How to cultivate/grow corn: complete guide
Corn farming/plantation is a very great agricultural investment as it is very lucrative because it is among the best agro products and very demanded in every continent. Corn farming business is very huge that companies, governments and majority of the masses invest in corn farming, yet, it is slightly satisfying the domestic demand for it.
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Corn is a warm weather crop which is suitable for 60 to 70 F and it comes in various colors, some are totally yellow, some are brown,some are white, some are mixture of both yellow, brown and red etc.
They vary in height, between 5 feet to 15 feet in height and one corn plant could carry up to 4 corns.
In this article, we will be learning about the complete information/guide about corn farming.
There are some preparations that has to be made before starting a corn plantation business, these preparation are very necessary for the successful farming of your crops and good yields, they are:
Land: Land is by far the most needed asset to have before any other thing. This is due to the fact that it is where the crops will be planted.
The first step is to locate a good farm land for this and prepare it.
A good farm land should be a good fertile loamy soil with pH of 50 and above.
The land should also be exposed to good amount of sunlight and rainfall, if not, use a good irrigation system to provide water for the crops.
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Another thing to consider in selecting land is wind and erosion. It is no news that erosion washes away the soil nutrients and damages the soil itself, and the wind could uproot and bend the corn plants, so lack of these are also used to determine a good farm land.
Preparation of the land starts by cutting the trees and clearing of the bushes in the farm land if any.
To clear the bush, it’s either you use a machine or do it manually, depending on the size of the farm land
When you are through with the land preparation, it is advisable to pour manure or compost on the cleared land and leave it.
The best month to do this is around February and March, so that in April, you will plant the crops.
Types of corn
There are four types of corn, each of them is unique in its own way. the list are below.
FLINT CORN / INDIAN CORN
This is a type of corn that is has many colors in it, it is grown mostly in South America and central America. This type of corn is used in the North America mostly for decoration purpose. It has a hard outer shell.
DENT CORN / FIELD CORN
This is the type of corn that is farmed mainly in the United States, it is mainly used for the manufacture of animal feed, it is also used to in some food supplements for human consumption.
Pop corn is one of the most popular type of corn in the whole world. infact, everybody loves it and enjoy taking it, most especially either in a Cinema hall while watching movies, show, festival or any sort of entertainment, people take pop corn as a snack.
It has its own shape, moisture content and starch level. It’s outer layer is hard and inside it, the starchy center is very soft which when heated makes it to pop and display it’s whitish starchy center. Although other types of corn will burst open when heated, but pop corn is unique because it burst open in entirety when heated!.
Sweet corn is a bit different from the other types of corn mentioned above. Unlike other corns, this corn is not left to dry before it can be consumed, it is eaten immediately after harvest ( fresh ). It is very rich in sugar, unlike the others. In my country, it is used to prepare many kind of delicious foods, it is normally canned and sold as fresh as it is when harvested.
After you have cleared the land and left it for the manure you poured on it to mature and get In to the ground, this should last, depending on the time the first rain come or you can spray water on the land to facilitate the rot of the compost manure or the soil absorbing the manure.
If you are waiting for the first rain, and it came, leave it up to few days or a week so that the manure will be fully absorbed in to the land and enrich it before you plant.
To plant, you need to make holes of 2 inches deep and give a space of 1 foot.
By this stage, if you haven’t gotten your corn, get the corn seeds, depending on the type of corn you want to plant. You can either get it in the market or order some good ones from online store/stores and get them delivered to you.
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Choose the type that is appropriate to you and the wether in your area and buy the seeds.
When you are through with making the holes, then plant the corn seeds on an average of 3 to 4 seeds per hole and cover the holes with soil.
The corn seeds will start germinating in a period of 7 days or a little bit more. First, it will look like a tiny weed sprouting out of the ground, at this stage, please do avoid entering the farm land as you might mistakely step on them and kill some.
In 2 or 3 days, they will be big enough, by then, it is save to enter as you can now see them clearly.
It is important to guard them at this stage from fowl, or duck and other animals. Take a bunch of green leaves and cover their bottom, or cover the farm with net so as to prevent any animal from penetrating.
Care of corn farm
Corn could be said to be a very fragile crop when it is still small, this is because it is not strong at all as any slightest push, touch or even stepping on it would destroy it in totality and also diseases could easily tamper with it.
So it is important that corn should be taken care of! here are ways to take care of corn field:
Weeding: Just like any other agricultural crop, corn is not excempted from weed attack.
Weed do destroy or deter the growth and proper development of corn if left unchecked as corn is a very fragile crop.
Within a short while of planting the corn seeds, ( less than 2 weeks) weeds will sprout out from the ground in every angle of the farm, this also is determined by the land.
When this happens, they need to be removed immediately or they will affect the young corn crops negatively.
To weed your corn farm, it’s either you do it manually with weeding tools like hoe or you use weed killer.
Watering: Watering in agriculture is the act of spraying/providing measured amount of water to farm crops.
Water is provided to farm through irrigation, pipe, and watering bucket.
This act is only necessary during the dry season farming as it is a means to provide the crops with adequate water.
In the case of dry season corn farming, watering is a very important aspect of it because without it, the corns will just die!
