What is corn farming?
History of Maize
Maize (Zea May), popularly known as corn is a cereal grain plant first planted in Southern Mexico, the stalk of maize produces ears that yield Kernals (Seed) which are fruits for consumption.
Corn is consumed in many countries of the world in different forms; popcorn, sweet corn, dent corn, flint corn, name it, a lot of corn consumption, believe me, it takes a really difficult situation for you to be angry with any form of corn you consume right before you.
Maize farming is as old as man itself, it is consumed directly by man and planted in large quantity worldwide more than any other grain. In 2014, approximately 361 million metric tons of maize were grown in the United State of America.
There are six major types of maize, the dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn, and sweet corn.
Please note that in this write-up, we will be addressing maize as Corn, we may also call it maize, so you don’t get confused. They are the same thing.
We are going to divide the Corn farming stage into three, the preparatory or pre-planting stage, planting, and growing stage and Post-planting or harvesting stage.
Before we go into the preparation stage, let’s look at why you should plant corn,
- Corn is eaten by virtually everybody, be it as popcorn, roasted, boiled, sweet corn, or dent corn. In one way or the other, you eat corn directly or indirectly, that is to say, going into corn farming isn’t a problem because you will always see who to buy your product.
In the course of this discussion, we will have to note the business aspect of corn farming, it’s important because agriculture itself is serious business
- An ear of single corn can sell for #150 to #300 (that’s in Naira) as of today, and your buyers are everywhere waiting for you to come forward with your products.
- Maize matures very fast (Three to four months), this means your gain/profit is returned to you quickly.
- Corn can survive different climatic conditions, this gives it an edge when compared to other crops. It parties well with a different type of soils, but performs better in sandy loam soil with good aeration.
- Corn selling needs “No” marketing.
Virtually every food market, locally or internationally has a room for buying and selling of corn. You can sell to local corn anywhere around.
- Corn has a high disease-resistant ability, this is a bonus to you as a farmer, you need to do little or no work in fighting disease outbreaks.
There is every reason to plant corn.
Preparatory or Pre-Planting Stage in Corn farming
This is where your journey begins, preparatory activities for corn farming are simple and not hectic. The very first step you need to take it to choose suitable farmland.
Choose a suitable farmland
Corn performs well in a sandy loam soil with good organic manure, good aeration capacity, and of course moderate or no water holding.
Waterlogged farmlands are not good for corn farming, too much water prevents the movement of air (in and out of the soil) and therefore makes it hard for nutrient absorption.
The choice of your farmland plays an important role in how your farm performs.
Have you been to any farm where there is too much water, did you notice that the leaves of the crops are always yellow and mostly tiny? It is not advisable to plant crops in such areas, they don’t perform well, unless they are water-loving crops such as rice.
Prepare the farmland for corn farming
After deciding on the farmland, you prepare the land for corn planting. This is how you prepare the field for corn planting
The steps involved in preparing a field for planting of corn are as follows
Be rest assured that these steps are based on field observation, so it’s not based on what we read somewhere, this is us discussing the field experience
The first step you take in preparing a field for the planting of corn is clearing the field, you clear the land to make it free from grasses, this can be done in different ways such as
Use of chemical
Currently, most farmers prefer to use chemicals to clear grasses in their farm unlike before when the manual method was the order of the day.
This was the method used before when chemicals were not that rampant, farmers in the rural areas gathered in numbers to clear each other’s farm and they do this turn by turn using cutlasses and sometimes hoe.
Whichever method you decide to use, you don’t have a problem, the most important thing is to get rid of the grasses. Once you dissolve the marriage between the grasses and the soil, it’s time to prepare the soil to make it more notorious for corn planting.
Apply organic manure
Applying organic manure is the next line of action, if you can get goat dungs, cattle or pig dungs, they are all suitable for preparing your soil for corn farming. Spray the animal dungs on the soil after which you allow it to stay for 5-7 days, this will allow the dungs time to dissolve a little before cultivating the soil.
Not really needed
Corn farming doesn’t need tillage, even though, it’s not a crime if you have the resources and energy for it, but it’s not a do or die issue. Your corn will do well if you have made the right choice in all the steps listed above and also follow the subsequent ones.
Cultivation of the soil starts immediately after the dungs have shown signs of dissolving into the soil. Cultivation will help it mix with the soil, increasing the organic fertility content of the soil. You can make ridges or mounts; it all depends on what you want and what suits you.
