Corn Growing – A Beginners Guide

Corn Growing.
Corn Growing.

Corn Growing (Maize) Guide:

The following content is all about Corn Growing.

Introduction to Corn Growing

Corn also called as maize and corn is the most important grain crop grown throughout the world. It is cultivated in 160 countries. Corn is also called as queen of cereals as it is versatile crop growing under wider climatic conditions and it has the highest genetic yield potential among the cereals.

The corn plant has a nodal root system; the roots grow from the lower stem nodes. They are profusely branched fine root system. The roots spread throughout the upper two feet of the soil and reach six to seven feet deep in the soil. Leaves grow spirally on the stem having eight to 20 leaves on a plant. Corn leaf is a typical grass leaf. The leaf consists of a sheath, ligules, auricles and a blade. The cornstalk or corn stem grows from one metre to five metre. The stalk is cylindrical, solid and is divided into nodes and internodes. The plant produces both male and female flowers. Male flowers are produced in the tassel and female flowers on the ear. Corn is cultivated throughout the year in all states of India and is used for various purposes such as grain, fodder, sweet corn, baby corn.

Corn Plantation.
Corn Plantation.

Botanical name of Corn

Corn comes from the grass family Poaceae. The scientific name or botanical name of corn is Zea mays L.

Other Names of Corn

Maize, Corn, Indian Corn, Sweet Corn

Top Corn (Maize) Production Countries in the World

  1. USA.
  2. China.
  3. Brazil.
  4. India.
  5. Argentina.
  6. Ukraine.
  7. Mexico.
  8. Indonesia.
  9. France.
  10. South Africa.

Corn in Indian Languages

Hindi – मक्का(makka).

Gujarati – મકાઈ(Makā’ī).

Malayalam – ചോളം(cēāḷaṁ).

Tamil – சோளம்(Cōḷam).

Kannada – ಕಾರ್ನ್(Kārn).

Telugu – మొక్కజొన్న(Mokkajonna).

Bengali – ভূট্টা(Bhūṭṭā).

Marathi -कॉर्न (Kŏrna).

Punjabi – ਮਕਈ (Maka’ī).

Konkani –  जोळु(moku).

Urdu –  مکئی().

Corn Growing in Containers

It is possible to grow corn in pot culturing or containers for terrace garden. Corn grown in containers has fewer yields compared to the one grown in a ground because the plant requires more root space. Many gardeners opt to grow hybrid dwarfs varieties of sweet corn or baby corn in their backyard or terrace in containers. Use large pots or container that is at least 30 cm deep and wide. Sweet corn needs more sun light, abundant water and fertile soil.

Growing Corn in a Pot.
Growing Corn in a Pot.

Corn Growing in Greenhouse

Greenhouse growing of Corn offers distinct advantages of quality, productivity and favorable market price to the farmer.The plants growing in greenhouse need some additional care and vigilance for a good crop. Too much humidity in the greenhouse will encourage mildew or wilt. Irrigation must be given in the morning allowing water to evaporate during the day and lower the humidity in the greenhouse. Cross ventilation is required to remove hot air and get cooler air inside while maintaining 30° C temperature inside.

Corn Growing – Corn Varieties / Corn Cultivars

Corn varieties of forage and fodder include African Tall, J 1006 Amber Popcorn, VJ Amber Popcorn.

Corn Varieties for Popcorn includesPearlPopcorn, Madhuri IVL 42, Barly Composite Maize.

Some Hybrid Corn varieties of commercial growing are as follows:

  • Deccan Hybrid is a double cross variety. Plant stems is thick having broad dark green leaves and remain dark green till harvest. This variety is high resistant to downey mildew and fairly resistant to stalk borers, leaf blight and rust. The plant comes to harvest in 105 days after planting. The grain is light orange in color with a semi dent type. Farmer can expect a yield of 55 to 60 quintals per hectare. This variety is mostly suitable for southern states such as Telangana, A.P, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil nadu.
  • Ganga Safed 2 plant variety is moderately resistant to downey mildew, rust stem borer, lodging and leaf blight diseases. The grain is medium round and white flintish in color. The plant comes to harvest in 95 to 100 days after planting. Farmer can expect a yield of 50 to 55 quintals per hectare. This variety is best suited to states U.P, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Bihar.
  • Ganga 4 plant variety is moderately resistant to downey mildew, rust borers, lodging and leaf blight diseases. The plant stem is medium thick with long narrow green leaves. The plant comes to harvest in 100 to 105 days after planting. This variety can be grown throughout the country.
  • Hi Starch is a three way cross hybrid variety. It is resistant to downey mildew, rust borers, lodging and leaf blight diseases. The grain is bold, flat and white dent. The plant comes to harvest in 95 to 100 days after planting. Farmer can expect a yield of 60 to 70 quintals per hectare.
  • Rajendra hybrid makka 2, in this variety the plants grows intermediate tall with narrow, light green leaves. The plant is highly resistant to rust, fusarium wilt, turcicum leaf blight diseases and moderately resistant to R. herculia and S. inference pest. Farmer can expect an yield of 70 to 80 quintals per hectare and seed yield of 20 quintals per hectare.

