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Corn Production

By goGreen | December 24, 2011
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Introduction

Corn ranks second to rice, not only in terms of area devoted to its production but it has been a staple food of about 20% of the total population of the Filipinos. Aside from this, the green corn, boiled or roasted, is a popular snack food and may also be cooked a vegetable or soup. Other by-products of corn include corn flour and syrup, sugar and oil. In terms of nutritive value, corn is richer source of vitamin A than polished rice. It contains high amounts of minerals such as calcium and phosphorous. Moreover, it is also a source of starch derivatives for oil, fibers and other industrial uses.

Corn has also been used as an important ingredients in animal feeds. Corn may be planted anytime of the year provided there is adequate soil moisture. However, it is best to plant from May to June during the wet season and from October to November during the dry season.

 

Recommended Varieties

Seed Selection

Select varieties that are high yielding, early maturing, tolerant to pests and diseases, and adopted to the climatic conditions of the area.

Some parameters of a good seed:

 

Land Preparation

Prepare a well-pulverized field for uniform germination and good root development. Plow at a depth of 15-20 centimeters when soil moisture is right. That is, when soil particles 15 cm below the surface separate and only thin portion sticks to the finger but no ball is formed. Harrow twice with 2-3 passings to break the clods.

If a disc plow is used, plow under corn stubbles at a depth of 18-20 cm. The use of dusc plow enables a farmer to utilize corn stubbles as additional source of fertilizer. Clayey and weedy fields require tow or more plowings and several harrowings.

 

Crop Establishment

Planting

To attain an optimum plant population density of 50,000 – 60,000 about 16-18 kilograms (kg) of hybrid seeds or 18-20 Open Pollinated Variety hybrid seeds per hectare is needed. Space the furrows with 75 cm interval/ Plant sees about 3-5 cm deep when the soil moisture is just right for planting, then cover the seeds with soil.

Thin seedlings to one plant per hill about 7-10 days after emergence.

Success in corn production depends on proper care and maintenance of the crop throughout its life cycle. Refer to the Management Guide for the Various Growth Stages of the Corn Plant.

Cultivation

Cultivation improves soil tilts and control weeds. Off-bar between furrows to aerate medium-textured or heavy soils 22-25 days after planting. Hilling-up 27-30 days after planting or just after side dressing the remaining recommended amount of nitrogen.

If the field is weedy, use an inter-row cultivator (paragut) or employ line weeding.

Nutrient Management

The rate of fertilizer should be based on the results of soil nutrient analysis. Soil samples may be submitted at the Municipal Agriculturist Office in the area or at the regional soils laboratory. Negotiate with the agricultural technologist in the area to determine the general fertilizer recommendation.

Otherwise, use 4 bags of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) per hectare as basal application in the furrows and cover the fertilizer with a thin layer of soil, about 2 cm thick. After 25-30 days of planting, side dress with 4 bags of ammonium sulfate or 2 bags of urea. Cover the fertilizer immediately by shallow hilling up.

During wet season, split application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is recommended. Apply all the needed phosphorous and potassium and half of the recommended amount of N in the furrows before planting. Side dress the other half of N at least 4-5 cm away from the base of the plant 20-24 days after emergence or immediately before hilling-up when there is a right soil moisture. To attain higher yields apply animal manures and crop residues just before land preparation.

Due to the possibility of drought during the dry season, apply all the recommended amount of fertilizer in the furrows just before planting to provide all the needed nutrients to the plants. However, if supplemental irrigation is available, follow the application of fertilizer for the wet season. Cover the fertilizer with 2-4 cm soil to prevent seed injury. Organic fertilizer or compost may be applies in addition to the recommended inorganic fertilizer.

 

Water Management

Insufficient or excessive soil moisture is a limiting factor in corn production. Excess in the rootzone within 36 hours injures the plants.

Insufficient soil moisture during reproductive stage decreases yield from 20-30 percent. When there is no adequate moisture during tasseling stage, irrigate the cornfield by “flush irrigation” if available.

Overhead or sprinkle irrigation may also be sued in elevated or sandy loam soil. In flat rolling furrow irrigation is advisable.

 

Weed Management

To optimize yield control weeds during the critical period – at 28-35 days after planting, should be removed. After this period, weeds may no longer reduce yield significantly.

Weeds can be effectively controlled by combination of two or more practices. It depends on weed species present, availability and comparative cost of control to be employed.

