24-11-2020

भाकृअनुप - भारतीय मक्का अनुसंधान संस्थान

ICAR - Indian Institute of Maize Research

(ISO 9001:2015 certified)

Nurturing Diversity, Resilience, Livelihood & Industrial Inputs

Production Technology

Grain/QPM (kharif)
Site selection/Soil type: Maize is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: Generally, the ideal sowing time is June 20 to end of July. However, this will be dependent on the time of onset of monsoon. In fields where water stagnation may occur, early sowing is desirables so that plant reaches a firm stand to avoid lodging due to water logging.

Land preparation: Maize needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management. Maize can also be successfully produced under zero-till conditions using happy seeder or zero till multi-crop planter.

Seed rate: About 8 kg of seed per acre should be used.

Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.
2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew
3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot
4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: In kharif season crop, it is always desirable to go for raised bed planting to protect the crop from water logging. In raised bed planting, 70 cm wide ridges (40 cm ridge and 30 cm furrow) are prepared with the help of bed planter. Bed planter with incline plate seed metering system can precisely place the maize seed at required depth of 3.5-5.0 cm and does simultaneous operation of raised beds making and planting. One line of maize on each raised bed is desirable when sole crop of maize is planted keeping seed to seed spacing at 20 cm. Optimum plant density (30,000/acre) should be maintained to tap full potentials of hybrids. Southern side planting is advised on East-West oriented ridges. Happy seeder or zero-till bed planters with inclined plate to be used for crop establishment under zero tillage or for sowing under crop residue.

Weed management: Weeds significantly reduce maize production and the critical period for crop-weed completion is 15-45 days after sowing.

Cultural control: a) Two manual hoeing at 15 and 30 DAS; b) Inter-cropping of one or two rows of fodder cowpea in between maize rows reduces weed problem considerably.

Mechanical control: Mechanical weed control in maize is possible through tractor drawn cultivator and rotary weeder; Self-propelled power weeder; and animal drawn blade harrow. Mechanical weed control using tractor mounted implements can only be done during the early crop stages because limited tractor and cultivator ground clearance damage the crop foliage at later growth stages. Working depth of weeding implements should be shallow to prevent plant roots damage.

Chemical control: Recommended dose of atrazine at pre-emergence followed by either of the post-emergence herbicide for effective weed control (mentioned below) is also equally effective. Selective herbicides for maize

HerbicideFormulationsDose (g ai/acre)Time of application (DAS)
Atrazine50 % WP400 0-2
Topramezone33.6 % SC1220-30
Tembotrione34.4% SC5020-30

Integrated weed management: Pre-emergence atrazine application followed by one hand weeding at 35-40 days gives good weed control.

Nutrient management: Hybrid maize is very responsive to nutrient application and has slightly high nutrient requirement as compare to other cereal due to high yield potential. It can be grown both organically or by integrated nutrient management involving organic and inorganic nutrient supplementation.

Organic nutrient management: Following options for nutrient management in organic maize production to be used based on availability in suitable combination:

  • Green manuring: Green manuring crops like dhaincha/sunhemp/cowpea at 12/20/20 kg seed rate/acre, respectively are very useful. Fifty days old crop is to be ploughed down and reserve the field for 10 days for decomposition before sowing of maize.
  • Straw of summer mungbean/cowpea may be buried before sowing of maize or/with
  • Farm yard manure/Compost @ 6 tonnes/acre or vermicompost @ 3 tonnes/acre
  • Application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB and NPK consortia for seed treatment @ 200 g/acre or liquid formulation @ 100 ml/acre.
  • Soil application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB, VAM and NPK consortia @ 5-6 kg/acre.
  • Paddy/wheat/maize straw compost at 0.18 tonnes/acre.

 Integrated nutrient management:
Application of 6 tonnes/acre well decomposed farm yard manure/compost mixed with Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB, VAM and NPK consortia @ 5-6 kg/acre or seed treatment with Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB and NPK consortia for seed treatment @ 200 each/acre or liquid formulation @ 200 g/acre or liquid formulation @ 100 ml/acre needed for better moisture retention and initial boost of the crop. Macro-and micronutrient requirements of the crop need to be accomplished through use of suitable fertilizers. The following schedule of fertilizer may be used:

Crop StageFertilizers scheduling
Sowing (Basal)Drill full dose of P, K and 1/3 of N-fertilizer dose, micronutrient application.
Knee-high (Ist split)Top dress 1/3 N-fertilizer dose and micronutrient spray.
Pre-tasseling (2nd split)Top dressing of remaining 1/3 N-fertilizer dose and micronutrient spray.

Rate of different fertilizers

VarietiesScheduleFertilizer (kg/acre)
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
Long duration hybridBasal335516010
Ist split33
2nd split33
Short duration hybrid, compositeBasal25278010
Ist split25
2nd split25

Maize is sensitive to Zinc deficiency. Zinc deficient crop shows stunted growth and develop short inter-nodes. A white (or pale-yellowish) tissue with reddish veins appears on leaf blade. To mitigate it 10 kg/acre ZnSO4.7H2O or 6.5 kg/acre ZnSO4.H2O should be applied at sowing. Apply 10-15 kg S and 0.5 kg B/acre in deficient soils.