The type of water you provide to the corn depends on the size of the farm and nearness to water bodies like lake , river, stream. If your farm is near to any of these, you can use proper irrigation, or lay good pipeline to the water body that flow through the pipe to your farm.
If your farm is not that large, watering bucket/can is good.
Pest/Disease control:. Pest and diseases are on of the cares you need to give to the corn farm if you want them to yield a high turnout and for you to make a high profit.
During the seed era and the era of early growth of the corn crops, some certain diseases and pests will attack. At this time, the seed is attacked mostly by the insects and rats, this happens when the seeds are not kept in a good and safe place.
When it is planted, If not properly done with the necessary insect killer will still be attacked by insects in the ground. Anthills are the main enemy corn seed has when planted.
Some diseases like Corn Stalk Diseases, Rhizoctonia, Southern corn leaf blight, Eyespot, Anthracnose, Common rust etc.
When any of these diseases attack, it is appropriate to make consultation with any specialist you could get in your area.
And also before planting, try and apply the seeds with appropriate medications as directed by the specialist within your area.
During the mid stage of the corns, look out for caterpillars and pick them one by one or use insecticide on them.
When the corns have developed and have matured corns in them, it is advisable to look out for pests like the crow, fowl, squirrel, owl etc. The solution to this is to use scarecrows to scare them away.
Adding Manure/Fertilizer: Manure is another important care to give the corns.
This is very important when the soil is not fertile enough to sustain the crops, so in this case, manure or fertilizer has to be applied to improve the soil fertility. To apply fertilizer, take a spoonful of fertilizer and place on the bottom of the corns, mixing them with sand.
For manure, take them and dump them on the bottom of each of the corns and leave them there so that rain could complete the work or if it is in a dry season, spraying water on them will disolve them into the soil for effective result.
Corn is a very fast growing crop, this is due to it’s fast growing nature. Although the type of corn involved determines the growth rate.
In an average corn plant take about 3 to 5 months to grow corns and mature. at this stage, it is ready to harvest.
To know that the corn is matured enough, the cornstalks will start drying and Browning and the corn itself will get bigger and stronger, if you see these, then it is time for a harvest.
Some types like the sweet corn should be harvested before they are fully brown so as to still get the sweetness because they will be gone once this type of corn is over matured.
To harvest the corn plants, it’s either you do it in a traditional way ( manual) or with machine.
To harvest them in the traditional way means to do it with hands. To do this, go to the farm with a basket or bag and break the corns from their plant and cut the plant into pieces with Cutlass and drop them on the farm for future manure.
This method is only applicable in a small farm unless there are many workers at your disposal who will do the harvesting for you.
The other way is to use machine like the harvester to do the harvesting work.
With this machine, it is very easy to harvest the whole farm, no matter how large the farm is quickly and easily.
After the harvest, drop every other thing apart from the corn it self littered all over the farm land, as this will help the soil when they decay.
After harvesting the corns, the next is storage. Storage is very necessary in corn farming business especially for big farmers who will not sell all of them at the same time, so they need to store them till they are ready to sell them.
There are many ways corn could be stored, but it depends on what you want to store the corn for.
If you are storing it for edible purpose, here are ways you could do it.
Remove the husk of the corns,put the corns in a plastic can or tin or even a nylon or bag and put it into a refrigerator, this is just fine and great if you are not storing it for a long period of time, sweet corn is best stored this way.
Another method is, remove the husk, peel / bring the corn seed out, put them in a container and cover it,make sure the corn is dry and store the container in a dry place Note – don’t store a wet corn in a container, or they will be useless in a matter of days.
If you are storing it for a long time, may be you are planning to replant the seeds next time ( farming season) or you are planning to sell it to people or in the market, I have a method for you.
Store around the fire place. This method is mostly used by me, my grandmother used it to store large number of corn seeds for replanting. She will bring some corn that she want to plant the next farming season, tie them together without husking, place them like 3 feet on top of our fire place, leave them there till all year long, by the next farming season, the corn are planted and they grow awesomely well.
Another method for long term storage is to bring the corn you want to store, remove the husk and place them under hot sun to dry. do this every day for like 1 week and store them in a bag and keep away insects and rats.
Importance of corn farming
Corn has many importance for all living things including crops, like I stated many time above. The importance of corn are:
It serves as food, this is by far the most important need of corn. Corn is used to prepare many kinds of delicious delicacies in many different ways and different cultures, some of them are roasting, boiling, frying, using as popcorn,pap etc. These are just few popular foods to be made with corn, but in the real sense, there are many more if you go to different places.
Apart from man, corn is a great food for animals like fowl, pig, rabbit, turkey, duck, geese, crow, squirrel etc. Some of these animals I mentioned love corn and even act as pest to it by going to the farm to eat it.
Some of their feeds like fowl feed is made from corn.
It serves as good source of nutrition. Corn serves as a good source of nutrition like vitamins, carbohydrate, etc.
It serves as a source of raw materials for Industries, they use it to produce starch, and flour which is used for baking.
The uses of corn is unlimited, just as the market is!. This farming business has produced many millionaires, so it is a nice agro investment.
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