Intercropping in Maize Plant

Maize is often often known as corn. It is among the world’s main crops and is a staple meals in India. Maize is a flexible crop and can be known as the “Queen of Cereals.” It belongs to the grass household (Gramineae or Poaceae) and is an annual plant.

It is an erect and tall plant that reaches as much as a top of three meters. The stem of the plant usually acquires a thickness of three to 4 centimeters. The large, slender leaves are positioned consecutively on reverse sides of the stem and have wavy borders. 

It is cultivated as a cereal grain and provides a variety of types together with flint, candy, and flour. After rice and wheat, maize is India’s third main meals crop. Maize is cultivated primarily in the course of the Kharif season and accounts for 80 % of the full space.

At current, maize supplies roughly 9% of the meals provide and greater than INR 100 billion to agricultural GDP in India. In addition to this, it supplies over 100 million job alternatives for individuals working within the fields in addition to the agricultural and industrial sectors. In 2020–21, the general maize output in India has been round 24.51 MMT, in comparison with a complete annual demand of 25.2 MMT, together with exports.  

Maize is used as a primary uncooked materials in tons of of commercial items, corresponding to oil, protein, meals sweeteners, cosmetics, fodder, prescribed drugs, packaging, paper industries, drinks, textile, and so forth. 

Varieties of Maize and Their Characteristics

1. Pod corn: Pod corn includes lengthy legumes, which enclose every kernel individually. It has leaves round every of its kernels. Pod corn is a wild number of maize. 

2. Popcorn: Popcorns are amongst probably the most primitive of the maize races which have survived. The endosperm of this corn selection is exceedingly inflexible and corneous and has just a bit quantity of soppy starch. Popcorns are important flints with little kernels. The kernels could be spherical or pointed. Some newly produced popcorn kernels have thick seed coats, however some primitive semi-popcorn kernels corresponding to Argentine popcorns have thinner seed coatings. 

3. Dent Maize: Dent corn is generally used as a feed for animals, however additionally it is utilized as a uncooked materials within the business and as a staple meal. It continues to be a necessary human meals and industrial commodity, with dry and moist milling industries incorporating it into quite a lot of specialised items. White dent maize, however, instructions the next value within the dry milling enterprise, the place it’s used for particular human meals merchandise as a result of its whiter starch.

Maize Producing Regions of India

Maize is grown all year long in many various varieties, which embody fodder, popcorn, child corn, inexperienced cobs, and candy corn in peri-urban areas. Andhra Pradesh accounts for the very best maize yield which is 20.9 %, adopted by Karnataka at 16.5 %, Rajasthan at 9.9 %, Maharashtra at 9.1 %, Bihar at 8.9 %, Uttar Pradesh at 6.1 %, Madhya Pradesh at 5.7 %, and Himachal Pradesh at 4.4 %.

These are a few of the main maize-producing states and collectively account for 80 % of the full maize manufacturing in India. In addition, maize is cultivated within the north-eastern states and the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Soil Selection

Maize could also be grown in a variety of soil sorts, from loamy to sandy. However, soils with excessive natural matter content material, excessive water retention, and a impartial pH, are deemed to be excessive yielding. Since this crop is weak to water stress, notably to extreme soil wetness and salinity stress, it’s advisable to keep away from low-lying areas with poor drainage and fields with excessive salinity. Therefore, lands with ample drainage must be chosen for maize rising.

Favorable Conditions

Maize could be planted in all 4 seasons—monsoon, post-monsoon, winter, and spring. To purchase a superb yield in the course of the Rabi and Kharif seasons, farmers want dependable and irrigated agricultural amenities. It is preferable to complete the sowing course of 12–15 days previous to the start of the monsoon in the course of the Kharif season. However, in rain-fed areas, sowing must be scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the monsoon.

Seed Treatment

Seed remedy with fungicides and pesticides earlier than sowing is recommended to guard the maize crop towards seed and main soil-borne illnesses and bug/pests, as detailed under.



Application Rate                             (g/ kg seed)

1.      Termite and shoot fly



2.      Pythium Stalk Pot



3.      Stem Borer

Chlorpyriphos 20EC/Monocrotophos


4.      Downy mildew/Crazy Top



Sowing Methods

The key to getting one of the best plant stand, which is the primary driver of crop output, is tillage and crop institution. As crop institution is a sequence of occasions comprising seeding, adopted by germination, emergence, and remaining institution, the strategy of planting is crucial for enhanced crop institution in a given rising atmosphere. Maize seeds are immediately sown utilizing varied tillage and institution strategies. 

Some of the strategies which are utilized in planting maize are: Resource conservation applied sciences (RCTs), which embody quite a lot of measures corresponding to zero tillage, minimal tillage, floor seeding, and others, have lately turn into common in maize-based cropping methods and are environmentally pleasant and efficient.

Discussed under are a number of doable seeding methods for attaining a bigger yield.

Raised-bed planting

During the winter and monsoon seasons, raised-bed planting is normally thought of to be the best planting methodology for maize, when it comes to considerable moisture, restricted water availability, and rainfed circumstances.

Sowing ought to happen on the southern facet of east-west ridges to make sure higher germination. Raised-bed planting methodology can save 20–30% irrigation water whereas rising manufacturing. Furthermore, within the occasion of transient extreme soil moisture or waterlogging attributable to heavy rains, the furrows will function as drainage channels, saving the crop from extreme moisture stress.