Water management: Water requirement of maize is 500–800 mm per growing season. Under kharif season, partially water requirement is met by rainfall. Hence, 1-4 irrigations are required, which may vary depending on frequency of rainfall. Adequate moisture at germination, pre-tasseling, silking and grain-filling stages should be ensured through irrigation, if rainfall is not there. If available, the sprinkler irrigation up to knee length stage is very good for maize crop. In ridge-sown crop, irrigation should be given in furrow up to 2/3 of height of the ridge.

Harvesting and post harvest handling: Maize can be harvested when the husk has dried and turned brown. Apart from hand-picking, combined harvester may also be used for quick harvesting. After manual harvesting, depending upon the cultivated area, manual shellers or maize dehusker-cum-sheller or maize thresher may be used for separating grains from cobs. The optimum moisture in grain for long-term storage should be below 14%. Portable Maize Dryer can also be used for reducing the moisture content of the cobs. Sun drying of the cobs and seeds is required in absence of other drying options prior to marketing as moisture above optimum level reduces market prices and increases chance of aflatoxin contamination.

Grain/QPM (rabi)

Site selection/Soil type: Maize is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: 15th October to 15th November is the best time, however this may vary for region to region.

Land preparation: Maize needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management. Maize can also be successfully produced under zero-till conditions using happy seeder or zero till multi-crop planter.

Seed rate: About 8-9 kg of seed per acre should be used.

Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.

2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew

3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot

4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: Optimum plant density (33,333/acre with 60*20 cm spacing) should be maintained to tap full potentials of hybrids. Sowing should be done on the southern side of the east-west ridge so that the optimum amount of sunshine is received and the seedbed remains warm. Happy seeder or zero-till bed planters with inclined plate to be used for crop establishment under zero tillage or for sowing under crop residue. For proper germination and early vigor, seed should be sown at 3.5-5 cm depth.

Weed management: Weeds damage significantly to maize production and the critical period for crop-weed completion is 15-45 days after sowing.

Cultural control: a) Two manual hoeing at 15 and 30 DAS; b) Inter-cropping of one or two rows of good canopy producing crops in between maize rows reduces weed problem considerably.

Mechanical control: Mechanical weed control in maize is possible through tractor drawn cultivator and rotary weeder; Self-propelled power weeder; and animal drawn blade harrow. Mechanical weed control using tractor mounted implements can only be done during the early crop stages because limited tractor and cultivator ground clearance damage the crop foliage at later growth stages. Working depth of weeding implements should be shallow to prevent plant roots damage.

Chemical control: Recommended dose of atrazine at pre-emergence followed by either of the post-emergence herbicide for effective weed control (mentioned below) is also equally effective. Selective herbicides for maize

HerbicideFormulationsDose (g ai/acre)Time of application (DAS)
Atrazine50 % WP400 0-2
Topramezone33.6 % SC1220-30
Tembotrione34.4% SC5020-30

Integrated weed management: Pre-emergence atrazine application followed by one hand weeding at 35-40 days gives good weed control.

Nutrient management For higher yield, integrated nutrient management found beneficial for rabi maize and organic sources option mentioned in kharif maize to be used along with chemical

Crop stageScheduleFertilizer (kg/acre)
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
Before/at sowing   Basal26705310
4 leaf stageIst split26
8 leaf stage2nd split40
Tasseling stage3rd split26
 Grain filling stage4th split6

fertilizer mentioned as below:

Water management: Four to six irrigations are needed during the rabi crop season. If six irrigations are given, they should be applied as two before flowering, one at the time of flowering, two after flowering and one at the early grain-filling stage. If only five irrigations are given, one irrigation at the vegetative stage may be avoided; and if only four irrigations are given, irrigation after the dough stage may be avoided. The irrigation should, however be changed suitably if adequate rains are received.

Harvesting and post harvest handling: Maize can be harvested when the husk has dried and turned brown. Apart from hand-picking, combined harvester may also be used for quick harvesting. After manual harvesting, depending upon the cultivated area, manual shellers or maize dehusker-cum-sheller or maize thresher may be used for separating grains from cobs. The optimum moisture in grain for long-term storage should be below 14%. Portable Maize Dryer can also be used for reducing the moisture content of the cobs. Sun drying of the cobs and seeds is required in absence of other drying options prior to marketing as moisture above optimum level reduces market prices and increases chance of aflatoxin contamination.

Grain/QPM (spring)

Site selection/Soil type: Maize is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: January 20-February 15 is the best time for spring planting.

Land preparation: Maize needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management. Maize can also be successfully produced under zero-till conditions using happy seeder or zero till multi-crop planter.

Seed rate: About 8 kg of seed per acre should be used.

Seed treatment: Shoot fly incidence is higher in spring sown crop. Therefore, seeds should be treated with Imidacloprid 600 FS @ 6ml/kg of seed or Thiomethoxam 30 FS @ 8ml/kg seed. The seed may also be treated with fungicide such as Bavistin 50 WP or Carbendazim 50WP @ 3 g per kg seed.

