Maize farming information guide for beginners
This article, maize farming information guide for beginners will be a guide to anyone that wishes to live the life of a millionaire farmer by farming maize especially in Nigeria.
It chronologically gives to the reader the guide and the steps to follow in farming maize in other to meet success no matter the situation, provided you follow the guidelines.
Maize being the type of food loved by many is known by many too to be of much economic importance.
This plant can be grown successfully in all parts of Nigeria, be it in the east, west or south. All you need to do is to do everything right at the right time and you are bound to get a good result.
The right thing to do is to know-know what to do and the right time to do it and you are sure to succeed.
There are some basic knowledge about maize Agri-Business that any interested farmer who wishes to make extra cash from it must have.
One, you must make sure to plant the treated seed and not the one one harvested and stored.
Two, make sure to plant in the right season.
And three, if you are planting it for commercial purposes, you must surely take adequate care of it that you are bound to apply fertilizer, treatment chemicals and stake the cucumber plant.
Then finally, you must make sure that your land is fertile.
Maize, also know as corn in some countries and with botanical name Zea mays, is a member of the grass family Poaceae. It is a cereal grain which was first grown by people in ancient Central America. It is now the third most important cereal crop in the world. However, little of this maize is eaten directly by humans. Most is used to make corn ethanol, animal feed and other maize products, such as corn starch and corn syrup.
Maize farming information guide for beginners; materials and tools for farming maize
Materials; these are all the needed substances that required for your maize farming business. Such as;
4. Treatment chemicals
5. Solid fertilizer/composts/animal droppings
Tools; these are the devices required for your maize farming to aid your task. Such tools are;
1. Knapsack sprayer
Sourcing For Some Materials and Tools
Some if not all of the materials and tools listed above are available in the respective local markets near you. All you need to do is to seek the nearest agro-chemical shop near you and ask for these materials and tools.
Maize farming information guide for beginners; sourcing land for farming
To some people, sourcing for land has been one of their major challenge with regards to starting agro-business in a large scale. But this is because they lacked the information on how to source for land.
Don’t get scared!
Because you don’t need to buy a land or own one before you could run your own agro-business.
You can get land for your maize agro-business through government agencies or from individuals communities that has available land.
Community Rural Lands
Most communities around us has some large expanse of land that are yet developed. These land spaces can be leased out at a very cheap price by the community or the person taking care of the land like the Igwe, Orba, Obidepending on your location. All you need to do is to approach them and talk with them about how many acres of land you need to see if it is available.
This is one of the easy and cheapest ways to obtain land for your maize agro-business. All you need to do is to ask first and see if it shall be given to you.
There are government agencies that offer land lease services to farmers in Nigeria. They have their offices almost around the 36 states in the federation. These agencies include:
1. River Basin Development Authority (RBDA)
2. Ministry of Agriculture
3. Land Settlement Scheme
All you need to do is to find the out about any of these agencies offices around you and then go to them. When you do, they will tell where they have available land for lease.
Acquiring land from these agencies is as easy as ABCD. They feel very happy to see someone that wants to venture into agro-business and are always ready to help you out. But you wouldn’t know until you go close to them. Some of them will even offer to till your land for you with tractor at a very cheap rate.
The leasing price for one acre of land “close to 15 plots” with these agencies is as low as N3000 to N4000 for the period of 8months or so. It is very cheap and affordable.
These Are Some of the Office Locations of These Agencies in Some States
|Agency||Area of operation||Location|
1. Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority
|The whole ofAnambra and Imo state||Owerri|
2. Benin-OwenaRiver Basin Development Authority
|The whole ofBendel andOndo state excluding those parts ofBendel drained by the Benin,escravos,forcados andramos river creek system||Benin|
3. Ogun-OshunRiver Basin Development Authority
|The whole ofoy, ogun andlagos state||Abeokuta|
There are a lot more but since I don’t know your location, it would be better you type the keyword in Google and get the first hand information.
Maize farming information guide for beginners; land preparation
Once you have obtained the ready for your agro-business, the next thing to do is to get the land ready for planting. This can be done using two different approaches viz:
1. Traditional Means
2. Mechanical Means
Traditional means of land preparation
This method is the one used by most farmers in the rural areas which involves clearing, gathering and burning of the bushy part of the land and then making hips or ridges where the crop will be planted.
This approach takes a lot of time and labor and is not recommended for you because you are expected to run your agro-business in a commercial scale. Since you are expected to work on a fairly large farmland, this approach will be energy, time and cash consuming. So it is not advisable to use this means.
Mechanical Means of Land Preparation
This is the recommended approach as it is very easy and fast means to use. If you are lucky enough to get a land that is free from trees and tree roots, you are expected to hire the service of a tractor which will help you till your land.
The tractor will turn the soil very well and this will help the plant in your farm to do well, as the crops planted on tilled soil tends to do better than the ones planted on untilled soil.
If for instance after tilling your land with tractor and you happen to see many grasses that were not well covered with soil in the land, it is advisable that you use herbicide to kill-off these weeds before planting or immediately after planting (0-2days after planting) before germination starts.
