03 Oct Corn climate and soil for its cultivation
Corn is very demanding in terms of the physical fertility of the soil. This, which is often forgotten, can in many cases be the main limiting factor in production. Several aspects related to climate are also important.
Among the physical characteristics of the soil, the most important, from the point of view of corn, are: Water retention capacity, Aeration and Temperature.
capacity The water storage capacity of the soil is essential to ensure a continuous supply between irrigations. Corn is particularly sensitive to a lack of water in the flowering environment, from 20-30 days before to 10-15 days after. In shallow or stony soils, the storage capacity is limited and, when possible, it should be supplied with more frequent irrigation. The ideal is to maintain a high availability of water in the soil, in terms of soil water potential (1.5 atmospheres should not be exceeded in the flowering period and a little more in the rest of the cycle). If the water potential is greater (in absolute terms), production begins to decline.
In relation to the availability of water, corn is very sensitive to the salinity of the soil. A saline concentration, expressed as electrical conductivity in saturated pasta extract, higher than 1.7 dS / m at 20 ºC begins to affect the culture, and at 3.8 dS / m the production drops by 25%.
Corn is very sensitive to root suffocation. It does not support caked or poorly drained soils. You need a minimum of 10% of the floor volume occupied by air. Both soil aeration and water circulation are closely linked to the soil structure, which favors the formation and maintenance of porosity. It is essential to protect the structure against aggressions such as the transit of heavy machinery in bad humidity conditions, intense tillage or the high energy of the water provided in sprinkler irrigation.
Regarding temperature, corn is especially sensitive during germination, hatching and the start of vegetation. It requires a minimum of 12º C soil temperature for germination. Some deficiency symptoms at the beginning of the crop are caused by low temperatures that prevent root development. Soil temperature can, to some extent, be modified by managing surface organic debris and irrigation.
In short, the maintenance of the “physical fertility” of the soil is essential. Its deterioration can cause limitations that are not always easy to identify and often very slow to correct says rotavator parts suppliers in delhi.
Corn has nutritional needs per unit of production similar to other cereals, such as wheat or barley. But due to its productions, usually much higher, the amounts of nutrients demanded by corn, in absolute terms, are much higher.
There are different references on the amounts of essential nutrients consumed in greater quantity.
The nutritional needs of maize
Variable according to authors, are a maximum of 28-30 kg of nitrogen (N), 10-12 kg of phosphorus (P2O5), and 23-25 kg of potassium (K2O), per 1,000 kg of grain produced.
Additionally, there is a significant consumption of calcium, magnesium and sulfur. It should be noted the fact that a significant part of the extracted nutrients are destined for parts of the plant that are not always removed from the field. This means that there are important differences between total nutrient extraction and export. These differences are particularly important in potassium, in which only a small part goes to the grain that is harvested, and in microelements.
Growing corn in cold climates
Corn is the cereal with the highest volume of production in the world, above wheat and rice. It is considered a C4 plant, that is, it has great efficiency when converting sunlight into energy. However, this vegetable does not tolerate cold and its growing season is very short, which has led a group of American experts to analyze possible formulas to increase its productivity even in cold climates.
Currently the demand for corn around the world exceeds supply, with which the price rises at an unstoppable rate. For this reason, a group of experts from the Department of Crop Sciences and the Institute of Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, USA, have studied different ways to increase cereal productivity around the world and throughout the year. Research shows that “Miscanthus x giganteus”, a large wild plant with characteristics similar to corn, could be the key to obtaining the cereal throughout the year. Like corn, it is a C4 type plant and, being very productive, it can keep photosynthesis in its leaves active even in cold climates.
Experts have focused on the reactions that differentiate C4 plants from C3 plants. The latter have a lower efficiency in converting sunlight into energy. The Illinois team studied the effects of cold on the enzyme PPDK (pyruvate phosphate dikinase), which remains active in both.
The plant with a higher concentration of this enzyme was found to be more stable and resistant to cold. In this case it corresponds to the variety “Miscanthus x giganteus”. Therefore, it appears that the difference between the two varieties is not the structure of PPDK but rather the amount of enzyme present.
The authors believe that these discoveries will be instrumental in obtaining more complete information on the mechanics for successful photosynthesis of C4-type plants such as corn at low temperatures. According to experts, it could also mean the appearance of a type of corn genetically modified to produce more PPDK and stay alive during cold seasons. In this way, corn production could be carried out every month of the year.
A particular species
“Miscanthus” are several species of plants native to tropical areas of Asia, Africa and Oceania, among them the most widely used is the hybrid “Miscanthus x giganteus”. It is capable of growing more than four meters in height and its yield can reach a biomass of 20 tn / ha. Its high yield and low moisture content make this plant a good candidate for consumption and for a large number of purposes, including being part of new bioenergy crops.
This species of corn is being cultivated experimentally in ten European countries, mainly as a producer of biomass for combustion. After drying, its stems are an excellent solid fuel that emits the same amount of carbon dioxide that it has removed during its cultivation.
In addition to being a clean, efficient and renewable fuel source, “Miscanthus x giganteus” is also easy to grow. Upon reaching maturity, it requires little attention for its survival. It outpaces weeds, requires little water, minimal amounts of fertilizer, and can grow in untilled fields.