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How To Start Commercial Corn Farming Business

Corn or maize is a commercial grain crop globally. Corn farming is a lucrative money-making opportunity for people interested in the farming business. The six major types of corn are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn, and sweet corn. Find here a detailed corn farming business plan sample checklist for your ready reference.

The scientific name of corn is Zea mays. And it belongs to the Grasses family. In addition, it is popular as the ‘Queen of Cereals’. Major corn-producing countries are the  USA, China, India, Brazil,  Argentina, Ukraine,   Mexico, Indonesia, France, and South Africa.

The United States is the largest maize producer and also has a large surplus, which also makes it the largest maize exporter. Brazil, Ukraine, and Argentina are the other key maize-producing countries behind the USA. The four countries together account for 80-85% of the total exports of maize.

Maize is by far the largest component of the global coarse-grain trade. Most of the maize that is traded is used for feed; smaller amounts are traded for industrial and food uses.

In India, corn or maize is the third most important grain crop after rice and wheat. Some of the major corn-producing states are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.

Is Corn Farming Profitable?

First of all, it is an important staple food for human beings and quality feed for animals. Additionally, corn or maize serves as basic raw material and an ingredient in thousands of industrial products. The list includes starch, oil, protein, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, film, textile, gum, package, and paper industries, etc.

Basically, maize finds extensive use for livestock feeds viz, cattle Poultry, and piggery both in the form of seeds and fodder. The digestibility of maize fodder is higher than Sorghum, Bajra, and other non-leguminous forage crops.

Global production of corn has grown at a CAGR of 3.4% over the last ten years, from 717 MMT in 2004-05 to 967 MMT in 2013-14. Additionally, the area under maize cultivation in the period has increased at a CAGR of 2.2%.

Health Benefits of Corn or Maize

  • First of all, corn is primarily composed of carbs.
  • Whole corn is fairly high in fiber.
  • Additionally, it is a decent source of protein. Depending on the corn variety, the protein content ranges from 10-15%.
  • Whole corn is relatively low in fat.
  • Corn may contain a fair amount of several vitamins and minerals. However, the amount is highly variable depending on the corn type.
  • Finally, corn contains a number of bioactive plant compounds, some of which may have beneficial health effects.

Things To Consider In Corn Farming

  • The primary requirement of commercial corn farming is vacant land. Therefore, you must have a sufficient area of land for maize cultivation.
  • Corn demands adequate irrigation. Therefore, if you are planning to grow corn under rainfed conditions, be prepared for a drought situation also.
  • Additionally, you must have adequate arrangements for plant protection. You must protect your field from pests and diseases.
  • Choose the variety according to the end use of the produce and agroclimatic condition.
  • Finally, it is advisable to prepare a commercial corn farming business plan before planting. Basically, a business plan helps to identify input costs and additional resources.

Best Varieties For Corn Farming

You can find a wide range of varieties globally. Basically, it highly depends on the specific region and the reason for growth. Here we have compiled a list of popular corn varieties.

  • Butter and Sugar. 73 days. Bicolor white and yellow kernels, good flavor; 7 to 8-inch ears. Resists bacterial wilt and southern corn leaf blight.
  • Golden Cross Bantam. 85 days. Large yellow kernels. Uniform ears are 7½ to 8 inches long with 10 to 14 rows per ear. Sturdy stalk to 6 feet; very prolific. Resists bacterial wilt.
  • Jubilee. 83 days. Sweet, tender, yellow kernels for fresh eating or processing. Large ears, 8 to 9 inches long with 16 rows. Strong sturdy stalks from 7 to 7½ feet. Resists smog and smut.
  • Silver Queen. 88 days. Very sweet, tender, snow-white kernels; ears 8 to 9 inches long with 14 to 16 rows. Holds for several days without losing quality. The stalk grows 7½ to 8 feet tall. Widely adapted. Resists bacterial wilt and Stewart’s wilt.
  • Breeder’s Choice. 73 days. Extra sweet, tender, creamy, light yellow kernels. Stays sweet for 10 to 14 days after reaching maturity. Most stalks bear two ears, 16 to 18 full rows. Plant to 7 feet.
  • Concord (Also called Moore’s Early Concord). Tender, sweet, bicolor kernels. Ears 6 to 8 inches long with 12 to 16 rows. Stalks to 5 feet. Early harvest.

