Maize is a staple food in Kenya consumed by around 85% of the population.It's one of the most planted crops for both cash and subsistence purposes.Maize can grow in most areas of Kenya.Good quality maize attracts better market prices that help farmers earn high income.A proper way to tell if maize farming is profitable is by having a record to look back and compare.
So without much ado, let us discuss tips of making commercial maize farming a lucrative business.
1) Fertilizer Application
To realize high quality yields,the soil fertility should be enhanced through application of fertilizers.Some of the fertilizers that can be applied upon an expert's advice are Di ammonium phosphate,Urea and calcium ammonium nitrate.Farmers can test the soil to see if it's suitable for maize growing by taking a sample to a crop research laboratory or better still one can test using a mobile soil kit.
Maize plants grow well in fertile soil with a PH ranging from 5.5 to 7.5.Maize can be grown in many soil types such as loamy and sandy soil.The soil has to be rich in organic content and should have a good water containing capacity.Maize seeds should be planted in rows.Spacing varies depending on the maize type.Spacing of 20x6 inches is good for pop corn while 12x4 inches is good for fodder production.You can sow the seeds manually or mechanically with the help of a tractor.The maize seeds need to be treated with fungicides to prevent seed and soil borne diseases.
Maize ought to be weeded 2 or 3 times.First weeding should be done 2 weeks from the date of planting.Next can be after one month.A farmer can opt to use chemical spray to minimize costs of labor.
4) Pests and Diseases
Just like any other crops,maize is susceptible to pests and diseases.Common pests that affect maize include: corn worm,stalk borer,shoot bug, termites and pink borer among others.Maize diseases include: Downy mildew,leaf spot, post flowering stalk e.t.c.
Maize can be harvested when the outer cover turns from green to white.When the moisture of the grain reduces to about 20-17%,it's an ideal time to harvest the maize.During harvest,care has to be exercised to ensure the produce is not affected in quality and quantity.Maize can be harvested between 90-180 days depending on the type.Harvesting should be done in an orderly manner because missing some plants means losing money.
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