population increase has cause a surge in production. Maize farmers are advised not to sell immediately after harvesting periods as prices are lowest at this periods. Farmers are to sell when demand is high for more profits. There are many buyers from Benin, Republic of Niger, Chad and Nigeria willing to buy. All things been equal, you will likely make lots of profits around August yearly and more in dry season.

Read also: How to make huge profit from maize farming

8. Maize Storage

If you plan to store your maize, ensure you dry to about 10% moisture content. Harvest when reasonably dry and store in an environment that allow cross air movement to continue the drying process. Wherever you plan storing must be clean to prevent pests like weevils. For storage in cribs: Protect maize cobs with Actellic® at the rate of 1 part Actellic® to 5 parts of water, or 20 kg Actellic® (2%) dust/kg cob. In the silo or any other air-tight containers: Dry grains should be protected with Phostoxin™ or Detia™ at the rate of 1 tablet/25kg maize (or 50 kg maize).

CONCLUSION

Maize farming is now cultivated throughout the year because of irrigation system. Ensure your land is properly prepared at the appropriate time to receive viable maize seeds. You are to cultivate recommended varieties for your zone. Use correct spacing when sowing. Apply fertilizer according to soil test result, follow the recommended agronomic practices and use treated seeds from a certified company. Plan for marketing, processing and storage from the beginning to prevent wastage and maximize profit.

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