Method of sowing/Spacing: Evaporative losses of water during spring season from the soil under flat as well as raised bed planting is higher and hence crop suffers from moisture stress. Under such conditions, it is always advisable to grow maize in furrows for proper growth, seed setting and higher productivity. Zero-till planning is beneficial in spring maize after harvesting of potato, mustard etc.

Weed management: Weeds damage significantly to maize production and the critical period for crop-weed completion is 15-45 days after sowing.

Cultural control: a) Two manual hoeing at 15 and 30 DAS; b) Inter-cropping of one or two rows of fodder cowpea in between maize rows reduces weed problem considerably.

Mechanical control: Mechanical weed control in maize is possible through tractor drawn cultivator and rotary weeder; Self-propelled power weeder; and animal drawn blade harrow. Mechanical weed control using tractor mounted implements can only be done during the early crop stages because limited tractor and cultivator ground clearance damage the crop foliage at later growth stages. Working depth of weeding implements should be shallow to prevent plant roots damage.

Chemical control: Recommended dose of atrazine at pre-emergence followed by either of the post-emergence herbicide for effective weed control (mentioned below) is also equally effective. Selective herbicides for maize

HerbicideFormulationsDose (g ai/acre)Time of application (DAS)
Atrazine50 % WP400 0-2 (preemergence)
Topramezone33.6 % SC1220-30 (Post emergence)
Tembotrione34.4% SC5020-30 (Post emergence)
Integrated weed management: Pre-emergence atrazine application followed by one hand weeding at 35-40 days gives good weed control.

Nutrient management: For higher yield, integrated nutrient management found beneficial for spring maize and organic sources option mentioned in kharif maize to be used along with chemical fertilizer mentioned as below:

Water management: Spring maize needs nearly 10-15 irrigations sometimes even higher as the evapo-transpiration demand is quite higher in summer season. Hence, a water use-efficient irrigation system i.e. drip method is desirable under spring sown

VarietiesScheduleFertilizer (Kg/acre) 
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
Medium duration hybridBasal33552710
Istsplit33 
 2nd split33 
Short duration hybridBasal252727 
Istsplit25 
 2nd split25 

maize. Apply first irrigation at 25-30 DAS. Under non-drip irrigation, apply irrigation at 2 weeks interval upto10th April and on per week basis after this, up to maturity. From water conservation point of view spring maize without drip irrigation is not recommended.

Harvesting and post harvest handling: Maize can be harvested when the husk has dried and turned brown. Apart from hand-picking, combined harvester may also be used for quick harvesting. After manual harvesting, depending upon the cultivated area, manual shellers or maize dehusker-cum-sheller or maize thresher may be used for separating grains from cobs. The optimum moisture in grain for long-term storage should be below 14%. Portable Maize Dryer can also be used for reducing the moisture content of the cobs. Sun drying of the cobs and seeds is required in absence of other drying options prior to marketing as moisture above optimum level reduces market prices and increases chance of aflatoxin contamination.

Pop corn

Site selection/Soil type: Pop corn is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: As the plant type of the pop corn is weak and affected more by diseases and pest and thus should be preferably to be grown in mild climate i.e. winter season/hilly areas for better yield and quality.

Land preparation: Pop corn needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management. Pop corn can also be successfully produced under zero-till conditions using happy seeder or zero till multi-crop planter.

Seed rate: About 4-5kg of seed per acre should be used.

Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.

2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew

3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot

4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: Southern side planting is advised on East-West oriented ridges. Happy seeder or zero-till bed planters with inclined plate to be used for crop establishment under zero tillage or for sowing under crop residue. Optimum plant density (33,724/acre) should be maintained to tap full potentials of hybrids. For proper germination and early vigor, seed should be sown at 3.5-5 cm depth.

Weed management: Weeds damage significantly to Pop corn production and the critical period for crop-weed completion is 15-45 days after sowing.

Cultural control: a) Two manual hoeing at 15 and 30 DAS; b) Inter-cropping of one or two rows of higher canopy producing legume crops in between maize rows reduces weed problem considerably.

Mechanical control: Mechanical weed control in Pop corn is possible through tractor drawn cultivator and rotary weeder; Self-propelled power weeder; and animal drawn blade harrow. Mechanical weed control using tractor mounted implements can only be done during the early crop stages because limited tractor and cultivator ground clearance damage the crop foliage at later growth stages. Working depth of weeding implements should be shallow to prevent plant roots damage.

