Maize Farming

Maize Farming

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INTRODUCTION

Maize (Zea mays L), is from Spanish: maíz after Taíno mahiz, known in many English-speaking countries as corn, is a grain domesticated by the Olmec and Mayans during Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the European explorers and traders carried maize from America to Europe and introduced it to other countries. The Adoption of Maize in Africa occurred during the British occupation, from the late 19th century.

In fact, until the 1920s, most of the maize produced by European settlers in Kenya was exported, not eaten domestically. The first “scientific” maize research program began in Kenya in Kitale in 1955.

PRODUCTION

Varieties Long rains: H(614), H(525), H(626), H(622), H(511),Short rains: H(512), 502, 504, 904, 9401, 628, 629, 6210, 6213
Seed Rate Use 25kg of seed per hectare
Fertilizer Rate Apply 60kg of DAP per Hectare at planting and 60kg of CAN per hectare Ha for topdressing
Planting Spacing 75cm x 25cm for 1 plant per hole and 75cmx50cm for 2 plants per holeEnsure a plant population of 37,000 plants ( for low potential areas) and 53,000 plants (for high potential areas) per hectare
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Maize stalk borer Plants have holes (windows) on the leaves small.Black caterpillars may have seen in the funnel. Dust with stalk borer granules 2 weeks after emergence and 5 weeks later incorporation of Stover
Army worms Leaves  have holes (eaten)Black larvae seen on leaves Spray with insecticide like Sumithion or Fernitrothion
Maize tassel beetle Maize silk eatenBlue beetles appear on silks Spray with insecticides like Malathion or Fernitrotion
Striga weed Purple flowered weedStunting of crop Uprooting the striga weed.Use farm yard manure and fertilizer.

Use striga-resistant varieties like KSTP 94 maize

Expected Duration from Planting to Harvesting Long rain varieties: 8-12 months depending on the area temperaturesShort rain varieties: 3-6 months depending on the area temperatures
Harvesting Green Maize: You can harvest maize as green cobs just when the silk is drying and before the cob dry.Dry Maize: You can wait for the cob to dry and harvest it.
Post Harvest and Storage Store in a cool dry place. The moisture level should be below 12%.Use Scania to control weavils during storage
Growing Regions Transmara, Uasin Gishu, Transmara, Nyandarua,
Expected yields 60-80 bags/ha in the long rains 30-40 bags/ha in the short rains seasons

PROCESSING

Processing Maize is mostly processed into Maize Flour for human consumptionIt’s also processed into animal feeds for animal consumption

MARKETING

Place Maize is usually consumed locally / nationally. National Cereal and Produce Board is mandate to buy maize from farmers. However there are intermediaries that buy at farm gate prices and sell to millers, animal feed manufacturers and other retailers.
Price The price vary between Kshs. 1000 to and kshs 4000 per 90 kg bag. It all depends on the season and its availability.

CONSUMPTION

Products / By Products Green Maize for Roasting and CookingDried Maize for mainly Maize Flour

Dried maize makes Pop Corns

Maize stalks used as animal feeds and for making silage. Either while green or while dry.

Cobs are used for heating in rural areas.

Biofuel – Nowadays, maize is being used to produce ethanol, a bio fuel.

Nutritional value – per 100 g Energy 360 kJ (86 kcal); Carbohydrates        19.02 g; Fat 1.18 g; Protein 3.22 g; Water 75.96 g; Vitamin A 9 μg (1%); Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.200 mg (17%); Niacin (vit. B3) 1.700 mg (11%); Vitamin B6 0.093 mg (7%); Folate (vit. B9) 46 μg (12%); Vitamin C     6.8 mg (8%); Iron 0.52 mg (4%); Magnesium 37 mg (10%); Potassium 270 mg (6%)

FACTS & FIGURES

One ear of medium size (6.5 to 7.5 inches long) maize has 90 grams of seed.

BUSINESS CASE

Income Per Hectare: Kshs 120,000 (60 bags * 2000/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 50,000 (40% of Income)

NET    Kshs. 70,000 (60% of Income)

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income) = 18 bags per hectare.

Income Frequency: Once. Where seasons are two, the income is half per season.