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Key Pre-Planting Considerations for Maize Production

Thinking about Maize production, here’s what you need to do pre-planting;

  1. Proper Site Selection: Deep, fertile, well drained sandy loam soils. pH of 5-7. Avoid soils that are waterlogged, sandy and compacted.
  2. Soil Testing. Helps you know the soil pH, Identify any nutrient deficiencies, estimate fertilizer requirements and the cost of purchase. In the absence of a test, observe history of crop performance, presence of indicator plants that show fertility such as elephant grass, Guinea grass, Commelina Spp etc.
  3. Land Preparation. Bush clearing, tree and tree stump removal, ploughing and harrowing. Activities should be done at end of harvest season or at least 30 days before planting. Can be done using manual Labour, Animal traction or tractors. Also use this time to apply manure after first ploughing then incorporate when doing harrowing.
  4. Seed Selection. Choose whether to plant Hybrids and OPVs. Hybrids can not be replanted, give higher yields, often tolerant to drought and diseases, mature earlier and resists lodging. OPVs are cheaper, can be replanted, give lower yields, are susceptible to drought and diseases and take longer in the garden. Seed should be uniform, with over 85% germination, pure, clean, not damaged, and dry (utmost 13% Moisture Content).
  5. Planting Time, Spacing, Depth, method and basal Fertilizer to be applied. Plant at the onset of the rainy season. Spacing is 75cm by 60cm, 2 seed planted per hole. Plant a depth of 2-3cm. For poor soils, use DAP or NPK 17.17.17 at a rate of 5g (bottle top) per plant. Put the fertilizer, cover with soil and then the two seeds and cover with soil.

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