Chemical control: Recommended dose of atrazine at pre-emergence followed by either of the post-emergence herbicide for effective weed control (mentioned below) is also equally effective. Selective herbicides for pop corn

  • Green manuring: Green manuring crops like dhaincha/sunhemp/cowpea at 12/20/20 kg seed rate/acre, respectively are very useful. Fifty days old crop is to be ploughed down and reserve the field for 10 days for decomposition before sowing of maize.
  • Straw of summer mungbean/cowpea may be buried before sowing of maize or/with
  • Farm yard manure/Compost @ 6 tonnes/acre or vermicompost @ 3 tonnes/acre
  • Application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB and NPK consortia for seed treatment @ 200 g/acre or liquid formulation @ 100 ml/acre.
  • Soil application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB, VAM and NPK consortia @ 5-6 kg/acre.
  • Paddy/wheat/maize straw compost at 0.18 tonnes/acre.
HerbicideFormulationsDose (g ai/acre)Time of application (DAS)
Atrazine50 % WP400 0-2 (Pre emergence)
Topramezone33.6 % SC1220-30 (Post emergence)
Tembotrione34.4% SC5020-30 (Post emergence)

Integrated weed management: Pre-emergence Atrazine application followed by one hand weeding at 35-40 days gives good weed control.

Nutrient management: It can be grown both organically or by integrated nutrient management involving organic and inorganic nutrient supplementation.

Organic nutrient management: Following options for nutrient management in organic pop corn production to be used based on availability in suitable combination:

 Integrated nutrient management: Application of 6 tonnes/ha well decomposed farm yard manure/compost mixed with Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB, VAM and NPK consortia @ 5-6 kg/acre or seed treatment with Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB and NPK consortia for seed treatment @ 200 each/acre or liquid formulation @ 200 g/acre or liquid formulation @ 100 ml/acre needed for better moisture retention and initial boost of the crop. Macro-and micronutrient requirements of the crop need to be accomplished through use of suitable fertilizers. The following schedule of fertilizer may be used:

Rate of different fertilizers

VarietiesScheduleFertilizer (kg/acre)
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
 Pop cornBasal25278010
Ist split25
2nd split25

Maize is sensitive to Zinc deficiency. Zinc deficient crop shows stunted growth and develop short inter-nodes. A white (or pale-yellowish) tissue with reddish veins appears on leaf blade. To mitigate it 10 kg/acre ZnSO4.7H2O or 6.5 kg/acre ZnSO4.H2O should be applied at sowing. Apply 10-15 kg S and 0.5 kg B/acre in deficient soils.

Water management: Four to six irrigations are needed during the rabi crop season. If six irrigations are given, they should be applied as two before flowering, one at the time of flowering, two after flowering and one at the early grain-filling stage. If only five irrigations are given, one irrigation at the vegetative stage may be avoided; and if only four irrigations are given, irrigation after the dough stage may be avoided. The irrigation should, however be changed suitably if adequate rains are received.

Harvesting and post harvest handling: Maize can be harvested when the husk has dried and turned brown. Apart from hand-picking, combined harvester may also be used for quick harvesting. After manual harvesting, depending upon the cultivated area, manual shellers or maize dehusker-cum-sheller or maize thresher may be used for separating grains from cobs. The optimum moisture in grain for long-term storage should be below 14%. Portable Maize Dryer can also be used for reducing the moisture content of the cobs. Sun drying of the cobs and seeds is required in absence of other drying options prior to marketing as moisture above optimum level reduces market prices and increases chance of aflatoxin contamination.

Baby corn
Site selection/Soil type: Baby corn is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: The sowing to be avoided in areas receiving temperature of less than 100C at any of the crop growth stages for higher yield of baby corn. It can be sown round the year in India expect second fortnight of December to end of January in Northern India. This crop needs isolation of at least 400 m from normal maize as pollination deteriorates its quality. 10-15 days isolation in sowing time also ensures quality baby corn.

Land preparation: Baby corn needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management.

Seed rate: About 10-12 kg of seed per acre should be used.

Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.

2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew

3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot

4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: Southern side planting is advised on East-West oriented ridges. For proper germination and early vigor, seed should be sown at 3.5-5 cm depth. Bed planter with incline plate seed metering system can precisely place the maize seed at required depth of 3.5-5.0 cm and does simultaneous operation of raised beds making and planting. One line of maize on each raised bed is desirable when sole crop of maize is planted keeping seed to seed spacing at 15-20 cm. Optimum plant density (33,724 to 44,966/acre) should be maintained to tap full potentials of hybrids.

Weed management: Weeds damage significantly to baby corn production and the critical period for crop-weed completion is 15-40 days after sowing.

Cultural control: a) Two manual hoeing at 15 and 30 DAS; b) Inter-cropping of one or two rows of fodder cowpea in between maize rows reduces weed problem considerably.

Mechanical control: Mechanical weed control in maize is possible through tractor drawn cultivator and rotary weeder; Self-propelled power weeder; and animal drawn blade harrow. Mechanical weed control using tractor mounted implements can only be done during the early crop stages because limited tractor and cultivator ground clearance damage the crop foliage at later growth stages. Working depth of weeding implements should be shallow to prevent plant roots damage.

