Guide: Maize Farming

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Guide: Maize Farming

Farmers get benefited by this article, in this article farmers can find complete information on Maize farming. How to prepare soil? What is the best time of sowing? Details about tillage and crop establishment, water management & how to protect your Corp from insects & diseases? In the end, you can view & download PDF on Maize technology in India.

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Introduction to Maize

Maize (Zea mays L) is one of the most versatile emerging crops, having wider adaptability under varied agro-climatic conditions. Globally, maize is known as queen of cereals because it has the highest genetic yield potential among the cereals. It is cultivated on nearly 150 m ha in about 160 countries having wider diversity of soil, climate, biodiversity and management practices that contributes 36 % (782 m t) in the global grain production. The United States of America (USA) is the largest producer of maize contributes nearly 35 % of the total production in the world and maize is the driver of the US economy. The USA has the highest productivity (> 9.6 t ha-1) which is double than the global average (4.92 t ha-1). Whereas, the average productivity in India is 2.43 t ha-1.

In India, maize is the third most important food crops after rice and wheat. According to advance estimate it is cultivated in 8.7 m ha (2010-11) mainly during Kharif season which covers 80% area. Maize in India, contributes nearly 9 % in the national food basket and more than Rs. 100 billion to the agricultural GDP at current prices apart from the generating employment to over 100 million man-days at the farm and downstream agricultural and industrial sectors. In addition to staple food for human being and quality feed for animals, maize serves as a basic raw material as an ingredient to thousands of industrial products that includes starch, oil, protein, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, film, textile, gum, package and paper industries etc


Maize can be grown successfully in a variety of soils, ranging from loamy sand to clay loam. However, soils with good organic matter content having high water holding capacity with neutral pH are considered good for higher productivity. Being a sensitive crop to moisture stress, particularly excess soil moisture and salinity stresses, it is desirable to avoid low-lying fields having poor drainage and also the field having higher salinity. Therefore, the fields having provision of proper drainage should be selected for cultivation of maize.

Time of sowing for Maize crop

Maize can be grown in all seasons viz; Kharif (monsoon), post monsoon, Rabi (winter) and spring. During Rabi and spring seasons to achieve higher yield at farmer’s field, assured irrigation facilities are required. During Kharif season, it is desirable to complete the sowing operation 12-15 days before the onset of monsoon. However, in rainfed areas, the sowing time should be coincided with onset of monsoon. The optimum time of sowing are given below.

SeasonOptimum time of sowing
KharifLast week of June to first fortnight July
RabiLast week of October for intercropping and up to 15th of November for sole crop
SpringFirst week of February
Ref: Directorate of Maize Research (Indian Council of Agricultural Research)

Tillage preparation of soil and maize crop establishment

Tillage and crop establishment is the key for achieving the optimum plant stand that is the main driver of the crop yield. Though the crop establishment is a series of events (seeding, germination, emergence and final establishment) that depends on interactions of seed, seedling depth, soil moisture, method of sowing, machinery etc. but, the method of planting plays a vital role for better establishment of crop under a set of growing situation. Maize is mainly sown directly through seed by using different methods of tillage & establishment but during winters where fields are not remain vacant in time (till November), transplanting can be done successfully by raising the nursery. However, the sowing method (establishment) mainly depends on several factors’ viz the complex interaction over time of seeding, soil, climate, biotic, machinery and management season, cropping system, etc. Different sowing methods for achieving higher yield as described below:

(i) Raised bed (ridge) planting:

Generally, the raised bed planting is considered as best planting method for maize during monsoon and winter seasons, both under excess moisture and limited water availability/rain fed conditions.

(ii) Zero-till planting:

Maize can be successfully grown without any primary tillage under no-till situation with less cost of cultivation, higher farm profitability and better resource use efficiency. Under such condition one should ensure good soil moisture at sowing and seed and fertilizers should be placed in band using zero-till seed-cum-fertilizer planter with furrow opener as per the soil texture and field conditions.

(iii) Conventional till flat planting:

Under heavy weed infestation where chemical/herbicidal weed management is uneconomical in no-till and also for rain fed areas where survival of crop depends on conserved soil moisture, in such situations flat planting can be done using seed-cum-fertilizer planters.

