Maize farming in Nigeria can be done successfully in any part of the country. It is not limited to a particular region but majorly planted in the Northern region for commercial purposes. While in the South as subsistence farming. Because of the awareness and the profits margin accrued to commercializing them so many people from the North and South as well, are now successful maize farmers.
After cassava the next food crop that is widely and highly consumed is maize, the reason being that it can be consumed in varied forms such as maize flour for confectionaries, semo (for Swallow with soup), as corn beef, feed mill (for animals feeding), as roasted corn, boiled or prepared as pottage.
They are also used for Ogi (Pap, Akamu), majorly used by nursing mothers for feeding new-born babies 96 months and above). Most people use pap with akara for breakfast.
Maize farming is one business I will encourage up coming young and enterprising farmers to go into because there are so many potentials in it. This singular crop can control the food chain and also serve as export commodity for boosting our economy.
MAIZE FARMING IN NIGERIA
In this article I will provide all the necessary steps on how to plant maize, the best soil for optimum growth, diseases and pest that may likely affect them, the kind of maize to plant, productivity and the number of tones you can realize in an hectare.
If you are using a virgin land with high, thick shrubs and weeds, you will have to use tractor to clear the land for about 3 times before it could b ready for farming. While clearing the land with machine care must be taken in other not to displace the top soil completely.
But if you are using an already used farm, tractor can be used once in dressing the soil. Remember the use of tractor is for a large expanse of land. If your land is in plots or an acre you can do manual clearing.
The soil should be a well rich sandy-loam with good compost. If the land is not fertile you can add nitrogen fertilizer such as a well treated chicken dung in the preparation of the soil.
Exposed the land to sun for some days so as to destroy some pests such as nematodes, termites etc.Or you apply glyphosate and truzine to kill weeds 1 or 2 days before planting (it doesn’t kill maize) or before the seeds starts germinating.
If it doesn’t rain water the soil to keep it moist for planting. There are a list of equipment you will be needing for mechanization-plough, planter, combine harvester and irrigation equipment.
If you have the money it is advisable you purchase maize planter the price is about #60,000 it will make the work easier, accurate and uniform.
READ ALSO: How To Start Irish Potato Farming In Nigeria: Complete Guide
STEPS TO PLANT MAIZE
- Plant corn into the soil 2cm-3cm with a spacing of 25cm x 75cm. 25cm between crops and 75cm between rows. The spacing is rightly done in other for the ‘maize plant’ to form canopy.
- You can soak the corn in water a day before planting. This will help the corn to germinate faster. It is mostly carried out with maize that is very hard. In other to break their dormancy you soak them in water.
- You need 20kg of maize in a hectare.
- This, in turn, will help in wind and weed control. If you allow too much spacing, when breeze comes or when it is windy the plants will go down (fall), resulting in loses.
- Maize seeds germinate 3-5 days. A hectare will yield between 3-5 tonnes. Although with improve species like the hybrid maize type, one can harvest up to 8 tonnes all things being equal.
- A hectare will produce 10,000 stands with the spacing provided above while acre will produce 4040 stands.
SOME OF THE THINGS THAT CAN AFFECT MAIZE YIELD ARE:
Pests invading the cob, this can be eliminated or controlled. You can noticed this anytime you remove maize cover only to discover some boring insects larva eating up the corn.
Plant not reproducing healthy cobs due to maybe the variety planted. Others are; soil type, availability of nutrients, pest invasion etc.
HOW TO SECURE A MAIZE FARM
Hang alarm bed in the farm to keep birds away.
Plant jatropha trees around the farm to keep cows and other animals away. You can check that out from my post on ‘cucumber farming in Nigeria’. If you have the money you can build parameter fencing or barbed wire around your farm.
FERTILIZER APPLICATION IN MAIZE FARMING
Apply fertilizer three times before harvesting. After the first application properly done during land dressing. That is for soil that was not fertile apply again after a month. The next one at 6 weeks or 8 weeks and repeat same.
The use of organic manure such as animal dung is highly encouraged. However, if you want to use inorganic fertilizer then use NPK and urea in the ratio of 3 NPK:1 urea. Meaning for a hectare 4 bags of NPK and Urea is needed.
