Guidelines for spacing and sowing Maize.

A good planting method is one that allows the seed to be placed at the correct depth and provides good contact between seed and the soil. Below are some important points to note;

– Land preparation may or may not be cultivated properly so that clods or crusts prevent planting at a uniform depth and even germination
– Preparation is too long or patchy so that weeds have an advantage over the crop
– Seeds are placed at the wrong depth

The correct depth is deep enough to allow the seed to take up water, to protect it from desiccation or birds, and to prevent germinating with light rains, but shallow enough to allow the seedling to reach the surface before depleting its food reserves. A planting depth of 2.5 – 5.0 cm should be uniform throughout the field. However, it is recommended that a planting depth of about 5.0cm be used when dry planting to avoid germination due to false rains.

Spacing is important as it determines plant population hence the final desired yields. Appropriate row spacing makes more efficient use of light leading to faster canopy establishment, thus reducing soil moisture evaporation and weed growth. Highland market, Medium altitude wet and medium altitude moist, the recommended spacing is 75 x 25 cm (50,000 plants per Hectare) one seed per hole. Under good agronomic practices, particular hybrids can be planted at 75cm x 22cm (60,000 plants per Hectare) in the highland and medium wet regions.

– Dry planting is recommended for mechanized planting since in wet conditions the chances of the plates and other relay parts clogging due to mud are high.
– Plant spacing precision is well achieved with mechanized planting. You will be able to get the desired plant population.
– Even in mechanized planting, pneumatic planters have the best precision than the plate.
– Particular seed companies have classified seeds into Round or Flat with various sub-classes of Small, Medium, and large so that they easily fit your preferred planter plate.
– The ministry of agriculture has taken the initiative of calibrating planters so that farmers can achieve desired plant populations.
– Use 20,000 kernels or 8 to 10 Kg of quality hybrid seed maize per Acre. Kernel packaging is preferred since the farmer can easily calculate the number of packs required per given unit.
– Seed purity (devoid of broken seeds and inert material) is paramount. Where seeds are packed by weight and purity compromised, then the impurities tend to add weight thus reducing the number of seeds in a pack.
– 1 Ha ≡ 2.47 Acres
– Side-band placement is the best practice for fertilizer placement. Same as that realized in mechanized planting.

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