Maize farming information guide for beginners; maize planting
Maize planting seasons
All things being equal, maize can be planted anytime of the year. But because of differences in weather condition and non availability of some needed materials in some areas, maize and even other plants cannot be grown in other parts of Nigeria as it is grown in the north.
Planting Seasons in the East, West and South
Well, sometimes in the weather in this areas are not predictable, but it is also known that some periods are characterized by too much rainfall where as some with much sunshine.
Therefore, it is not advisable to plant any crop during any of this period since in one case there will be no sunshine for the plant and in the other there will be no irrigation source.
So, it is best to plant maize in the east, west and south Nigeria when rainfall is approaching and when it is going. During this time both rain and sunshine is moderate in this area.
When rainfall is approaching: this can also be referred as early planting season. This season is between the last weeks of February to the 1stweek of March.
When rainfall is going: this is the late planting period. This period ranges from the mid week of August to the last week of August.
There is no particular date during these periods, you just have to watch the weather to make sure that there is no too much rainfall, and then you can plant your maize.
Planting Season in the North
Maize can be planted anytime in the north since there is always sunshine for the plant and steady and functional irrigation service.
Varieties of maize seed in Nigeria to be planted
There are a lot of varieties of maize seeds that overly thrives well in the type of soil we have here.
The common ones are:
1. IIkeja local
2. Sweet maize
3. Calabar local
4. Ns1, Ns2, Ns3
5. Dent maize
6. Flint maize
Climates and soil requirements
Maize requires a temperature of about 20°C to 30°C with moderate rainfall.
The soil requirements is a well drained loam and silt loam soil.
Maize Planting Spacing
The spacing between two holes of maize plant should be something not less than 60cm by 90cm along and between the row respectively at two seeds per hole.
This in essence is to ensure proper spacing between two maize plants.
Seed per Hole
The depth of the hole should be something like 3-5cm deep and then 2-3seeds per hole in case some do not germinate is recommended.
If two seeds should germinate, it is okay, and if the whole 3 germinates, do not prune because you do not know which would thrive till maturity.
Maize farming information guide for beginners; treatment of maize
This is one of the activities performed by smart and commercial farmers that makes them different from noncommercial farmers.
This is the act of combining treatment chemicals such as foliar fertilizer (liquid fertilizer), pesticides and insecticides, and fungicides with water and spraying or applying it as recommended on the plants leave part. This is to ensure maximum productivity.
Foliar Fertilizer (liquid fertilizer)
This in the layman’s language is called liquid fertilizer as it is mostly watery and like the other fertilizer, its function is to boost growth and give the plant evergreen color making it look fresh always. It is called foliar fertilizer because it is applied on the leaf part of the plant.
Recommended types and application
Some of the common examples of foliar fertilizer are Boost Extra, Plantzyme, Ultra soil, Maxi-Force etc.
The best and recommended type for your maize farm is Boost Extra and Plantzyme as they have given me good result so far.
Application and Measurement of Boost Extra
The first one you should apply to your maize farm is Boost Extra. It is greenish in color. Apply this until your plant starts giving signs of producing flowers.
It is expected that you mix 1cover of Boost Extra (30ml) mixed with water and other treatment chemicals as from 3 weeks after planting and start spraying on the leave part of your maize plant.
The price of boost extra ranges from N1200 to N1600.
Also, Maxi Force can be used in place of boost extra in case you find it in your location.
Application and Measurement of Plantzyme
At the time flowers must have started developing and coming out. It is at this time that you start applying Plantzyme.
This one is in watery form and dark in color.
It should be applied the remaining days till maturity to your maize plants till harvest.
1cover of Plantzyme (20cl) should be mixed with water in a knapsack sprayer with other treatment chemicals and sprayed on the plant.
Plantzyme can be replaced with Super Growthand it is sold for N1200 – N1500.
NOTE: foliar fertilizer should be applied to the farm at the interval of 2weeks gap. You can stop when you feel that your farm do not need it again and continue applying when the need arise. Try and be very observant.
These are treatment chemicals for the maize leaf and fruit part against insects and pests.
Leaf part insecticides/pesticides and application
These are the ones we use for the leaf parts alone against insect and pests.
Examples are; Best, Best Action, Imi Force etc.
Best or Best Action is the one we use and it has proven to be very effective. It kills off insects and pests effectively. It is in liquid form, just like water. Imi-force can also be used in place of Best and best action.
Now, depending on the nature of damage being caused on your farm, you should mix at least one or two cover of Best/Best Action or imi force being 20ml to 40ml per a 16litres knapsack sprayer together with other treatment chemicals and apply on the leaf part of the maize plant.
These insecticides/pesticides mentioned above are sold for N1700 to N2000.
NOTE: when there are less insects and pests in your farm, you should reduce the spray of insecticides/pesticides and then finally stop during pollination to avoid chasing pollinators away or even killing some of them. This is because higher productivity in your farm is dependent on some of these insects that are pollination agents.
