Maize

It is not a surprise that Maize is one of the most important cereals in the world, but did you know that it is grown on every continent except for Antarctica? Also, many of the AgroCares partners and customers are cultivating maize either grown for human consumption or for grain and forage. Therefore, we put together a few facts and figures about this remarkable crop.

Maize (Zea Mays) or Corn as it is commonly called in North America, originates from the Andean region in Central America/Mexico and found around 1500 BC. Overall around 50 known species of maize exist, which consist of varying colours, textures, grain shapes and sizes. Most commonly grown types of maize are white and yellow, however maize kernels can come in many different colours depending on genes and pigments.

It is estimated that Maize is grown on 197 million hectares worldwide – out of 300,000 edible plant species only 3 account for 60% of the global calories and proteins; 1. maize, 2. wheat and 3. rice. This highlights the pressure that yields all around the world have to increase to meet the growing demand. With Maize yields having to increase by around 18% to cover demand, despite hotter climates and unreliable precipitation patterns.

Maize is a very adaptable and versatile crop and therefore cultivated in many different climate zones. It is important to choose the right variety to match the local growing season and conditions. Many varieties can be found which are especially drought resistant or biofortified and thus their grains contain more essential micronutrients, those varieties often show great improvement in terms of yields compared to conventional varieties.

Maize belongs to the Gramineae family and is an annual grass. It has a generally short root systems and is therefore susceptible to soil moisture, especially during pollination times. However, as a C4 plant it tends to be more water efficient than plants relying on C3 carbon fixation as rice or wheat. Maize can do well in many different soil types, however very dense clay or sandy soils are not ideal for cultivation. Sufficiently aerated and well drained soils are preferred, due to Maize being vulnerable to waterlogging conditions. Additionally, for ideal growth conditions and high yields the soil pH should be between 5.5 to 7.0 with adequate organic matter content. Therefore, it is advised to apply organic matter/ compost at the time of land preparation before the Maize is being seeded.

If you want to learn more about Maize cultivation and the best practice recommendation provided by the Scanner & Liab please send us a message to support@agrocares.com