Planting and Growing stage
This covers practices that take place on the farm during the planting and growing times of corn farming.
Choosing the right variety of corn
In some areas, the white corn seems to be more popular and accepted, while in some areas, the yellow one is the big boss, whichever one is more marketable and sorted after, you should plant that. The best varieties you should look out for are those that are fast-growing, high yielding, and disease-resistant.
Buy from a trusted seller
If you want to buy the kernels from the market, please make sure you are buying from the right persons, check very well for rotten parts or insect inversion. You need to pay serious attention to the health of the seed you want to plant.
Planting your crop
Sowing of your seeds should be done a few hours after making your ridges or mounts, sometimes immediately if it suits you. You can sow two seeds at a spot or one at a spot, give the seeds a considerable spacing, this is to prevent the crops from stocking on each other as they are growing.
Corn performs better with fertilizer; you should apply fertilizer once the corn starts growing. Fertilizer increases the already existing soil nutrient.
Weeding is a very important practice in agriculture, weeding the farm will reduce the inflow of infectious insects, attack on the crops by pathogens (Disease-causing organisms), increase plant health, and promote growth. There is no specific time to weed the farm, it should be done immediately weed starts coming out.
You can as well use weed preventive chemicals, even though not advised (I have my reasons, am a fan of organic farming because it preserves our ecosystem) but farmers are becoming used to the use of chemicals for weed control.
The target is to get the weeds off the plants and make the planting environment conducive for plant growth, but should be done in the best possible way.
Post-planting or Harvesting Stage
This is the last part of our journey, the concluding stage of corn farming. This stage involves the following.
Maturity in corn
Corn matures after three or four months, depending on how well they are taken care off, if you have followed the steps above, there is no reason your corn shouldn’t be ready after three months.
After harvesting, it is advisable to cut down the stalk, this allows them to decay and add more manure to the soil.
Marketing and selling of your corn
Picture from sustainability-times.com
Like I stated earlier, where to sell your corn is never a problem, corn is sold in almost every local market around you, you can transport them to the cities where you sell larger quantities.
You can as well sell to the industries who need the kernel as raw materials. If you operate a large-scale farm, then the local market shouldn’t be your target., you should get in touch with industries and ministers.
Understanding your market (those interested in buying what you are selling) is important in making a profit not only in corn farming but also in other agribusiness ideas one can think of.
There are times the demand for corn is high, you can structure your farm in a way that your corns will mature at this time, this will ensure higher profit for you.
Some important questions asked by farmers and their answers
We have observed a few questions asked by intending corn farmers and we wish to use this medium to answer them.
How long does it take for corn to grow?
It takes three (3) to Four Months (4) months for Corn to grow to maturity (Ready for harvest). It is worthy to note that the nutrient content of the soil can delay or fasten the maturity of corn.
When the soil is rich in nutrient, the soil can mature faster (three months) but when it lacks nutrient maturity may be delayed (Four months).
How do you farm corn step by step?
The step by step guide listed above explains in detail how you can farm corn from beginning to marketing and selling your corn.
How to plant corn
The kernel which is the seed of corn is used in planting corn, they are inserted into the soil, say 1.5 -2meters deep and covered with sand, the soil should not be firmly covered, this will make it easier for germination and sprouting of the plant.
Care should be taken to avoid the seed being inserted in the stony area of the ridge or mount.
How much do farmers make on corn?
A corn farmer makes a lot of money, it all depends on how large the farm is, a small scale corn farmer’s profit can’t be compared to that of a large scale corn farmer, from my observations, the larger you plant the bigger your profit, but when it comes to corn farming being profitable, believe me, corn farming is very profitable.
What are corn farming equipment?
The major equipment needed for corn farming, farmland, others includes hoe, cutlass depending on if you want to do the work by yourself, diggers. The equipment for corn farming is the same as those used major farms.
It varies from farmer to farmer, as a corn farmer you may not need a hoe if you are not going to work on your farm by yourself, if you are to employ laborers, then you have no business with a hoe or cutlass, even though it’s always good to visit your farm with cutlass especially if you are operating a small scale farm.
Conclusively, corn farming is a profitable agribusiness idea, unlike some other crops, the risk is low, it has a high yielding capacity, survives drought and unfavorable weather conditions.
They are fast growing, easily marketable, and are sold in every corner of our society. I encourage farmers to invest in corn farming.
Let us know from the comment box below, what are your thought about corn farming, are you familiar with it, have you tried it before, we would love to hear from you.