Some of the common weed control are:

 

Pest Management

1. Corn Borer (Asiatic Corn Borer)

Scientific Name:    Ostrinia furnacalis (Guenee)

Local Names:    Dalipog (Ilocano); Amasok or Tibgoy (Bicol/Ilonggo); Tuhob (Cebuano)

Description:

      • Eggs are flat, creamy, shiny and laid in mass (about 25-50 eggs/egg mass) in fish scale-like arrangement on both sides of the corn leaves. Incubation period is 4-5 days.
      • Newly hatched larvae are pinkish with black or brown heads. Later instars are creamy and brownish-yellow. It molts five times from 12-13 days.
      • The pupa is dark red and the pupal period is about 5-12 days,
      • Total development period from egg to adult emergence ranges from 27-52 days.
      • The adult is yellowish brown moth with waxy dark lines on wings with an expansion of about 35 mm.

Plant growth stages affected: Seedling to maturity

Damage:

      • Pinhole lines lesions on leaves caused by first instar larvae.
      • Match head-size holes and elongated lesions on leaves and leaf sheaths caused by second and third instar larvae.
      • Broken stalks and leaves.
      • Premature drying of whole plant and ear

Control Measure:

      • Early and synchronous planting in contiguous areas using resistant varieties
      • Manual picking/crushing of eggs masses and larvae while inspecting the plants
      • Detasseling of clumped tassels one to two days after emergence or detasseling three rows out of four rows of corn plants
      • Trichogramma parasites at 33-35 days after planting (after hilling-up) at 3-4 days intervals.
      • Crop rotation coupled with weeds elimination.

 

2. White Grub (June Beetle)

Scientific Name:    Leucopholis irrotata L.
Local Names:
Larva- Buc-an (panay/Visayan); Ulalo (Tagalog); Abaling (Ilocano); Aruwag (ibanag); Burlod (Cebuano)Adult – Kalibobog (Bicol); Buod (Bohol); Bakukang (Cebuano); Afang (GAddang); Asimuwa (Ibanag); Aros-aros or Abal-abal (Ilocano); Dahueng (Negros Oriental); Salibubang (Kapampangan); Labog-labog(Panay/Visayan); Organo (Surigao/Agusan); Salagubang (Tagalog); Batungol (Waray)

 

Description:

      • The larval stage of the June beetle (simmawa or abal-abal) is fleshy, wrinkled and normally curved. It is white when newly hatched but turns light brown.
      • The full grown larva is pale yellow with blackish abdominal portion due to intestinal contents seen through transparent skin. The dorsal part is covered bu stout brownish and thickly setae. These are longer, weaker and fewer at the ventral surface along the sides of the body. The whole larval period lasts from 252 – 336 days.

Plant Growth stages affected: Emergence to seedling stage (especially during heavy infestation)

Damage:

      • Larvae eats the roots of the corn plant
      • Irregular patches of stunted plant, yellowing or wilting plants

Control Measure:

    • Prepare land thoroughly before planting
    • Practice deep plowing in areas inspected to have chronic grub infestation
    • Seed treatment with chemicals
    • Incorporate corn stubbles (composted) in the soil for white grub to eat instead of the corn plant.

 

3. Corn Seedling Maggot

Scientific Name:    Atherigona oriyzae (Malloch)

Local Names:

Larva – Apihis (Cebuano)

Adult – Bangaw (bicol); Ngilaw (Ilocano); Langaw (Ibanag)

Description:

      • Eggs are elongated, peral-white turning dark when about to hatch, anterior and roundish, slightly curved and laid singly on the outer surface of the leaves. Incubation period is 2-3 days.
      • Newly hatched larvae are creamy white to transparent, elongated and taper towards the head end, becoming dark yellow in the last instar. Larvae undergo three instars from 8-18 days.
      • The pupa is ovoid and light to dark brown. Pupal period is 5-11 days
      • The adults are greenish-black with three blackish stripes on the back of the thorax and three pairs of black spots on the last abdominal segments.

Plant growth stages affected: emergence to early whorl

Damage:

      • Leaf feeding lesions, curling and breaking of young leaves
      • Wilting, drying and rotting of central shoot
      • Infested seedlings show stunted growth and later may produce side tillers

Control Measure:

    • Synchronous planting in contiguous areas
    • Early planting in the growing season to escape high maggot population
    • Clean culture including the removal of alternate host plants
    • Seed treatment with thiodicarb or carbofuran ST before planting

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