Chemical control: Recommended dose of Atrazine at pre-emergence followed by either of the post-emergence herbicide for effective weed control (mentioned below) is also equally effective. Selective herbicides for baby corn

HerbicideFormulationsDose (g ai/acre)Time of application (DAS)
Atrazine50 % WP400 0-2
Topramezone33.6 % SC1220-30
Tembotrione34.4% SC5020-30

Integrated weed management: Pre-emergence atrazine application followed by one hand weeding at 35-40 days gives good weed control.
Nutrient management: Since baby corn is consumed as vegetable organically grown baby corn has market demand both at local and international level. The organic input mentioned for the normal kharif maize to be used for organic baby corn production. For higher yield integrated nutrient management found beneficial for baby corn and organic sources option mentioned in kharif maize to be used along with chemical fertilizer mentioned as below:

Crop stageScheduleFertilizer (kg/acre)
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
Before/at sowing   Basal10504010
4 leaf stageIst split26
8 leaf stage2nd split40
Before detasseling3rd split32
After detasseling/one picking4th split20

Water management: Young seedlings, knee high stage, silking and picking are the most sensitive stages for water stress for baby corn and irrigation should be ensured at these stages. Light and frequent irrigations are desirable for baby corn. 

Harvesting and post harvest handling: It is shortest duration maize crop and gets ready for harvesting within two-three months of planting and harvested in 60-70 days during kharif and 80-100 days in rabi season. The crop should be harvested after 1-3 days of silk emergence. Harvesting should be done in morning or evening and stored under cool conditions in shed. After dehusking cobs should preferably kept under wrap and refrigerated.

Other essential practice:

Isolation requirement: This crop needs isolation of at least 400 m from normal maize as pollination deteriorates its quality.

Detasseling: Detasseling is needed in baby corn for quality assurance. It is done by removing the tassel of the plant as soon as it emerges from the flag leaf. It should be practiced row-wise. While detasseling, leaf should not be removed which will otherwise affect net photosynthesis and ultimately reduce average baby corn yield. However, this is not needed when male sterile baby corn cultivars are chosen for cultivation.

Intercropping: In general, short duration varieties of intercrops to be preferred for intercropping with baby corn. In kharif season, cowpea for green pods and fodder purposes and coriander for green leaves can be intercropped with baby corn. Baby corn can be intercropped with vegetable crops viz. spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, coriander, sugar beet, radish etc which is particularly suitable in rabi season. Recommended dose of fertilizers of intercrops should be applied in addition to the recommended dose of fertilizers of baby corn.

Sweet corn:

Site selection/Soil type: Sweet corn is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: The sowing to be avoided in areas receiving temperature of less than 100C at any of the crop growth stages. At sowing, temperature below 15 0C may lead to rotten seed. The increase in temperature to more than 35 0C at tasseling i.e. 45-55 days after sowing leads to tassel blast and lesser grain setting. Therefore, sweet corn can be sown from June to October and in February in Northern India and throughout the year in southern India. This crop needs isolation of at least 400 m from normal maize as pollination deteriorates its quality. 10-15 days isolation in sowing time also ensures quality sweet corn.

Land preparation: Sweet corn needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management.

Seed rate: About 2.5-3kg of seed per acre should be used.

Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.

2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew

3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot

4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: Due to costlier seed and lesser plant population, seedling transplanting is beneficial in sweet corn. The seedling should be transplanted when plants are 15-25 cm tall. Transplanting is also beneficial for getting early sweet corn in market for fetching higher prices. Optimum plant density (17,986 to 21,583/acre) should be maintained to tap full potentials of hybrids. Keep row and plant spacing at 75*25-30 cm.

Weed management: Weeds damage significantly to sweet corn production and the critical period for crop-weed completion is 15-45 days after sowing.

Cultural control: a) Two manual hoeing at 15 and 30 DAS; b) Inter-cropping of one or two rows of fodder cowpea in between maize rows reduces weed problem considerably.

Mechanical control: Mechanical weed control in maize is possible through tractor drawn cultivator and rotary weeder; Self-propelled power weeder; and animal drawn blade harrow. Mechanical weed control using tractor mounted implements can only be done during the early crop stages because limited tractor and cultivator ground clearance damage the crop foliage at later growth stages. Working depth of weeding implements should be shallow to prevent plant roots damage.

Chemical control: Recommended dose of atrazine at pre-emergence followed by either of the post-emergence herbicide for effective weed control (mentioned below) is also equally effective. Selective herbicides for sweet cron

HerbicideFormulationsDose (g ai/acre)Time of application (DAS)
Atrazine50 % WP400 0-2 (preemergence)
Topramezone33.6 % SC1220-30 (Post emergence)
Tembotrione34.4% SC5020-30 (Post emergence)

Integrated weed management: Pre-emergence atrazine application followed by one hand weeding at 35-40 days gives good weed control.

Nutrient management: The organic input mentioned for the normal kharif maize can be used for organic sweet corn production. For higher yield, integrated nutrient management found beneficial for and organic sources option mentioned in kharif maize to be used along with chemical fertilizer mentioned as below:

Crop stageScheduleFertilizer (kg/acre)
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
Before/at sowing Basal45453010
25 DASIst split35
Flowering2nd split20

Water management: The most critical period to have adequate moisture is during tasseling and silking. Growers should be prepared to irrigate at least 2.5-4.0 cm a week in order to produce high quality sweet corn.

