MODERN AGRONOMIC PRACTICE OF MAIZE
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH MANAGEMENT
HYDERABAD, AP, 500407
MAIZE (Zea mays.L)
Maize is one of the important cereal crops in the world's agricultural economy both as
food for men and feed for animals, because of its higher yield potential compared to other cereal
it is called as “Queen of Cereals”.
Classification: Classification is largely based on the character of the kernels. Classified into
1. Flint Corn: Zea mays indurata : Starchy endosperm enclosed with hard hammy
endosperm. Kernel size is large with flat bottom and round at the top. High proportion of
starch. Colour may be white or yellow. This is the type mostly grown in India.
2. Dent Corn: Z. mays indentata Because of formation of dent on the top of kernal having
white or yellow. Maize kernels have both soft and hard starches. The hard starch extends
on the sides and the soft starch is in the centre and extends to the top of the kernels.
Depression or dent in the crown on the seed is the result of drying and shrinkage of soft
starch. This type is widely grown in USA.
3. Pop Corn: Z. mays averta Kernel size is small. Presence of hard and corneous
4. Sweet Corn: Z. mays saccharata The sugar and starch make the major component of the
endosperm that results in sweet taste of kernels. It is mainly grown in Northern half of
USA. The cobs are picked up green for canning and table purpose.
5. Flour Corn: Z. mays amylaceae It resembles to the flint corn in appearance and ear
characteristics. The grains are composed of soft starch and have little or no dent are
called as “Soft Corn”. It is widely grown in USA and South Africa.
6. Pod Corn: Z. mays tunicata each kernel is enclosed in a pod or husk in an ear, which
enclosed in husks, like other types of corn.
7. Waxy Corn: Z. mays cerabina The kernel looks to have waxy appearance and gummy
starch in them, because of amylopectin. Starch is similar to that of Tapioca starch for
making adhesive for articles.
Origin: - Mexico and Central America.
CIMMYT: - Centro International de Mejorimiento de Maizy Trigo (International Centre for the
improvement of Maize and Wheat) situated in Mexico.
Economic Importance and their uses
Most important cereal crops in the worlds’ agricultural economy. 85% is consumed as
Several food dishes viz Chapathi are prepared from maize flour.
Green cobs are roasted and eaten by the people.
Popcorn is used for popped form; green cob for table purpose.
Corn has low fibre content, more carbohydrate and most palatable.
Widely used in preparation of cattle feed and poultry feed.
It can be used as green fodder It has no HCN content.
Can be preserved as silage.
Food product: Corn meal, Corn flakes.
Industrial product : Alcohol, Corn Starch (Dextrose), Glucose, Corn oil , corn syrup
Used in canning Industry, production of polymer, making paper,
Paper boards, bread etc.
Maize grain contains
Protein - 10% Carbohydrats - 70%
Oil - 4% Albuminoides - 10.4%
Crude ibre - 2.3%
Maize protein “Zein” is deficient in two essential amino acids viz., Lysine and
Tryptophane. Maize grain has significant quantity of vitamin A, nicotinic acid, riboflavin and
vitamin E. Maize is low in Calcium, but fairly high in ‘P’.
Area and Production
Area: 130 m.ha. Production: 580 m.t.
Maize growing Countries
USA > China > Brazil > Mexico > India.
USA ranks first in area, production and productivity.
India: India occupies 5th place in area and 11th place in production.
Area: 6.25 m.ha (1996 – 97) Production : 10.61 m.t
Average Productivity : 1698 kg/ha.
Area : U.P. > Rajasthan > M.P. > Karnataka > Bihar.
Production : U.P. > Bihar > Karnataka. Karnataka recorded the highest average
yield of 3379 kg/ha.
Tamil Nadu : (1997 – 1998)
Area : 81,800 ha
Production : 1,32,900 tonnes
Productivity : 1625 kg/ha.
Mainly cultivated in Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Madurai, Trichy, Thanjavur, Pudukottai
districts. Rainfed Condition : Southern districts, Dindigul areas.
? It is essentially a tropical crop.
? It is a C4 short day plant.
? Though it is a tropical crop, it has got high adaptability to wider climate. 55? N to 45? S . It
can be grown up to 2500 m above MSL.
? This crop is not suitable when night temperature drops below 15.6? C.
? Maize requires moist and warm weather from germination to flowering.
Most suitable temperature for germination is 21?C and for growth is 32? C.
? Extremely high temperature and low RH at flowering desiccate the pollen resulting in poor
pollen grain formation.
? Temperature more than 35
? C reduce the pollen germination. Temperature < 15? C delays silking and tasseling.
