Maize farming is one of the most lucrative business someone can venture into. It requires a lot of hard work and consistency.
Maize (Zea mays) belongs to the family Poaceae. It is called Agbado (yoruba) , Oka (Igbo) and Masara (Hausa). It is also known as corn. It is an important cereal grain that is widely consumed by man and livestock. Corn yield kernel as fruits or seeds, existing as a monocot (i. e having one cotyledon). It is an annual plant.
Maize contains high value of carbohydrate and a little of protein and fat. It is the third most produced food in the world after rice and wheat, producing meal like corn flames and pop corn.
Market for maize
Processing Industries :maize is processed in the industry to flour, corn meal, cornflakes, sachet pap, custard which are taken as a meal. It is also used in brewing Industries. Maize oil can be extracted to make food.
Animal Feeds/ Feed mill: maize serves as animals feed when leaves are dried.
: it can be boiled, roasted and use in cooking different dishes like porridge beans and maize
A piece of land: Land must be in suitable environment where the soil range from sandy loamy to clay loamy soil which is fertile with high water retaining capacity. There must be a proper supply of water on the land.
Soil test must be done to know if the soil is ready for planting. The land should be beside the market for easy transportation and must exposed to sunlight for maximum photosynthesis. The soil must have a pH of 6.5-7.5.The topography of the land must flat too.
Farm implements: Farm implements such as hoe, cutlass, pickaxe plough are needed for land clearing and cultivation.
Seeds: seeds must be viable, pests and disease resistant.
Fertilizer: For efficient plant growth, fertilizer is required. It must be applied during pre-planting and planting. It can either be organic fertilizer such as animals manure or inorganic fertilizers like urea, NPK and CAN.
Pest and Disease Control: A suitable control of pests like rodents, birds and diseases like maize smut should be available.
There are different varieties of maize and they differ in their properties.
They can be categorized as
Yellow (TZSR-Y-1, DMR-LSRY)
White (TZPB (FARZ 27), TZB (FARZ 34))
Early season seeds (DMR-LSRW)
Late season seeds (DMR-ESRW, DMR-ESRY)
Land clearing: The land is first cleared manually or mechanically to the avoid the outbreak of pest and disease, and ease accessibility
Land preparation: In preparation of the land compost is applied, ploughing is done and ridges are made.
Planting: Maize is planted with seeds. Early planting begin at March-April while late planting begin at July-August. Maize can be planted throughout the year using irrigation.
Maize seedling is planted above the soil surface at about 1.5-2cm in depth with a spacing of 75 by 25cm for one seed or 90 by 30 for 2 seed per hole. They tend to germinate well in where there are enough soil moisture.
Fertilizers application : N. P. K15:15:15 is applied before planting then C.A . N is applied every 5-6 weeks. The N. P. K 15:15:15 is added again 6-7weeks after planting. Farm yard manure is applied side dressing by broadcasting.
Weeding: Removal of weed is done continuously until the plant get to its maturity stage (i.e. a stage the maize plant have 35% dry matter)
Harvesting: Maize is harvested after 3 – 4 months of planting. Harvesting is done by hands or with the aid of farm machineries.
Storage: Maize is dried and stored in silo, cribs, rhumbus while seeds and grains are stored in air tight containers .
Processing:The maize husks are removed from the cobs, it is shelled by sheller to remove grains from the cob. Willowing is done to remove the direct from the maize
Challenges of starting a maize farm
A maize farmer must not be absent from farm activities. He must be involved in all the necessary activities
Lack of finance: This is one of the major challenge facing maize farming. The farmer may not have the money to implement this idea, inability to purchase the farm equipment, seeds, fertilizers etc.
Solution:The farmer may borrow money from microfinance bank using a guarantor instead of collateral or seeking co-operative society with low interest rates
Lack of training: The personnel may lack training on planting, the use of equipment and the agriculture practices required for the maize farming.
Solution:Seeking the professionals and agriculture agencies is the best solutions, through attending seminars.
Pest and Disease: it might be challenging to the farmer, bird, robert or man serves a pest to man destroying the quality and quantity of the maize. Diseases such as maize smut affect the production of maize
Solution:Farmer should fight this by using pesticides like rodenticide and avicide, use scarce crow or traps
In conclusion starting a maize farm is a brilliant idea. It demands attention and hard work but it pays off as it takes only 3-4 months to be matured and have a profitable market.