Harvesting and post harvest handling: This crop also gets ready for harvest just 20 days after pollination i.e. within 65-75 days in kharif and 80-100 days in rabi season. The cobs should be plucked during morning or evening time. At high temperature due to conversion of fructose into polysaccharides it losses flavor. Due to this reason, sweet corn cultivation to be avoided in spring season. Harvested green cobs should be immediately transported to the cold storage in refrigerated trucks.

Other essential practices:

Isolation requirement: This crop needs isolation of at least 400 m from normal maize as pollination deteriorates its quality.

Intercropping: In general, short duration varieties of intercrops to be preferred for intercropping with sweet corn. In kharif season, cowpea for green pods and fodder purposes and coriander for green leaves can be intercropped with sweet corn. Sweet corn can be intercropped with vegetable crops viz. spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, coriander, sugar beet, radish etc which is particularly suitable in rabi season. Recommended dose of fertilizers of intercrops should be applied in addition to the recommended dose of fertilizers of sweet corn.

Fodder maize

Site selection/Soil type: Fodder maize is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: The sowing to be avoided in areas receiving temperature of less than 100C at any of the crop growth stages for higher yield of fodder maize. It can be sown round the year in India expect second fortnight of December to end of January in Northern India. However, fodder maize is most profitable in kharif season, which can be used for silage preparation.

Land preparation: Fodder maize needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management.

Seed rate: About 25kg of seed per acre should be used. Tall, leafy, succulent, late maturing and stay-green type cultivars are desirable for fodder purpose.

Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.

2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew

3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot

4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: Sowing should be done using normal seed drill. Optimum plant density (134,898/acre) should be maintained for good harvest. Keep spacing at 30*10 cm.

Weed management: Weeding in generally not required as the high-density planting leads to less penetration of sunlight resulting in poor growth of weeds.

Nutrient management

Crop stageScheduleFertilizer (kg/acre)
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
Before/at sowing Basal55553010
25-30 DASIst split55

Water management: It requires 5-6 irrigations at 10 days interval during summer season, 3-4 during Rabi and 1-2 during rainy season when rainfall interval exceeds 12-15 days.

Harvesting and post harvest handling: Harvesting should be done just after flowering (at 60-70 DAS) for better quality fodder.

Silage maize

Site selection/Soil type: Maize is very sensitive to water-logging and considerable yield losses occur if, the crop faces water-stagnation for more than two days. Hence, it is better to plant the crop on well-drained sandy-loam to silty-loam soil types.

Time of planting: Generally, the ideal sowing time is June 20 to end of July (Kharif) or 15 January to 16 February (spring).

Land preparation: Silage maize needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management. Maize can also be successfully produced under zero-till conditions using happy seeder or zero till multi-crop planter.

Seed rate: About 8 kg of seed per acre should be used.

Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.

2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew

3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot

4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: In kharif season crop, it is always desirable to go for raised bed planting to protect the crop from water logging. In raised bed planting, 70 cm wide ridges (40 cm ridge and 30 cm furrow) are prepared with the help of bed planter. Bed planter with incline plate seed metering system can precisely place the maize seed at required depth of 3.5-5.0 cm and does simultaneous operation of raised beds making and planting. One line of maize on each raised bed is desirable when sole crop of maize is planted keeping seed to seed spacing at 20 cm. Optimum plant density (30,000/acre) should be maintained to tap full potentials of hybrids. Southern side planting is advised on East-West oriented ridges. Happy seeder or zero-till bed planters with inclined plate to be used for crop establishment under zero tillage or for sowing under crop residue.
Evaporative losses of water during spring season from the soil under flat as well as raised bed planting is higher and hence crop suffers from moisture stress. Under such conditions, it is always advisable to grow maize in furrows for proper growth, seed setting and higher productivity. Zero-till planning is beneficial in spring maize after harvesting of potato, mustard etc.

  • Green manuring: Green manuring crops like dhaincha/sunhemp/cowpea at 12/20/20 kg seed rate/acre, respectively are very useful. Fifty days old crop is to be ploughed down and reserve the field for 10 days for decomposition before sowing of maize.
  • Straw of summer mungbean/cowpea may be buried before sowing of maize or/with
  • Farm yard manure/Compost @ 6 tonnes/acre or vermicompost @ 3 tonnes/acre
  • Application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB and NPK consortia for seed treatment @ 200 g/acre or liquid formulation @ 100 ml/acre.
  • Soil application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB, VAM and NPK consortia @ 5-6 kg/acre.

Weed management: Weeds presence significantly reduces maize production and the critical period for crop-weed completion is 15-45 days after sowing.

Cultural control: a) Two manual hoeing at 15 and 30 DAS; b) Inter-cropping of one or two rows of fodder cowpea in between maize rows reduces weed problem considerably.

