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Significance of Early Maturing Cultivars, and Prospects of Winter and Spring Maize in India

  Significance of Early Maturing Cultivars, and Prospects of Winter and Spring Maize in India 

Maize is an important crop as food and feed. It also provides huge quantity of green fodder to the cattle, besides providing raw materials for starch other industrial application. Maize is cultivated throughout India. Maize is traditionally grown in kharif season all over India. The important maize growing states during kharif season are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand in North India; Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu in South India, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan in the Western-Central India.

Significance of early maturing cultivars:

Maize is generally cultivated as rain-fed crop during the kharif season and time of sowing is heavily dependent on onset of monsoon. In the era of climate change unpredictable onset and delay in arrival of monsoon, is becoming common. Thus, planting at the recommended time of sowing may not be possible all the time and sowing may have to be delayed. Under such circumstances, growing medium and late maturity cultivars delay the sowing of the next crop such as potato or wheat. In such situations, early and extra early maturing cultivars hold great promise as even with sowing during first week of August, field can be vacated for the next crop by the end of October. Besides, even in the fields having assured irrigation facilities sowing during 15th June – 15th July is not advisable as heat stress during this period causes scorching damage to the seedlings. Further, with timely sowing of early maturing cultivars, the field is generally vacated by the end of September or first week of October, which allows farmers to have sufficient time for preparation of field for the next crop. Early maturing maize cultivars are also ideal for intercropping as they provide less competition for moisture, light, and nutrients as compared to late maturing varieties. In addition, they offer flexibility in planting dates, which enables multiple plantings in a season to avoid risk of losing a single crop due to drought and avoidance of known terminal drought periods during the cropping season. These advantages make the early maturing cultivars more remunerative and less risky.

Early maturing maize cultivars released from IARI:

S.No.

Cultivar

Maturity

Area of Adaptation

Yield Potential

 

Advantages

Hybrids

1.

PEHM-1

(Pusa Early Hybrid Makka-1)

Early

AP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan And MP

4.5 t/ha

Moderate resistance to Maydis leaf blight, Rhizoctonia solani, resistance to stem borer, lodging resistant and water logging tolerant

2.

PEHM-2

(Pusa Early Hybrid Makka-2)

Early

AP, TN, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat and MP

5.0 t/ha

Moderately tolerant to moisture stress. Suitable for baby corn purpose

3.

PEHM-3

(Pusa Early Hybrid Makka-3)

Early

Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka And Tamil Nadu

5.5 t/ha

Moderately tolerant to high temperature

4.

PEEHM-5 (Pusa Extra Early Hybrid Makka-5)

Extra early

Delhi, Punjab, Haryana And Western & Central Uttar Pradesh

5.0 t/ha

Moderately tolerant to Turcicum leaf blight, Maydis leaf blight and Erwinia stalk rot

Composites

1.

PC-1

(Pusa Composite-1)

Early

Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, UP, Bihar, AP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Parts of TN and MP

3-3.5 t/ha

Resistant to stalk rot, corn borer, turcicum leaf blight

2.

PC-2

(Pusa Composite-2)

Early

AP, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Western & Central UP, Bihar, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Parts of TN and MP

3.5 t/ha

Resistant to stalk rot, turcicum leaf blight, banded leaf and sheath blight, brown stripe downy mildew

3.

PC-3

(Pusa Composite-3)

Early to Medium

Punjab, Haryana, Central & Western UP

4 t/ha

Tolerance to stem borer, resistant to lodging and tolerance to moisture stress

4.

PC-4

(Pusa Composite-4)

Early

Punjab, Haryana, Central & Western UP

4 t/ha

Tolerance to stem borer, resistant to lodging and tolerance to moisture stress

 Prospects for  rabi maize: Although maize is traditionally cultivated during the kharif season, it can also be grown in Rabi season. The planting of rabi maize is undertaken during 15th October – 10th November. The success of rabi maize in Southern states, particularly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Eastern India, especially in Bihar and West Bengal, has led to the increase in maize production by a big margin. The yield potential in rabi season is much higher than that in kharif season, primarily due to (i) better water management (ii) more sun shine hours (iii) mild and favourable temperature (iv) better response to fertilizers and nutrients due to favourable growth conditions (v) higher plant stand (vi) lesser damage from pathogens and insects due to low humidity and temperature and (vii) better weed management due to effective water management and low temperature.

 Potential for spring maize:

The unconventional spring season is becoming a viable option in Northern India. The spring maize is generally sown at the end of January, which provides an opportunity to utilize the fields vacated by crops such as potato. This would also help in meeting the ever increasing demand of green ears during the early summer. Spring maize is a success story in states like Haryana where rice-potato-maize cropping system has been found highly remunerative to the farmers. During spring season, high yielding early maturing maize cultivars hold promise as they have the potential to escape high temperature stress (mid April to May) during flowering.   

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.