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Corn Production Guide: Land Prep., Planting & Cultivation

Land Preparation
One factor that affects plant growth is land preparation. Properly prepared fields promote good root development and better weed, pest and disease management.
Thorough land preparation is a key to good crop establishment. It allows decomposition of plant residues, prevents weed growth and improves soil tilth for better root development and absorption of nutrients.
Tilth is the degree of fineness of soil particles in the topmost soil layer.
Plowing and Harrowing
Plow at a depth of 15-20 cm 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 passing to break the clods.
If a disc plow is used, plow under corn stubbles at a depth of 18-20 cm. Use a disc plow to enable you to use corn stubbles as additional source of fertilizer. Clayey and weedy fields require two or more plowing and several harrowing.

Make furrows a day before or on the day of planting spaced at 75 cm and 8 cm deep.
Plant Population Density
Plant population is closely associated with corn yields. The development of more improved hybrids is an important factor in increasing corn yields. Newer hybrids are more adapted to heavier plant population and fertilizing rates.
To attain an optimum plant population density of 50,000-60,000, 16-18 kg of hybrid seeds or 18-20 kg of open pollinated variety (OPV) seeds per hectare are needed.
When Planting:
  • Ensure that the soil has been irrigated or rain-fed prior to planting for uniformity and promotion of seedling emergence.
  • Plant 1-2 seeds per hill, spaced at 25 cm apart and 3-5 cm deep.
  • When available, use mechanical planters for more uniform depth of planting and consequent germination.
  • Thin seedlings to one plant per hill about 7-10 days after emergence. Thinning out of undesirable seedling eases out overcrowding, which allows better penetration of sunlight, permits proper aeration and minimizes nutrient competition.
  • Thinning is the removal of excess or undesirable seedlings.
  • To minimize pest and disease problems, plant at almost the same period as farmers do nearby.
  • Cultivation improves soil tilth and controls weeds.
  • Off-bar between furrows to aerate the soil 22-25 days after planting. Off-barring is the turning of soil away from the base of the plant.
  • Hill-up 27-30 days after planting or just after side dressing the remaining recommended amount of nitrogen. Hilling-up is the turning of soil towards the base of the plant.
  • If the field is weedy, use an inter-row cultivator or do hand weeding. (More on weed management here)

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