Mechanical control: Mechanical weed control in maize is possible through tractor drawn cultivator and rotary weeder; Self-propelled power weeder and animal drawn blade harrow. Mechanical weed control using tractor mounted implements can only be done during the early crop stages because limited tractor and cultivator ground clearance damage the crop foliage at later growth stages. Working depth of weeding implements should be shallow to prevent plant roots damage.

Chemical control: Recommended dose of atrazine at pre-emergence followed by either of the post-emergence herbicide for effective weed control (mentioned below) is also equally effective. Selective herbicides for maize

HerbicideFormulationsDose (g ai/acre)Time of application (DAS)
Atrazine50 % WP400 0-2
Topramezone33.6 % SC1220-30
Tembotrione34.4% SC5020-30

Integrated weed management: Pre-emergence atrazine application followed by one hand weeding at 35-40 days gives good weed control.

Text Box: •	Green manuring: Green manuring crops like dhaincha/sunhemp/cowpea at 12/20/20 kg seed rate/acre, respectively are very useful. Fifty days old crop is to be ploughed down and reserve the field for 10 days for decomposition before sowing of maize.
•	Straw of summer mungbean/cowpea may be buried before sowing of maize or/with
•	Farm yard manure/Compost @ 6 tonnes/acre or vermicompost @ 3 tonnes/acre
•	Application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB and NPK consortia for seed treatment @ 200 g/acre or liquid formulation @ 100 ml/acre.
•	Soil application of Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB, VAM and NPK consortia @ 5-6 kg/acre.
•	Paddy/wheat/maize straw compost at 0.18 tonnes/acre.

Nutrient management: Hybrid maize is very responsive to nutrient application and has slightly high nutrient requirement as compare to other cereal due to high yield potential. It can be grown both organically or by integrated nutrient management involving organic and inorganic nutrient supplementation.

Organic nutrient management: Following options for nutrient management in organic maize production to be used based on availability in suitable combination:

 Integrated nutrient management:
Application of 6 tonnes/acre well decomposed farm yard manure/compost mixed with Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB, VAM and NPK consortia @ 5-6 kg/acre or seed treatment with Azatobacter/Azospirillum with PSB and NPK consortia for seed treatment @ 200 each/acre or liquid formulation @ 200 g/acre or liquid formulation @ 100 ml/acre needed for better moisture retention and initial boost of the crop. Macro-and micronutrient requirements of the crop need to be accomplished through use of suitable fertilizers. The following schedule of fertilizer may be used:

Rate of different fertilizers

VarietiesScheduleFertilizer (kg/acre)
UreaDAPMOPZnSO4.7H2O
Long duration hybridBasal335516010
Ist split33
2nd split33
Short duration hybrid, compositeBasal25278010
Ist split25
2nd split25

Maize is sensitive to Zinc deficiency. Zinc deficient crop shows stunted growth and develop short inter-nodes. A white (or pale-yellowish) tissue with reddish veins appears on leaf blade. To mitigate it 10 kg/acre ZnSO4.7H2O or 6.5 kg/acre ZnSO4.H2O should be applied at sowing. Apply 10-15 kg S and 0.5 kg B/acre in deficient soils.

Water management: Water requirement of maize is 500–800 mm per growing season. Under kharif season, partially water requirement is met by rainfall. Hence, 1-4 irrigations are required, which may vary depending on frequency of rainfall. Adequate moisture at germination, pre-tasseling, silking and grain-filling stages should be ensured through irrigation, if rainfall is not there. If available, the sprinkler irrigation up to knee length stage is very good for maize crop. In ridge-sown crop, irrigation should be given in furrow up to 2/3 of height of the ridge.

             Spring maize needs nearly 10-15 irrigations sometimes even higher as the evapo-transpiration demand is quite higher in summer season. Hence, a water use-efficient irrigation system i.e. drip method is desirable under spring sown maize. Apply first irrigation at 25-30 DAS. Under non-drip irrigation, apply irrigation at 2 weeks interval upto10th April and on per week basis after this, up to maturity. From water conservation point of view spring maize without drip irrigation is not recommended.

Harvesting and post harvest handling: Silage maize harvesting should be done 25-30 days after flowering (milky to dough stage of grain). Harvesting of maize for silage purpose may be done using Fodder Auto-chopper Loader Machine which is made available to farmers under cooperative societies at compensatory rates of Rs 4,000-5,000/acre.

Seed production

Site selection/Soil type: Seed production should be taken in well drained ,weed and diseases free soil and preferably the fields where preceding crop was not maize to minimize roguing and maintain the genetic purity.

Time of planting: Appropriate time of showing is very important for better crop establishment. For most part of India ,first week of July during kharif and first week of November during rabi are the optimum time of showing to avoid flowering from heavy rains during kharif and low temperature should not coincide with flowering .Rains during flowering wash the pollen in kharif and low temperature during winter causes mortally and killing another .

Land preparation : Maize needs well pulverized, fine and smooth field for seed emergence and root growth. Hence, deep tillage operation using mould board plough followed by two harrowing and one planking is needed for good field preparation and early season weed management. Maize can also be successfully produced under zero-till conditions using happy seeder or zero till multi-crop planter.