Permanent beds, the place sowing could be achieved in a single course of with none preparatory tillage, are really helpful for buying the complete potential of mattress planting expertise. In extra soil moisture conditions, everlasting beds are extra helpful for the reason that infiltration charge is considerably increased and the crop could be saved from non permanent waterlogging hurt.

Zero-till Planting

In a no-till setting, maize could be grown efficiently with none preliminary tillage, leading to decrease cultivation prices, improved farm profitability, and environment friendly useful resource use. A considerable variety of farmers in peninsular and japanese India have used the expertise, notably in rice–maize and maize–wheat methods.

The adoption of an ample planter, together with a suitable furrow opener and seed metering system, is the important thing to the no-till expertise’s success. 

Conventional until flat planting

Flat planting could be executed with seed-cum-fertilizer planters in excessive weed infestations the place herbicidal and chemical weed administration is economically unviable in no-till and in addition for rainfed areas the place crop survival relies on conserved soil moisture.

Furrow Planting

During the spring season, evaporative losses of water from the soil beneath flat, together with raised-bed planting, are increased, and the crop suffers as an final result of moisture stress. It is really helpful to plant maize in furrows in such circumstances for optimum development, seed set, and elevated manufacturing.

Maize Sowing: Water Management

Since over 80 % of maize is grown in the course of the monsoon season, notably beneath rainfed circumstances, irrigation water administration is seasonal. However, in areas the place ample irrigation amenities can be found, irrigation must be carried out as or when the crop requires it, relying on the rainfall occasions and soil retaining capability and first irrigation must be practiced very rigorously in order that water doesn’t overflow on the ridges/beds.

Insect/Pest Management

Stem Borer (Chilo partellus)

The Stalk borer is the commonest maize pest in India. Chilo partellus, typically often known as the stalk borer, is an insect risk all throughout the nation in the course of the monsoon season. Stem borer lays its eggs on the decrease half of the leaves 10–25 days after germination. The Stem Borer larvae penetrate the leaves and trigger hurt to them. 

Prevention and Management of Stem Borer

About 10 days after germination, 8 Trichocards (Trichogramma chilonis) per hectare could be launched to regulate the stem borer. Intercropping maize with appropriate cowpea cultivars is an environmentally useful approach of lowering the incidence of stem borer on maize. 

Shoot Fly (Atherigona sp.)

It is a significant pest in South India, however it additionally arises within the springtime and summertime maize crops in North India. It primarily assaults the crop on the seedling stage. The tiny maggots burrow beneath the leaf sheaths till they attain the seedlings’ base. They then minimize the rising tip or heart department, ensuing within the useless coronary heart of the plant. 

Prevention and Management of Shoot Fly

To stop the infestation of shoot fly, farmers are suggested to finish the sowing earlier than the primary of February. Along with well timed sowing, farmers can deal with the seeds with Imidacloprid at 6 ml per kg. 

Termites (Odontotermes obesus)

Termites are additionally a significant pest subject in lots of areasTermites are susceptible to attacking the maize vegetation throughout their complete life cycle. They may cause injury to the crop even after storage. Usually, the vegetation are solely destroyed after termite infestation which makes their management and administration extra vital.

Prevention and Management of Termites

For management and prevention of termite infestations, fipronil must be included within the fields together with gentle irrigation. 

Intercropping in Maize

Intercropping permits for the simultaneous planting of two or extra crops on the identical piece of land, leading to elevated productiveness per unit space. Maize is planted in vast rows, therefore giving scope for intercropping. The choice of crops, their maturity, depth, and sowing time—all have a component within the effectiveness of the maize intercropping system. The benefits of a maize intercropping system embody increased yield, higher useful resource utilization, weed, insect, and illness administration. It additionally helps within the nitrogen fixation of the soil. 

Crop Selection

Intercropping requires cautious crop choice, Due to intense competitors, combined cultures is probably not advantageous for the crop and should even be probably harmful if the flawed plant species are used. If the accessible assets are utilized rigorously, it may end up in a discount in plant competitors. The intercropping of cereal with legumes is considered the optimum selection. Legume species corresponding to black gram, cowpea, groundnut, and inexperienced gram have much less of an affect on maize and are extra tolerant. 

Crop Maturity

Another essential issue to contemplate whereas intercropping is crop maturity. Crops produced in intercropping ought to, typically, have totally different peak intervals of development, in any other case, crop species will compete for accessible assets. When the person species within the cropping system have separate rising intervals for giant calls for on accessible assets, the complementary impacts profit the system and are represented in yield benefit. 

For occasion, in an intercropping system of maize and inexperienced gram, maize grows slowly at first, reaching knee top after 6–7 weeks.

Peak gentle demand begins 55 to 60 days after sowing, and inexperienced grams sown on the similar time will likely be within the reproductive stage or shut to reap by this time. Green gram completes its main development stage similtaneously maize begins, leading to a excessive stage of complementarity.

Time of Planting

Maize is broadly recognized as a significant crop in intercropping methods the place legumes are simply cultivated. For instance, maize has a gradual preliminary development charge. If short-duration legumes are planted alongside maize, they’ll attain their reproductive stage and start their reproductive interval even earlier than maize, thus avoiding the competitors for widespread pure assets.

First revealed on: 02 May 2022, 02:34 IST



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