Seed Part Insecticide/Pesticide and application
The same way we have insects and pests attacking the leaf part of the plants, there are also some that attack the maize cobs too. In other to correct/kill these insects/pests you should apply: laraforce gold, imi force
Laraforce Gold: this is applied to kill some of the insects that attack the maize cobs. These include some insects like hoppers, stem borers, maize weevil.
It is sold for N2500 to N3000.
Application: one cover of Laraforce Gold being 20ml should be mixed in a 16litres knapsack sprayer and sprayed on the maize cobs. Don’t mix with other treatment chemicals.
This is used to prevent fungi attack on your plant. Examples are; z-force and fungus force.
Z-force and Fungus force: these are good examples of fungicide that you should use on your plant.
Application: half milk cup of fungicide should be mixed in a 16ltres knapsack sprayer with other treatment chemicals and sprayed on the leaf part of the plant.
Fungicide for Maize costs between N1400 to N1800 depending on your area.
Maize farming information guide for beginners; weed removal
Weeding should be done on the farm once or twice before harvest. This is to avoid the maize from competing with weeds.
There are two means of weed removal;Traditional and Chemical means.
Traditional Means of weed removal
This is the normal local means of removing weed in the farm using cutlass and hoe.
As we know, this does take a lot of time and labor. Also it will cost much if you are farming in a large scale.
This “means” involves the use of weed killing/control chemicals called herbicide to kill off weeds in the farm.
The form of herbicide that you are going to use in your farm is called non-selective herbicide. It should interest you to know that; non-selective herbicide spares no green plant that it comes in contact with. It will even kill your maize plant once it comes in contact with it.
Herbicide Types and Application
Materials for herbicide application;
2. Knapsack sprayer
Some non selective herbicides to use;
1. Force up
Herbicide application is based on the nature, size and disturbance being caused by weed in the farm.
If the farm is not bushy, 150ml per 16ltres knapsack sprayer should be used.
When the farm is moderately bushy, 200ml per 16litres knapsack sprayer should be used.
When the farm is bushy which is not advisable, 250ml per 16litres knapsack sprayer should be used.
After application, the weeds will not start dying instantly since we are using systematic herbicide.
It will take like 6-8days for the weeds to start losing its greenish color and then eventually dies off.
NOTE: make sure that the herbicide does not touch any of your plant.
Also, make sure to wash your knapsack sprayer thoroughly after using it to spray herbicide or better still, you can buy 2 or more knapsack sprayers some for herbicides and the others for other treatment exercise.
Maize farming information guide for beginners; application of solid fertilizer
This is another source of applying/supplying nutrient to our plant apart from the use liquid fertilizer on the leaf.
Fertilizer is very much needed by the plant for maximum productivity.
If you planted in a fertile soil, applying fertilizer once can do, but if you planted in a land that is not fertile it is recommended that you apply twice at most.
Forms of Solid Fertilizer
1. Animal wastes/composts: this is the one used by most local farmer. It can be just as productive as other fertilizers but you should make sure to let it decompose before applying. This can be achieved by allowing it stay for few days. This is because it will be too concentrated at first and might burn your plant.
2. Synthetic Solid Fertilizer.
NOTE: if you could get your hands on animal wastes, you can use it and get a result as good as when you use synthetic fertilizer. Sometimes it’s preferable as bad application of synthetic fertilizer causes leaching which leads to poor yield.
Synthetic Fertilizer Types
Synthetic solid fertilizer comes in two types. They are NPK and Urea.
Left to me, I would say that the two are good for maize plants. Therefore, you can buy anyone that pleases you or that you can afford.
NPK: NPK is a crop macro-nutrient containing Nitrogen, Phosphorus and potassium. It comes in various ratios of its constituents, for example we have; NPK 10:10:10, NPK 15:15:15, NPK 15:10:10 etc. NPK comes in different colors depending on the ratio of its constituents. There are brown, gray etc colors of NPK.
NPK can be applied a bit closer to the plant unlike Urea because it is less harsh. It should be applied at least 7-8cm from the root of the plant. The measurement should be not more than a full table spoon per one crop stand.
A bag of NPK costs between N8000 to N9000 per 50kg and should be able to cover at least half hectare of maize farm.
Urea: this type contains more of Nitrogen and is white in color. It is very harsh when compared to NPK and should not be applied closer to the root of the maize plant. This is to avoid burning the root.
The distance during application should range from 12-14cm away from the root of the plant.
Application of Synthetic Fertilizer
Applying NPK: just after 4weeks to 5weeks and some days after planting your maize plants. This is when you are expected to apply NPK to it if it is the one you want to use.
Now, gauge like7-8cm away from the plant roots where it entered the soil and then use a table spoon to take away sand from the spot and replace with NPK fertilizer. Do this on two opposite sides of the plant.
NOTE: do not apply more than one full table spoon, and make sure that fertilizer do not pour on stem/leaf part of the plant.
Applying Urea: also, it is after 4weeks or thereabout after planting, you should apply Urea to the plant.
Just gauge 12-13cm away from the plant this time and apply as with the NPK.
Not more than one full table spoon remember!