How to Plant Maize in Nigeria
Maize is a staple food in Nigeria. It is one of the most consumed foods in Nigeria. Maize is planted by burying the seed in the soil and waiting till the maturity of the maize plant to harvest the maize cob.
Maize planting as a farming activity is common among Nigerian farmers. The average farmer in Nigeria plants maize and other crops every year. Maize is mostly planted b rain fed farmers, however, irrigation farmers also grow this crop.
How to Plant Maize in Nigeria
The following are the steps to take to plant maize in Nigeria:
- Selection of Farmland Site
- Climatic Conditions
- Soil Suitable for Maize Planting
- Soil Preparation
- Choosing the Maize Variety to Plant
- Planting of the Maize Seeds
- Weed Control
- Fertilizer and Manure Management
- Management of Pests and Diseases
- Processing of Maize
1) Selection of Farmland Site
You should endeavor to get a favourable farmland for the planting of your maize crop. The farmland can be leased, rented or acquired. You do not need to spend a lot of money on land acquisition as maize is not a perennial crop.
Your farmland should also have good roads so that your maize produce can be easily evacuated to the market. The soil should be fertile. Maize prefers sandy loamy soil.
2) Check the Climatic Conditions
Maize crop only do well in places with a warm and tropical climatic condition. Maize will not do well in areas with temperate climatic condition.
Maize also can only grow well in areas with abundant rainfall. However, irrigation can be used if rainfall is not enough in your site or farmland area.
3) Soil Suitable for Maize Planting
Maize can be planted in sandy soil, sandy loamy soil and sandy laterite soil. Maize is a fairly rugged crop and can grow in most types of soil.
The soil pH should be 4.5 – 7.5. if the soil is too acidic, lime or dolomite should be added to the soil to increase the pH.
4) Soil Preparation
The farmland should be stripped of weeds, trees and stumps. The soil should be plowed, harrowed and ridged. Several plowing may be needed so the soil will be okay for the planting of the maize seeds.
For soil with low organic matter, farmyard manure, animal manure and compost can be added to the soil. These should be mixed to the soil through plowing.
5) Choosing the Maize Variety to Plant
Hybrid maize seeds are generally higher yielding than the open pollinated maize seeds. Some hybrid and open pollinated maize varieties in Nigeria include the following:
a) Dekalb Maize Seeds: DK 920, DK 818, DK 234, DK 777
c) SeedCo Maize Seeds: SC 645, SC 649, SC 651, SC 510, SC 719
d) Premier Seeds: Oba 98 (white, QPM), Oba Super-1 (white), Oba Super-2 (yellow) and Oba Super-3 (white) etc.
e) Open Pollinated Varieties: Sammaz Series.
The following equipment can be used for maize planting and growing:
- Farm House
- Power Tiller
- Earth Augers
- Weeders etc.
Maize farming is mostly done with the use of rain in Nigeria. A lot of maize farmers in Nigeria wait for the onset of the rains before planting their maize seeds.
However, maize does very well under irrigation.
The following types of irrigation can be used for planting of maize:
Drip Irrigation: Drip irrigation ensures the wetting of the root zone of plants. The yield of maize can be increased by as much as 200% if grown under drip irrigation.
Sprinkler: Sprinklers like spray tubes, rain hoses, center pivots and rain guns are some types of sprinklers that can be used for the planting of maize.
Furrow Irrigation: Furrow irrigation can also be used for the growing of maize.
8) Planting of the Maize Seeds
Maize seeds should be buried in the soil. A small hole should be dug and one seed of maize dropped in the hole.
It is advisable you have an intra-plant spacing of 25 cm and an inter-row spacing of 75 cm when planting maize. This will ensure that your farm will have about 55,000 plants per hectare. If you do 20cm intra-plant spacing, you can increase your maize plant population per hectare to about 66,000.
9) Weed Control
The use of herbicides is the most effective way for the management of weeds in maize farming. Herbicides like Lagon, Paraquat, Glyphosate and Atrazine can be used for the management of weeds in maize farms.
Plastic mulches and organic mulches can also be used to cover the surface the soil so weeds will not be able to survive.
Cutlasses, hoes and motorized weeders can also be used to remove weeds.
10) Fertilizer and Manure Management
Maize as a crop is a nutrient hungry crop. Your maize crop needs a lot of nutrients especially nitrogen. One hectare of maize farm will need about 8-15 50kg bags of NPK and Urea fertilisers. It is also advisable you mix all your fertilizers with potassium humate in order to maximize the efficiency of the fertilisers.
NPK fertilizers and urea are known as the best fertilizers for maize farming in Nigeria.
Also, bury all fertilisers applied to your maize crop; never leave fertilisers on the surface of the soil. Soil improver like manure, rice husks and plant materials can also be used for your maize farm. You can also use microbial innoculants.
Fertilizers can also be fertigated to the maize plants.
11) Management of Pests and Diseases
Pesticides like insecticides, nematicides, fungicides and acaricides etc. should be used to address pest and disease problems in maize growing in Nigeria.
Army worm is a notorious pest in maize farming in Nigeria. It can lead to zero yield in maize cultivation. Pesticides like Belt Expert, Decis, Ampligo and Tihan etc can be used to address this problem.
When the silk of the maize plant turns brown, it is time for harvest of the fresh corn cobs. Fresh corn can be harvested after 50 – 70 days. If the maize farmer prefers to harvest his maize crop as grains, harvesting can start after 85 – 120 days depending on the variety planted and the prevailing temperature.
Harvesting can be done with the use of sickles, cutlasses, knives and mechanized harvesters.
13) Processing of Maize
Maize can be processed into the following:
- Maize Flour
- Maize Meal etc
Harvested maize grains are sold to big buyers like food processors, breweries and other industrial users. They can also be sold in the open market.
Should you need any information on how to plant maize in Nigeria, kindly contact us.