How is maize farming in Kenya?

How is maize farming in Kenya?
An image of maize plants

Maize is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous people. Additionally, the leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescence and ovuliferous inflorescence. Maize is a tall-growing grain that produces yellow kernels on the long ear. It is edible grain. Corn as it is also known is a cereal crop that is grown widely throughout the world in a range of agroecological environments. This plant is an important source of carbohydrates, protein, iron, vitamin B, and minerals. Also an important livestock feed both as silage and as a crop residue.

Agroecological zones of Maize in Kenya.

  • Kitale.
  • Kakamega.
  • Embu.
  • Katumani.
  • Mtwapa.

Varieties.

  • Pannar 683 maize variety.
  • PAN 15.
  • Hybrid seed maize H6140.
  • Pannar 691 maize variety.
  • SC Twiga 8l maize variety.
  • DK 90-89 maize variety.

Climate conditions, soil, and water.

Temperatures.

Maize grows well in a range of climate conditions with its large number of varieties. This differs in the period to maturity. The crop requires an average daily temperature of at least 20°c for adequate growth and development. Therefore, the optimum temperature for good yields is around 30°c.

Latitudes.

Photoperiod and temperature influence the time of flowering. Moreover, growth mainly happens from 50°N to 40°S and sea level up to 3 about 3000m attitudes at the equator. However, in higher latitudes up to 58°N, it may grow for silage but not for grain production.

Rainfall.

Maize is especially sensitive to moisture stress around the time of planting, tasseling, and cob formation. In the tropic, it does best with 600-900mm of rain during the growing season.

Soils.

Growing maize can be on many soils types but performs best on we’ll drain, well-aerated, deep soil and well supplied with nutrients. Additionally, the high yield of maize is a heavy drain on soil nutrients.

Land preparation.

It should be done early to allow for weeds to dry and decompose before planting. First, the plough is best done after harvesting the previous crop

Procedure.

  • Spray weeds with a catapult. 480sl 200ml/20l.
  • Ploughland and make it level with a fine tilth.
  • Mix soil with manure and DAP.
  • Make holes at a spacing of 90 by 30- 50 I’m.
  • Place either 2 or 1 seed per hole at a depth of about 4cm.
  • Cover seeds with loose soil.

Planting time.

Early planting is essential as yields are greatly reduced by late planting. Therefore, planting is best done within the first two weeks of the onset of rainfall in highlands. However, in low soils, maize is best done before the onset of rain. If rainfall is not enough, irrigation should be done.

Methods of harvesting.

There are two methods of maize harvesting.

Plucking of cobs.

First, remove the ear from the standing plants. Secondly, they are piles to open for 24 hours. Thirdly, they are spread for drying in the sun. In this method, stalks may be used as green fodder.

Stalk cutting.

Cut and pile up the plants in a shade. The cobs are removed after two or three days of harvesting. However, dried plants are used for haymaking.

Sorting and drying.

After harvest, sort out all off, type maize ears, and texture, and the diseased ear, before placing them in bins to dry. However, good sorting at the time considerably reduces the task of sorting. This is after the maize has dried to a desiring extent.

Storage.

After shelling, the grain can be dried for 2 to 3 days. Additionally, clean and store at 8 to 10 percent moisture. Storing in airtight containers reduces damage due to insects and rodents.