As much as you can do everything to eliminate them if not your maize plant will not do well. For good fruiting, the plant has to grow tall at the same time. Maize farming in Nigeria the maize that is healthy, grows very tall.
These are the ones that produce cob first and once they start others will automatically start fruiting as well healthy or not. And of course, they will reproduce according to their strength.
So weed on time don’t give room for any competition it will be too dicey.
IRRIGATION IN MAIZE FARMING IN NIGERIA
If you are doing late maize planting (dry season maize farming), you need to do bore hole or well and use drip irrigation to water the plant. Especially when there is shortage of rainfall. Do not allow the land to dry up it will affect their growth. Thereby affecting their production. You can irrigate them 3 times a week.
You need 6 bottles of insecticide for a hectare. Stem borers are common pests spray pesticide inside the middle part of the maize because that is where their concentration is. There are many ways to attack pest on maize. Here are few:
1.Army-worms and grasshoppers: When you detect the activities of these insects has quickly control them with monocrotophos (e.g. Azodrin at 533 ml/liter, Nuvacron 40EC at the rate of 40 ml for 10 litres of water and Ultracide 40 at 40 ml for 10 litres of water).
2. Termites: when termites start attacking your maize plant during growing season you spray only the affected area with 30 ml of Nogos 50 in 4.5 litres of water. Look around for any termite hill and destroy.
3. Stem-borers: apply Furadan, 3G or 10g (carbofuran) at the rate of 0.75 kg per hectare as side dressing; 10 cm away from maize stands for stem borer infestation.
It should be applied seven days after seedling emergence or as seed dressing chemical, like the one used (antimicrobial or fungicidal) in treating seed before planting. Apply 1.68 kg active ingredient carbaryl (Vetox 85) at 225 litres of water per hectare.
Local unit is 8 levels of standard match box per 9 litres (2 gallons) of water. Two applications every two weeks intervals, start applying two weeks after planting
4. Corn ear worms: For green maize production and optimum grain yield, use 3 sprays of cymbush 10 EC of Ambush 25 EC at the rate of 20ml per 10 litres of water every week, beginning from 50% silking; spray directly at the young cobs.
Harvesting can be done 75-90 days for fresh corn. To know which is ready, check the hair on the cob when it starts drying up or shrinking know that the corn is ready for harvest. But for dried maize 120 days – 150 days is attainable. Harvest when the maize is fully dried in other to avoid losses due to mycotoxins growth during storage. A stand of maize usually produces two cobs.
You can make your sales directly to local marketers, roadside roasters, feed mill etc. Some maize farmers normally contact people who sell fresh maize during planting.
These will in turn be they ones watching out for their maturity. Like the maize farmer close to my neighbourhood, maize sellers are the ones that normally wake him for purchase.
Also you can process the maize and sell to livestock farmers. A ton of dried corn is 120k.
WHY YOU SHOULD START MAIZE FARMING IN NIGERIA
It takes between 70-90 days that is about 2 ½ – 3 months for harvest. Meaning it takes a short time to realise investment.
It is not difficult to do as it does not involve complex techniques.
If properly done, you can make from 50% and above returns on investment. That is to say it is very lucrative and profitable do maize farming in Nigeria.
There is a ready market for it as the demand for maize is constantly on the increase. You can never hear of glut in maize farming. Grain storage business is very profitable look into that area also.
Maize can be stored in cribs or silos, in the olden days they were preserved by putting them in a basket kind of cage, placed above the wall where fire can be keeping them warm.
The dried corn can be stored in containers such as drums or put in sack bags and kept in a room that is airy. They can last for up to a year this way if they were well dried.
USES OF MAIZE
Maize cab is a source of fire. It can also be crushed for animal feeds. A source of feed ingredients for pigs, poultry and fish feed. Maize contains little protein and digestible energy.
Corn pap is natural, has high potassium which is good for high blood patients. It is good for nursing mothers for easy flow of breast milk.
Pap contains water which helps in daily water requirement, provides energy that is very useful to sport lovers.
Preparing of pap doesn’t go through a long process as such retains nutrients.
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