Whether harvested as grain or the whole plant, corn is widely consumed and processed for animal and human food, as well as for industrial purposes. The relatively short development cycle of maize is attributed to its specific photosynthesis process that allows the efficient use of light and heat.The corn cycle is divided into three distinct development phases, defined by the formation of one or more essential plant organs - the vegetative phase, the reproduction phase and the grain development phase.
Corn cultivation has several environmental advantages linked to its biology and the technical cultivation itinerary. In addition, its rapid vegetative development is able to cover the soil from the 2nd month of vegetation. By choosing to vary the outlets for maize, the farmer has the possibility to enhance the value of his crop. Additional to the current outlets, corn seeds or sweet corn can be produced from this high potential crop. Furthermore, it can even be used for the production of biogas.
Corn seed treatment promotes germination and emergence of seedlings (see NutriSeed® range). Corn grows rapidly and takes up significant amounts of nutrients within a few days. The nitrogen requirements become important after the 6-8 leaves stage. Between this stage and the end of female flowering maize absorbs 85 % of its nitrogen requirements. To best cover this period, the main supply should be between 4 and 10 leaves, ideally applied around the 6-8 leaves stage. However, in intensive systems a contribution to sowing is advised when the nitrogen balance in the soil is less than 60 kg/ha. A rate of 40 kg/ha of nitrogen is sufficient to meet the nitrogen needs of young plants up to 10 leaves. P & K fertilization can be provided before ploughing. It can, for example, be combined with nitrogen before or during sowing, (starter fertilization). Particularly in sandy or filtered soils, a supply of sulphur at planting improves the yield significantly. Corn is very sensitive to zinc deficiency (identified by yellow streaked discoloration between the leaf veins, in the 6-8 leaves stage). Foliar intake at this stage is effective to restore the normal nutrition (see Basfoliar® Zn).
Focus on starter fertilization:
For the starter fertilization small amounts of plant nutrients are placed in close proximity to the seed, usually during planting. Corn is a plant of tropical origin and thus lacks vigor in cold springs. In the case of early sowing, cold soil or unfavorable exposure of the plot and/or lack of soil structure a starter fertilization is very important. A precise fertilization is obtained by placing the starter fertilizer in a well-defined area: a few cm from the seed and the soil surface or with the use of a coulter in deeper location in the inter-row, in the root exploration area. Locating the fertilizer close to the seed during sowing is a validated technique that increases the efficiency of the nutrient supply and reduces the risk of nitrogen being carried away by erosion. It also increases the phosphorous uptake of the plant, as this nutrient is not very mobile in the soil solution. The symptoms of phosphorus deficiencies are growth retardation (dwarf plant) or red leaves (anthocyanins). The NovaTec® granules or the fine granules from the EasyStart® range are excellently suited to supply the plant with the initial requirements.