? Rainfall of 500 to 750 mm of well distributed rain is continue to proper growth.
Soil: Maize is best adapted to well drained sandy loam to silt loam soil. Water stagnation is
extremely harmful to the crop, therefore proper drainage is must. Maize can not thrive on heavy
soil especially on low lands. pH ranges from 5.5 to 7.5. The alluvial soils of UP, Bihar and
Punjab are very suitable for growing maize crop. Salinity and water logging are harmful at
seeding stage. Continuous water logging 3 days reduce the yield by 40 to 45%.
Growth stages of Maize :
1. Seedling stage : 1-14 days from sprouting to 2 to 4 leaves.
2. Vegetative phase : 15-39 days. (30-35 days is knee high stage)
3 Flowering phase : (40-65 days).
4. Maturity stage : 66-95 days. Includes soft and hard dough stage.
5. Ripening : 96-105 days.
Varieties recommended for cultivation : All India Co-ordinated Maize Improvement Project
was started in 1957 in collaboration with Rockefeller foundation..
Hybrids : 100 to 105 days. Deccan, Ganga Safed, Ganga-4, Ganga-5, Ganga-7,9, Histarch,
Sangam, In Tamil Nadu, CoH1, CoH2 and CoH3 Hybrids, 5.5 to 6.0 t/ha.
Promising Composites : 100 to 105 days. Amber, Vijay, Kisan, Sona, Vikram, Jawahar. 5.0 to
5.5 t/ha. Shortest duration composite : K1(80 to 85 days
Co1 (105 days)
1. Maize – Potato
2. Maize – Berseem
3. Maize – Chickpea/Safflower (Rainfed)
4. Maize – Potato – Wheat
Maize + Greengram Groundnut
Maize + Soybean Cowpea
Maize + Redgram
In North India Short duration Maize, Kathri and Sathi (65 to 75 days) grown as intercrop in
sugrcane in UP.
Time of sowing: In India, it is grown in 3 seasons.
1. Kharif – June – July (85% of rainfed area)
2. Rabi – Peninsular India and Bihar. Oct – November
3. Spring : North India. Jan – Feb. Irrigated condiiton.
Yield of maize is more during Rabi and Spring season.
System of Maize cultivation
1) Rainfed (78% area) 2) Irrigated (22% area)
MANAGEMENT PRACTICE FOR IRRIGATED MAIZE
Field preparation: The crop does not require fine tilth. Field is ploughed to a depth of 25 to
30cm using mould board plough, followed by 3 or 4 ploughing with desi plough or harrow. In
clay soils main problem is the formation of hard pan. Chiseling reduces the hard pan formation
and there is increase in yield of 25 to 30%.
Varieties and hybrids recommended for Tamil Nadu
: Composite, 105-110 days, suited for Coimbatore, Periyar, Pudukottai and
Yield : Irrigated : 4 t/ha. Rainfed : 3 t/ha.
K1 : Composite, 80-85 days. Highly tolerant to drought, suited for Pudukottai district.
Hybrids (Irrigated) : 4 t/ha, Rainfed 3 t/ha.
COH1: Hybrid, 90-95 days, suited for all locations. drought tolerant and resisitant
: Irrigated: 5 t/ha. Rainfed : 3.7 t/ha.
COH2: 100 to105 days. Best suited for all locations. Resistant to downy mildew.
Yield : Irrigated : 5.4 t/ha. Rainfed : 3.5 t/ha.
COH3 : 90 to 95 days. Irrigated:6.0t/ha, Rainfed: 4.3 t/h.
COBC1 : For dessert and canning, 55 to 65 days. All areas of Tamil Nadu, Yield : 6 to7 t/ha,
Green fodder : 32 t/ha. (Multiple cobs 2-3)
[ 7pickings at interval of 2 days].
Land shaping : Among the different land shaping methods, ridges and furrow system is more
effective. Because water logging is less in this system.
Method of sowing : Mostly direct seeding, sowing/dibbling behind country plough is adopted.
Transplanting is adopted in problem areas like Dharmapuri and Pudukottai, where red
ferrugenious and laterite soils exist. Studies reveal that 5 days old seedling increased the grain
yield by 11 to 14% during kharif and summer season over direct seeding.
Pai Nursery technique is advocated. Raised bed is formed and above the seed bed spread
compost and sand at 1:1 ratio and dibble the seeds. Cover it, sprinkle the water for 3 to 4 days.
Pull out the seedling on 5th day. There will be 100% germination.
fungicide followed by Azospirillum (3
Seed treatment with pockets)
Seed rate :
Composite : 20 kg/ha, Hybrids : 5 kg/ha
Spacing : 60x20cm. 83,333 plants/ha. For maximum yield : 1.1 l/ha with (60x15cm).