Climatic Conditions in Corn Growing

Corn prefers warm weather regions to grow. The optimum temperature range for well growing is 20 to 32° C range. Germination of seed takes five to six days at 20 ° C. Though the plant is warm weather crop germination can also take place as low as 10° C. The plant is sensitive to frost.

Soil for Corn Growing

Avoid growing corn crop for seed production in saline soil and brackish water. Soils that are well drained, fertile, sandy loam to clay texture are preferable for good corn harvest. Though corn can be grown in wide variety of soils, soil must have good organic matter with neutral pH is considered for higher productivity.Being sensitive crop avoid growing in low lying lands having poor drainage.

Land preparation in Corn Growing

Maize requires less cost of cultivation and can be grown successfully without any primary tillage. One deep plowing and bring the soil to fine tilth with two or three harrowings. In the last harrowing mix thoroughly 10 to 15 ton of well-rotted farm yard manure or compost in the soil. Land must be free from weeds and previous crop must not be from the same crop variety or other variety.

Propagation in Corn Growing

Corn Seeds.
Corn Seeds.

Propagation for cultivation of corn is done through seeds.

Seed Rate in Corn Growing

The seed rate varies depending upon the corn variety and purpose.

  • Normal Grain: Seed rate of 20 kilogram per hectare. Planting with spacing about 60×20 can accommodate 80 to 85 thousand plants per hectare and in 75×20 can accommodate 63 to 67 thousand plants per hectare.
  • Sweet Corn: Seed rate of eight kilogram per hectare. Planting with spacing about 75×25 can accommodate 50 to 54 thousand plants per hectare and in 75×30 can accommodate 43 to 45 thousand plants per hectare.
  • Baby Corn: Seed rate of 25 kilogram per hectare. Planting with spacing about 60×20 can accommodate 80 to 84 thousand plants per hectare and in 60x15can accommodate 63 to 67 thousand plants per hectare.
  • Pop Corn: Seed rate of 12 kilogram per hectare. Planting with spacing about 60×20 can accommodate 80 thousand plants per hectare.
  • Green Cob (Normal maize): Seed rate of 20 kilogram per hectare. Planting with spacing about 60×20 can accommodate 80 to 85 thousand plants per hectare and in 75×20 can accommodate 64 to 67 thousand plants per hectare.
  • Fodder: Seed rate of 50 kilogram per hectare. Planting with spacing about 30×10 can accommodate 3.3 lakh plants per hectare.

Seed Treatment in Corn Growing

Seeds must be slurry treated with two grams of Carbendazim per kilogram seeds along with 200 miligram of Carbaryl per kilogram seed. OR seeds must be slurry treated with mixture of Calcium Oxy Chloride, Calcium carbonate, and Arappu leaf powder in the ratio 5:4:1 at the rate of three grams per kilogram seeds.

Sowing Season in Corn Growing

Sowing in first week of July will protect flowers from heavy rains during kharif season. Due to rains chances of pollen wash out is more leaving lesser yield. Last week of October for inter cropping and up to15th of November for sole crop during Rabi season. Sowing in first week of November will be ideal for temperature fluctuations (high/low) during winter season. Cold temperature affects mortality while high temperature leads to blasting of pollen grains leading to poor yield.

Spacing and Layout in Corn Growing

It is recommended to sow seeds or plant the crop on ridges. Depending on the cultivar the row spacing should be 60 to 75 cm and 20 cm between plants. To distinguish between male and female plant lines tags or labeling must be done for identification.

Corn Growing in a Greenhouse.
Corn Growing in a Greenhouse.

Irrigation/Watering in Corn Growing

Irrigate quickly after sowing the field. Irrigation must be carried out depending on the season. In monsoon season most of the cultivation will be under rainfed. Irrigation must be done as and when required depending upon the rains and soil moisture.