Seed rate: The seed rate depends on (a) seed size/test weight of male and female seed, (b) plant type as in case of erect plant higher seed rate is required to accommodate large number of plants per unit area than in spreading plant types and (c) male: female ratio. In general the optimum seed rate is 15 kg/ha for female and 10 kg/ha for male with at least 80% germination.

 Seed treatment: Untreated seeds should be treated with fungicides and insecticides before sowing to protect it from seed and soil borne diseases and some insect-pests.

1) Bavistin + Captan in 1:1 ratio@2g/kg seed for Turcicum leaf blight, Banded leaf and sheath blight, Maydis leaf blight etc.

2) Apran 35 SD@4g/kg seed for Brown stripe downy mildew

3) Captan 2.5g/kg for Pythium Stalk Rot

4) Imidachlorpit@4g/kg or Fipronil @4ml/Kg seed for termite and shoot fly.

Method of sowing/Spacing: It is desirable to plant the crop on ridges Sowing should be done on the southern side of the east-west ridges, which helps in good germination. Planting should be done at proper spacing Optimum row and plant spacing should be kept at 60 and 20 cm, respectively. This spacing will ease the movement in the field for roguing and removal of tassels. Proper spacing also helps in improving the test weight. Identification labels/tags should be put on the male and female lines to distinguish between them.

Weed management: Weeds are the serious problem in maize, particularly in wet (monsoon) season that competes with maize for nutrient and causes yield loss up to 35%. Therefore, timely weed management is needed for achieving higher yield. Atrazine being a selective and broad­ spectrum herbicide in maize checks the emergence of both broad leaves and most of the grasses. Pre-emergence application of atrazine @ of 1.0-1.5 kg a.i/ha in 600 litre water is effective way for control of weeds . While spraying, the person who is doing spray should move backward so that the ‘atrazine film on the soil surface may not be disturbed. Preferably, three nozzle booms may be used for proper ground coverage and saving time. One to two hoeings are recommended for aeration and uprooting of the remaining weeds. While doing hoeing, again the person should move backward to avoid compaction and to ensure better aeration.

Nutrient management: In general, inbreds are slow growing and weak in nature and have poor nutrient uptake efficiency. Therefore, inbreds require high fertility as compare to hybrids. It is desirable to apply FYM@15t/ha 15 days prior to seeding. The fertilizer nutrients required for inbreds are N 180-200 kg, P2080 kg, K20 80 kg and ZnS04 25 kg/ha. Full dose of phosphorus, potash and zinc and 10% N should be applied as basal. The remaining dose of nitrogen should be applied in four splits as per details given below to avoid losses and meet the requirement throughout the crop cycle:

1. 20% N at41eafstage

2. 30% N at 8 leaf stage

3. 30% N at flowering stage

4. 10% N at grain filling

Water management: First irrigation should be applied very carefully. Water should not overflow on the ridges (Photo 14). The irrigation should be applied in furrows upto 2/3rd height of the ridges. Irrigation should be given as and when required by the crop depending upon the rains and moisture holding capacity of the soil. Light and frequent irrigations are desirable for inbred parents. Young seedlings, knee high stage, flowering, grain filling and 10 days after grain filling are the most sensitive stages for water stress for inbreds and irrigation should be ensured at these stages.

 Harvesting and post harvest handling: Maize can be harvested when the husk has dried and turned brown. Male parent should be harvested first than the female and should be kept separately. Optimum moisture content in grain at harvesting should be around 20%. The harvested cobs should be spread evenly instead of making heap.

Other essential practices

Removal of off-type plants and thinning

i) At early stage i.e. after 12-15 days of sowing, off-type plants and excess plants should be removed and proper plant to plant distance of 20-25 cm should be maintained to provide an equal opportunity to each plant to grow,

 ii) At knee high stage and

iii) At flowering i.e. before anthesis.

Dissimilar plants should be removed from the male and female lines to maintain the genetic purity of seed. Dissimilar tassel bearing male plant should also be removed.

Earthing up

One day prior to earthing up, third split of nitrogen should be applied followed by hoeing. On the next day earthing up operation should be completed with movement of the person in the backward direction. This operation should be done before tasseling stage to save the crop from lodging.

Detasseling

Detasseling in female should be done before anthesis. It should be practiced row-wise. One person should follow to monitor the each row to check that no part of the tassel is left inside. The process of detasseling should continue for 8-10 days. While detasseling, leaf should not be removed which will otherwise reduce the photosynthesis. It has been observed that the removal of 1 to 3 leaves along with tassel reduces 5-15% yield. The removed tassel should not be thrown in the field but fed to the cattle as it is nutritive fodder.

Stages of crop inspection

 1) At the time of sowing purpose:to monitor the land, isolation distance, planting ratio of male: female, proper sowing time, seed treatment etc

 2) During pre flowering/vegetative stage purposeto verify the roguing and removal of off type plants

 3) During flowering stage purpose : to check disease and pest infestation

4) During post-flowering and pre-harvest stage purpose:to remove the late and diseased plants 

 5) Harvesting time purpose:to see the proper time of harvesting