Fertilizer management : Among the cereals, it is the heavy feeder. If there is no soil test
recommendation, blanket recommendation of NPK at 135:62.5:50 kg/ha is recommended for
irrigated maize, besides application of 12.5 t of FYM/ha.
Method of application : Apply fertilizer 5cm below the soil and 10cm away from the root zone.
Time of application of fertilizers : 100% P and K should be applied as basal. ‘N’ should be
applied in 3 splits. Why ?.
In all the cereal crops, there 2 peak stages of uptake, where as in Maize, there are 3
stages of uptake.
Ist peak 30-35 days. (Knee high stage)
IInd peak 50-60 days ( Tasselling)
IIIrd peak 70-80 days ( dough stage).
Hence ‘N’ should be applied in 3 splits. ? basal, ? at 25th day, ? rd at 45th day.
Bio fertilizers : Seed treatment with 3 pockets of Azospirillum followed by soil application of
Azospirillum @10 pockets (2 kg/ha) with FYM at 50 kg/ha,
For transplanted crop ‘N’ should be applied 50% basal and 25% at knee high stage and 25%
at taselling stage.
ZnSo4 : Apply ZnSo4 at 25 kg/ha at the time of sowing. If not possible to apply at basal, foliar
spray of 0.5% ZnSo 4 at critical stages is recommended.‘Zn’ deficiency cause “White bud” in
For getting maximum yield: For irrigated crop adopt 1.1 lakh plants (60 x 15cm) with
200:100:80 kg NPK /ha (N and K application in 3 splits) + 25kg ZnSo4/ha.
? Requires 500 to 600 mm of water.
? Based on IW/CPE ratio, irrigating at 0.8 IW/CPE ratio recorded higher yield. Under
intercropping situation, 0.6 IW/CPE ratio is optimum.
? Critical stages for irrigation are taselling and silking. Peak consumption of water also
occurs during this period (taselling and silking).
? Water shortage for 2 days in this stage, reduce the yield by 20%.
Number irrigation required :Clay/clay loam : 8 irrigations
Light soil irrigations
Irrigation for germination
: 1 (Irrigation after sowing)
2 (Life irrigation 4th day)
Vegetative phase: 1st irrigation on 12th day
2nd irrigation on 25th day
3rd irrigation on 36th day.
Flowering phase : 1st irrigation on 48th day
2nd irrigation on 60th day
Maturity phase 1 irrigation on 72nd day
For light soil two more irrigations are
W Maize crop should be kept weed free condition up to 45 days.
? Among the herbicides, pre emergence herbicide, Simazine and atrazine are more selective.
? Hence integrated weed management of pre-emergence application of atrazine 0.25 kg/ha
followed by one hand hoeing and weeding on 30 to 35 DAS is effective and economical
compared to two hoeings and weedings (Conventional methods).
? For intercropping systems, atrazine should not be used.
? For maize + pulse intercropping system, pre-emergence application of pendimethalin 1.0 kg
ai/ha followed by one hand weeding on 30 to 35 DAS.
? Spraying should be done within 3 days
? There should be adequate soil moisture
? Should not disturb the soil immediately after application
? Use high volume sprayer fitted with deflected type or flat fan nozzle can be used.
? If pre-emergence herbicides is not applied, post emergence application, 2,4 D Na salt
(Fernoxone 80 WP) at 1.0 kg/ha on 2 or 3rd leaf stage for sole maize, should not use when
intercropped with legumes.
? For maize + soybean/pulse intercropping system, pre-emergence application of alachlor
2.0 kg ai/ha (Lasso 50% EC) + one hand weeding.
Chemical name Trade Name ai/ha l
Atrazine Atratop 50%WP 0.25 kg/ha 500 g/ha
Pendemethalin Stomp 30% EC 1.0 kg ai/ha 3.3 l/ha
2.4D Na salt Fernoxone 80% WP 1.0 kg ai/ha 1.25 kg/ha.
Thinning and gap filling : Leave one healthy seeding per hill and remove others on 7th or 8th
day of sowing. Where seedings are not germinated, dibble 2 seeds per hill and immediately pot
water it. The crop should be earthed up after application fertilizer at 30 to 35 DAS to prevent
Harvesting and grain shelling : The grain cob is harvested when cob sheath turns brownish,
grains become hard and they do not contains more then 20% moisture and they are piled up for
24 hours and then dried in the sun for 5 or 6 days to reduce the moisture to 10 to 12%.