Manures and Fertilizers in Corn Growing

Corn plants respond well to nutrients drawn organically or through chemical fertilizers. Rate of application of nutrients and micronutrients depends on the soil test. On an average for a normal farm land ten to 15 tons of well decomposed farm yard manure is mixed while preparing the land. 150 kilograms of Nitrogen, 70 to 80 kilograms of Phosphorus Pentoxide (P2O5), 70 to 80 kilograms of Potassium Oxide (P2O), and 25 kilogram of Zinc Sulphate (ZnSO4) is recommended per hectare. P.K and Zn must be given as basal dose (full dose) before sowing. Apply Nitrogen in five doses for higher production. 20% of N is given as basal dose before sowing, 25% of N when the plant reaches four leaves, 30% of N when plant reaches eight leaves, 20% of N at tasseling stage, and the remaing 5% of N at the grain filling stage.

Inter crops in Corn Growing

Corn has wide adaptability to diverse soils and climatic conditions. Hence corn is cultivated with different crops under ecological conditions of the regions. Corn and Wheat can be cultivated together in rain fed regions. The other major crops that can be cultivated along with corn include mustard, chickpea, cotton, sugarcane, legumes, etc.

Intercultural operations in Corn Growing

Weed Management: Weeds causes up to 35% loss of yield especially during monsoon season. They compete with maize for nutrients. Hoeing and hand weeding are done as and when required. Atrazine herbicide checks a wide spectrum of weeds. Depending on the availability of herbicide at the local nursery use registered herbicides as prescribed.

Pests and Diseases in Corn Growing

  • Stem Borer (Chilopartellus): Is a major pest infecting the crop mostly in rainy season. Borers feed on young plants leaves and later bore into the stem and cobs making the plant unproductive. To control spray 27ml of Thiodan 35 EC in 18 litres of water in two dose. Apply first dose when plants are 20 to 25 days after germination and second spray at the time of grain formation.
  • Red Hairy Caterpillars: Young plants get destroyed completely when the crop is infested with red caterpillar pest. To control eggs and young caterpillars are collected and destroyed. Pupae in the ground must be exposed by plowing the field after harvest. Spray 27ml of Thiodan 35 EC in 18 litres of water across the field.
  • Aphids: These are tiny green colored soft bodied insects. The adults and nymphs suck the sap from the leaves and foriage. To control spray the field with 18 ml of Rogor 30 EC in 18 litres of water.
  • Turcicum leaf blight (Exserohilumturcicum): The disease is prevalent in regions with high humidity and in cool conditions. To control, spray at an interval of eight to ten days of 2.5 gram of Mancozeb per litre.
  • Maydis leaf blight (Drechsleramaydis): Is another major disease commonly found in tropical regions. Lesions of dark reddish brown patches appear on the leaves. To control, spray 2.5 gram of xineb per litre.

Harvesting in Corn Growing

Cobs containing roughly 20% moisture are harvested for grains. Crop might be misleading in some variety were grains dry out while stalk and leaves remain green. Pull ears downward and twist to take off from the standing crop and sun dried before shelling.

Harvest sweet corns when cobs start to swell and tassels begin to turn brown. Kernels must be milky and full.

Baby corns must be harvested when the silks just started or not yet emerged. Young cobs must be plucked before fertilized.

Marketing in Corn Growing

Cobs must be dried on a dry place avoiding moist and wet places. Care must be taken not to injure the seed or grain. Seeds are dried till the moisture content in the seed comes down to 8%. The dried seeds after shelling and are collected in aerated bags. Seeds are stored in a cool and in dry place. Marketing is done following specific standards as required in the market. There is huge demand for Sweet corn in export market as well as in local market. Marketing of harvested corn can be done directly in the local market or at retail outlets. They can be exported or sold to other traders directly or with a marketing agency.

Some Facts about Corn Growing

  • Same numbers of kernels appear on each row in a corncob.
  • On an average 800 kernels are there in a corn ear.
  • Corn is the most common grain found in many products (about 3000 products) such as in cereal, peanut butter, pet foods, etc.
  • It is found apart from Antarctica, corn is grown in all other continents.
  • Much of the corn plant is useful and does not go waste. Grain is used for human as well as livestock feed and stalk and leaves as fodder for livestock.

Corn Growing Tips

  • Soak the corn seeds overnight in water for quick germination.
  • Soaked seeds are air dried to avoid seed rot and for proper germination.
  • In one container three seeds can be planted.
  • Stop fertilizing when the plant begins to tassel.
  • Weed early and often.

Bottom Line of Corn Growing

Drought areas and regions where average rainfall is expected are best for corn cultivation.

For Organic Farming: Read here.

For Goat Kids Care: Read here.


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