Some of the popular Indian varieties are Himalayan 123, Sona, Kisan, Ganga-1, Ganga-101, Ranjit, Ganga-5, Ganga-Safed-2, etc. Additionally, some of the high-yielding varieties are Vijay, Kisan, NLD White, and Naveen.

Agroclimatic Condition for Corn Farming

Maize does well in a wide range of climatic conditions. Generally, you can grow it in tropical as well as temperate regions, from sea levels up to altitudes of 2500m. It is however susceptible to frost at all stages of its growth.

Maize needs 450 to 600 mm of water per season, which is mainly acquired from the soil moisture
reserves. Generally, corn grows well under temperatures varying from 22 to 30°C.

Suitable Soil for Corn Farming

You can grow corn successfully in a variety of soils ranging from loamy sand to clay loam. However, soils with good organic matter content having high water holding capacity with neutral pH are good for higher productivity.

Read: How To Take Soil Samples For Analysis?

Being a sensitive crop to moisture stress particularly excess soil moisture and salinity stresses; it is desirable to avoid low-lying fields having poor drainage and also the field having higher salinity. Therefore, you must select the fields having provision for proper drainage for the cultivation of maize.

Commercial Corn Farming Cultivation Steps

1. Seed & Sowing

You must select seeds that are insect, pest, and disease-free. In addition, you must procure seeds that are free from weed seeds. Purchase the seeds from reliable sources. Seeds must ensure high germination percentage.

To protect the maize crop from seed and major soil-borne diseases and insect pests, seed treatment with fungicides and insecticides before sowing is advisable. Additionally, you must sow the seed with dibbling or drilling methods. It is depending on the purpose of sowing, type of maize, varieties, and farm condition.

To achieve higher productivity and resource-use efficiencies optimum plant stand is the key factor. The seed rate varies depending on the purpose, seed size, plant type, season, sowing methods, etc.

2. Manuring

The rate of nutrient application depends mainly on soil nutrient status/balance and cropping system. For obtaining desirable yields, the doses of applied nutrients should be matched with the soil supplying capacity and plant demand by keeping in view the preceding crop (cropping system). Therefore, you must go for a site-specific nutrient management approach.

3. Irrigation

The irrigation water management depends on the season. Because about 80 % of maize is cultivated during the monsoon season, particularly under rainfed conditions. However, in areas with assured irrigation facilities available, depending upon the rains and moisture-holding capacity of the soil, you must apply irrigation as and when required by the crop. Additionally, you must apply the first irrigation very carefully wherein water should not overflow on the ridges/beds.

4. Weed Control

Weeds are a serious problem in maize. Basically, weeds compete with maize for nutrients and cause yield loss of up to 35 %. Therefore, you must go for timely weed management for achieving a higher yield. Atrazine is a selective and broad-spectrum herbicide in maize that checks the emergence of a wide spectrum of weeds.

5. Corn Plant Protection

Leaf blight is the potential disease of corn. And you must be careful about that. Additionally, some of the potential harmful pests are stem borers, red hairy caterpillars, Aphids, grasshoppers, and termites. Arrange the specific plant protection resources for your corn farm.

6. Harvesting of Corn Produce

You can harvest the corn crop sown for grain when the grains are nearly dry and do not contain more than 20% moisture. Maize grown for fodder should be harvested at the milk to early dough stage; the earlier harvested crop is likely to yield less and has a lower protein content. For silage, however, the late dough is preferred. Both power and hand-operated low-priced maize shellers are available indigenously. These shellers are considerably more efficient than hand shelling or beating with sticks.