7 Steps to Boost Your Maize Production in 2022
Maize is one of the most important crops in the world, with a global production of over 1.1 billion tons in 2020. It is widely used for human consumption, animal feed, biofuel, and industrial purposes. However, maize production faces many challenges, such as climate change, pests, diseases, and soil degradation. How can you increase your maize yield and profitability in 2022? Here are seven steps to follow:
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1. Choose the right variety.
Different maize varieties have different characteristics, such as maturity, drought tolerance, disease resistance, and yield potential. You should select a variety that suits your agro-ecological zone, soil type, and market demand. You can consult your local extension service or seed company for advice on the best varieties for your area.
2. Prepare the land properly.
Good land preparation is essential for optimal maize growth and development. You should plow the land well in advance of planting to improve soil structure and water infiltration. You should also remove weeds, crop residues, and stones that may interfere with seed germination and plant establishment. You can use herbicides, mechanical tools, or manual labor for land preparation, depending on your resources and preferences.
3. Apply adequate fertilizer.
Maize requires a lot of nutrients to produce high yields, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You should apply fertilizer according to the soil test results and the recommended rates for your variety and region. You can use organic or inorganic fertilizers, or a combination of both, depending on their availability and cost-effectiveness. You should apply fertilizer at planting and during critical growth stages, such as vegetative, flowering, and grain filling.
4. Control pests and diseases.
Maize is susceptible to various pests and diseases that can reduce its yield and quality. Some of the common pests include stem borers, fall armyworms, cutworms, aphids, and rodents. Some of the common diseases include maize streak virus, gray leaf spot, northern leaf blight, and ear rot. You should monitor your crop regularly for signs of pest and disease infestation and take appropriate measures to control them. You can use cultural, biological, or chemical methods, or a combination of them, depending on the severity of the problem and the environmental impact.
5. Practice proper irrigation.
Maize needs adequate water throughout its growth cycle, especially during germination, flowering, and grain filling. Water stress can reduce maize yield by up to 50%. You should irrigate your crop according to the soil moisture status and the crop water requirement. You can use different irrigation methods, such as furrow, sprinkler, drip, or rain-fed, depending on your water source and infrastructure. You should avoid over-irrigation or under-irrigation, as both can affect maize growth and yield.
6. Harvest at the right time.
Harvesting maize at the right time is crucial for maximizing its yield and quality. You should harvest your crop when it reaches physiological maturity, which is indicated by the drying of the husks and the kernels. You can also use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of the kernels, which should be between 12% and 15% for safe storage. You should harvest your crop carefully to avoid mechanical damage or losses due to pests or weather.
7. Store properly.
Proper storage of maize is important to preserve its quality and prevent losses due to pests, diseases, or spoilage. You should store your maize in a clean, dry, well-ventilated, and secure place. You should also treat your maize with appropriate storage chemicals or methods to protect it from insects, rodents, fungi, or bacteria. You should check your maize regularly for signs of deterioration or infestation and take corrective actions if needed.
By following these seven steps, you can boost your maize production in 2022 and enjoy higher returns on your investment.
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Global Trends in Maize Production and Demand
Maize (Zea mays L., also known as corn) is one of the most important cereal crops in the world, with an annual production of over 1.2 billion tons in 2020. It is a versatile crop that can be used for human food, animal feed, biofuel, and industrial purposes. Maize is also a staple food for many people in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and some parts of Asia, where it contributes to food security and nutrition.
The global demand for maize has been growing steadily over the past decades, driven by population growth, income growth, urbanization, dietary changes, and biofuel policies. According to the FAO, the global consumption of maize increased by 64 percent between 2000 and 2020, reaching 1.17 billion tons in 2020. The main use of maize is as animal feed, accounting for about 60 percent of the total consumption in 2020, followed by food (27 percent) and industrial uses (13 percent).
The global trade of maize has also expanded significantly, reaching 184 million tons in 2020, up from 74 million tons in 2000. The main exporters of maize are the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, and Russia, while the main importers are China, Mexico, Japan, the European Union, and Egypt.
Challenges and Opportunities for Maize Production
Despite the impressive growth in maize production and demand, there are still many challenges and opportunities for improving the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of maize systems. Some of the major challenges include climate change, pests and diseases, soil degradation, water scarcity, market volatility, and policy uncertainty. These challenges pose significant risks to maize farmers, especially smallholders in developing countries, who often lack access to improved seeds, inputs, credit, extension services, and insurance.
On the other hand, there are also many opportunities for enhancing maize production through research and development (R&D), innovation, and adoption of improved technologies and practices. Some of the promising areas include genetic improvement for yield potential, stress tolerance, and quality traits; integrated pest management; conservation agriculture; precision agriculture; digital agriculture; biofortification; value addition; and market linkages. These opportunities can help increase maize yields, reduce production costs, improve resource use efficiency, enhance resilience to shocks, diversify income sources, and create value for farmers and consumers.
Maize is a vital crop for global food security and economic development. It has shown remarkable growth in production and demand over the past two decades. However, there are still many challenges and opportunities for improving maize systems in a changing world. There is a need for continued investments in R&D, innovation, and extension to enhance maize’s role in sustainable agri-food systems.
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