(iv) Furrow planting:

To prevent evaporative losses of water during spring season from the soil under flat as well as raised bed planting is higher and hence crop suffers due to moisture stress. Under such situation/condition, it is always advisable to grow maize in furrows for proper growth, seed setting and higher productivity.

(v) Transplanting:

Under intensive cropping systems where it is not possible to vacate the field on time for planting of winter maize, the chances of delayed planting exists and due to delay of planting crop establishment is a problem due to low temperature so under such conditions transplanting is an alternative and well established technique for winter maize.

Water management for maize farming

The irrigation water management depends on season, as about 80 % of maize is cultivated during monsoon season, particularly under rain fed conditions. However, in areas with assured irrigation facilities are available, depending upon the rains and moisture holding capacity of the soil, irrigation should be applied as and when required by the crop and first irrigation should be applied very carefully wherein water should not overflow on the ridges/beds.

Insects/pests in Maize corp

i. Stem Borer (Chilo partellus)

The major pest of maize in India is Stalk borer. Chilo partellus, popularly known as stalk borer that occurs during monsoon season, is a major pest throughout the country. Chilo lays eggs 10-25 days after germination on the lower side of the leaves. The larva of the Chilo enters the whorl and cause damage in the leaves

Maize pest Stem-Borer-Chilo-partellus

ii. Pink Borer (Sesamia inference)

Maize pest Pink Borer Sesamia inference

The major pest of maize in India is Stalk borer. Chilo partellus, popularly known as stalk borer that occurs during monsoon season, is a major pest throughout the country. Chilo lays eggs 10-25 days after germination on the lower side of the leaves. The larva of the Chilo enters the whorl and cause damage in the leaves

Control of Chilo and Sesamia:

For control of Chilo and Sesamia, foliar spray of 0.1 % Endosulfan {700 ml (35 EC) in 250 litre water} 10 days after germination is very effective. The Chilo can also be controlled by release of 8 Trichocards (Trichogramma chilonis) per hectare at 10 days after germination. Intercropping of maize with suitable varieties of cowpea is an eco-friendly option for reducing the incidence of Chilo on maize.

iii. Shoot fly (Atherigona sp.)

In South India it is a serious pest, but it also appears on spring and summer maize crop in North India. It attacks mainly at seedling stage of the crop. The tiny maggots creep down under the leaf sheaths till they reach the base of the seedlings. After this, they cut the growing point or central shoot, which results in the dead heart formation.

Maize pest Shoot fly
Control of Shootfly:
  • Sowing must be completed before the first week of February so that the crop will escape shootfly infestation.
  • Spring sowing must be accompanied by seed treatment with Imidacloprid @ 6ml/kg seed.

iv. Termites (Odontotermes obesus)

Termite is also an important pest in many areas. For control of termite, fepronil granules should be applied @ 20 kg ha-1 followed by light irrigation. If the termite incidence is in patches, then spot application of fepronil @ 2-3 granuled/plant should be done. Clean cultivation delays termite attack

v. Other pests:

Recently some other non-traditional pests are also causing damage to maize crop viz. larvae of American Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) which causes damage to cob in Southern part of India while the Chaffer beetle (Chiloloba acuta) feeds on maize pollen which adversely affects pollination in northern part of India.

Across the country several diseases occurs during different seasons, if they are not managed at proper time than they lead to yield loss. Estimated losses due to major diseases of maize in India is about 13.2% of which foliar diseases (5 %), stalk rots, root rots, ear rots (5 %) cause major yield losses.

Other than grain, maize is also cultivated for various purposes like quality protein maize and other special purposes known as ‘Specialty Corn’. The various specialty corn types are quality protein maize (QPM), baby corn, sweet corn, pop corn, waxy corn, high oil corn etc. In India, QPM, baby corn and sweet corn are being popularized and cultivated by the large number of farmers.

If you’re a maize farmer, and you want good price for your corp, then contact us for selling you corp to international buyers. But only contact if your farm produce is of world-class quality and during farming, minimal / no chemicals and pesticides were used, as we only sell quality goods that are free from pests and diseases.


C.M. Parihar, S. L. Jat, A.K. Singh, R. Sai Kumar, K.S. Hooda,

Chikkappa G.K. and D.K. Singh. Maize Production

Technologies in India. DMR Technical Bulletin2011/—.

Directorate of Maize Research, Pusa Campus, New Delhi-110012

Pp 30.

Maize farming PDF

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