(Zea mays L.) is one of the most important food crops in the world alongside wheat and rice. As the primary carbohydrate source in Central and South America, corn is also an alternative food source in the United States. Residents of several regions of Indonesia (e.g. in Madura and Nusa Tenggara) also use corn as a staple food.
Corn is an annual crop. A life cycle is completed in 80-150 days. The first half of the cycle is the vegetative growth stage and the second half is the generative growth stage. Tall corn plants are very different. Although corn plants generally grow between 1m and 3m in height, some varieties can reach 6m in height. Plant height is usually measured from the soil surface to the top segment in front of the male flowers. Although some varieties can produce sprouts (e.g. rice), corn generally does not have this ability.
This plant has many functions, namely:
- Carbohydrate source
- Animal feed (fodder and corn on the cob)
- Take the oil (from seeds)
- Flour (from seeds, known as cornmeal or cornstarch),
- Industrial raw materials (from seed meal and cob meal). Corn cobs are rich in pentose, which is used as a raw material to make furfural.
- Pharmaceutical ingredients, genetically modified corn is now also grown as a producer of pharmaceutical ingredients.
Improvement in corn production technology
To balance the demand for corn production, several technology packages are required to increase corn production. An alternative to growing maize on dry land is shown below. The order of work on this cultivation technology is:
- Simple tillage or no tillage.
- The varieties used were free-pollinated and hybrids up to 20 kg/ha treated with Ridomil, the seeds were sown 80 x 40 cm apart with 2 seeds/hole.
- Fertilization according to local recommendations, namely complete fertilizer SP-36, KCI, and 1/2 part urea at the same time as planting or 7-10 days after planting as a basic fertilizer by adding 5 cm from the planting hole.
- Re-fertilizer 1/2 part urea is given when the plant is old 1 month after planting, fertilizer is added using a 5-10 cm deep cap and covered again.
- Weeding is done twice, namely 2 weeks and 4 weeks after planting and simultaneous mulching.
- Pest and disease control is based on the concept of integrated pest control.
- Harvest and post-harvest, plants are harvested when the skins are whitish/brown in color and dry, with shiny seeds and a moisture content of 25-30%.
The development of high-yield corn is currently possible because a large number of hybrid corn are already available on the market. Here are the things to consider to get good corn crop yields.
The selection of high-quality varieties is very important when growing corn in rainy rice fields. The varieties planted should be hybrid varieties with high yield potential and the ability to adapt to soil conditions. The use of suitable varieties accompanied by suitable cultivation techniques leads to high productivity (> 11 t/ha). High-yielding varieties with medium maturity such as NASA 29, HJ 21 Agritan, HJ 22 Agritan, and JH 36.
To achieve high production, choose seeds that are good, shiny, not wrinkled, healthy, and not mixed with dirt or other strains. The power to grow seeds is at least 90%. The seed requirement per hectare is between 15 and 20 kg. To prevent downy mildew, seed treatment is required, namely 1 kg of seed mixed with 2 g of Ridomil or Saromil dissolved in 7.5-10 ml of water.
Land preparation and planting
Before planting, the soil should be tilled to a depth of 15-20 cm to loosen the soil, improve drainage, promote soil microbial activity and destroy weeds. The no-tillage system can be used on loose/light soils either. Planting is done with Ditugal to a depth of 5 cm. The recommended spacing is 75cm x 20cm for 1 plant per hole or 75cm x 40cm for 2 plants per hole. After the seeds are planted, they should be covered with manure or soil.
fertilizing and weeding
Sufficient nutrients are required for plant growth, starting from vegetative growth to panicle growth. Timely fertilization is necessary to support photosynthetic activities in such a way that yields are high. The recommended dose of fertilizer is ± 250 kg urea/ha + 300 kg Ponska/ha. Fertilizer is given 2 times, first: 7-10 days after planting in a dose of 300 kg Ponska/ha; and second: 30-35 days after planting with a dose of 250 kg urea/ha. Fertilizer is put in a hole/field + 10 cm next to the plant and covered with soil. Weeding is done twice; the first at 15 days of age after planting (HST) and the second at 28-30 DAP of age before the second fertilization.
Corn requires sufficient water to support the photosynthetic process for seed filling to be optimal. Especially when planting in the dry season or when there is no rain, it is recommended to plant before planting, 15 days after planting, 30 days after planting, 45 days after planting, 60 days after planting, and 75 days after planting (6 times ). Water sources can be surface irrigation or shallow groundwater (wells) by pumping.
Disease Pest Control
One of the keys to the success of corn growing is freedom from pests/diseases in the plants. The main disease of corn is downy mildew. In addition to seed treatment, downy mildew can also be prevented by improving the sanitation of the planting environment, as grass species can become a host for downy mildew. Crop rotation with crops other than corn can also be used to break the inoculum of downy mildew. The main pest of corn is the stalk borer, which can be controlled by administering the insecticide carbofuran (Furadan 3G) through plant shoots (3-4 kernels/plant).
Corn can be harvested when the kilobit is dried and light brown, the seeds are shiny, and pressed with nails to leave no trace. Harvest age varies from 80 to 105 days after planting. After harvesting, sufficient drying is required before the corn is hulled to prevent the seeds from bursting.