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Maize fertilization

Maize forms a large amount of organic mass in a relatively short time. Therefore, it is very responsive to the application of organic and mineral fertilizers, especially on irrigated and moisture-saturated areas.

Heavy yields of maize are possible only if it is provided with all the nutrition elements throughout the crop season.

NITROGEN is the most important element for plant growth and development.

The greatest need for nitrogen is during flowering and grain formation.

Despite the fact that the main source of nitrogen is soil organic matter, it is still necessary to supplement the natural sources of this element with nitrogen fertilizers. At the same time, given the fact that they contain nutrients in various forms and ratios. Young plants at the beginning of their formation most intensively absorb ammonia nitrogen, and in later phases of growth – a nitrate one. Therefore, before sowing and during the initial crop season, fertilizers containing ammonia nitrogen should be applied, and fertilizers containing nitrate nitrogen should be applied during the fertilizing period.

PHOSPHORUS is the second main nutrient. Phosphorus from the soil is continuously carried out by plants and does not return into the soil, unlike other nutrients.

Maize plants, especially in the initial crop period, are very demanding of phosphorus, and therefore it is necessary to apply it before sowing. Phosphorus contributes to the accelerated formation of plants, better development of the root system, increasing standing ability.

The deficiency of this element in the soil leads to red leaves, stagnation in formation and development. In such areas, as a rule, the ears are small and shortened, and many plants do not form them at all.

POTASSIUM accelerates the formation of plants, increasing standing ability and giving them resistance to diseases. Maize, which forms a lot of organic mass, needs a lot of potassium. With a lack of potassium in plants, there is marginal firing, shortened internodes, uneven growth of leaf blade, leading to wrinkling of the leaves, insufficient development of supporting tissues, resulting in lodging of the stems, etc.

CALCIUM is an essential element that regulates physical and chemical properties of the soil. Maize consumes a lot of calcium to form the root system and especially the supporting tissues. Well provided with calcium, the plants are more resistant to lodging.

ZINC is also an important food element. Leaf chlorosis is caused by the deficiency of zinc in the soil.

Such elements as copper, magnesium, iron, boron, manganese, etc. are also required for normal formation and development of maize.

The heavy yield of this crop is possible only with the correct application of fertilizers, for which it is necessary to determine the exact dose of fertilizer, taking into account soil and climatic characteristics, the level of yield of the cultivated hybrid or variety, and other factors.

It is known, for instance, that the later a particular hybrid of maize matures, the more nutrients it takes out from the soil. On rainfed land, the conditions of formation of a heavy yield is limited and therefore doses of the applied fertilizers should be 30-40% lower, than on irrigated.  It is considered that maize at a grain yield of 100 quintals for each quintals of production takes out nitrogen 3-4 kg, phosphorus 1-1,5 kg and potassium 3,5-5 kg.

The nutritive efficiency from fertilizers depends on many factors: the type of fertilizer, soil type, moisture content of plants, etc. In calculations, it is usually assumed that the nutritive efficiency in the first years of mineral fertilizers application is: nitrogen – 40-60%, phosphorus – 17-25%, potassium – 40-55%.

The aftereffect of nitrogen lasts for one year, and in subsequent years its effect significantly weakens. The aftereffect of potassium is similar to nitrogen. The effect of phosphorus on the crop lasts for five years.

Manure is the most valuable organic fertilizer, as it contains all the nutrients necessary for plants and a large number of useful groups of microorganisms. Maize uses nutrients from organic compounds, as its roots secrete enzymes that dissolve organic substances.

With regular application of manure and other organic fertilizers to the soil, its water, air and thermal properties improve, the content of humus increases. Under the influence of manure, structureless soils turn into structural ones, and the number of water-stable aggregates increases. Besides, manure is a cheap and valuable fertilizer. One ton of manure contains nitrogen 5-8 kg, phosphorus 2-3 kg and potassium 5-7 kg, and one ton of chicken manure contains nitrogen 13 kg, phosphorus 18 kg and potassium 9 kg.

The efficiency of mineral fertilizers increases significantly if they are applied with manure.

According to scientific institutions, the most effective and cost-effective is an application of 20-40 tons of rotted manure mixed with 3-4 quintals of superphosphate and 1.5 quintals of potassium salt for underwinter plowing. Nitrogen fertilizers are applied in spring before sowing at a rate of 1.5-3 quintals per hectare.

In addition to the main fertilizer, the application of mineral, especially combined, fertilizers in the form of feedings for maize provides even greater yields.

The greatest effect is given by early fertilizing in the phase of 3-5 leaves. In the first feeding on 1 hectare it is applied 1-1.5 quintals of ammonium nitrate, 1.5-2 quintals of superphosphate and 0.6-0.8 quintals of potassium chloride. These fertilizers are applied to a depth of 10-12 cm by cultivators-fertilizers. The second feeding is applied at the rate of 0.5-1 quintals of ammonium nitrate and 1.5 quintals of superphosphate per hectare before the start of paniculation, and in irrigated areas – simultaneously with water-furrow plowing.