Promotion of Scientific Maize cultivation and FAW management in Nagaland

Promotion of Scientific Maize cultivation and FAW management in Nagaland

L.K. Baishya, N. Walling, T. Jamir, H. Verma, Suby S.B. and D.J. Rajkhowa

ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Nagaland Centre, Medziphema-797106, Nagaland

Maize is considered a promising option for diversifying agriculture in upland areas of India. Being a day neutral plant (grown in any season) and a C4 plant (uses 3-fold less water) with an added advantage of higher yield per hectare even in a shorter period than any other food grain crop.

It is the second most important food crop after rice for NEH region. It accounts for feed (60%), food (20%) and non-food industrial products-mainly starch (20%). It can be cultivated round the year throughout the country for various purposes including grain, fodder, green cobs, sweet corn, baby corn, pop corn in peri-urban areas. It is a source of more than 3,500 products and in India 15 million farmers are engaged in its cultivation.

  • Grown in every districts of Nagaland with an area of 68820 ha (21.16% of net cropped area) with average productivity 1975 kg ha-1
  • Extensively cultivated as a mixed crop in Jhum by different tribes of Nagaland
  • It grows from sea level to 3000 m altitude and in diverse condition
  • Growing of maize, farmers can save 90% of water and 70% of power compared to paddy

Why we should go for cultivation of Maize in Nagaland?

  • Less water demanding as well as a day neutral plant (C4 plant)
  • Generates employment for >650 million person-days at farming and its related business ecosystem levels
  • Importantly, maize contributes >2% to the total value of output from all agricultural crops
  • Global average productivity of India 5.62 t ha-1, Nagaland 2.5 t ha-1 and NEH 1.9 t ha-1
  • Ample opportunities to enhance the yield levels of maize in India through development, popularization and adoption of new and improved technologies

Scope of Maize production – as animal feed in Nagaland:

  • Almost 100% in Nagaland people are non-vegetarian. The state spends about Rs.231 crore annually on import of livestock with more than Rs.92 crore on pork alone.
  • As per the sample survey report of 2017-18, the state produces 45.23% of the total requirement of meat with a worth of Rs. 1206.15 crore leaving a shortfall of 54.77%.
  • The 19th Livestock Census shows a negative growth of 36.47%. The poultry birds, ducks, turkeys and quails constituted 66.55% of the total livestock population in the state, the report stated.
  • The production of meat, milk and egg in the state during 2017-18 was 32.45 thousand tonnes, 78.46 thousand tonnes, 398.76 lakh numbers respectively.
  • The state has reduced level of per capita availability of meat & egg during 2017-18.
  • Decline in imports of animal husbandry products is possible with implementation of various livestock and poultry programmes including in-situ feed production.

Target to achieve 3 key outcomes: Meeting domestic demand, increased farmers’ income and putting an imprint of Indian maize on global map in terms of quality

Cultivation Practices of Maize:

1. Soils

Soils ranging from loamy sand to clay loam are suitable. Good organic matter content, high water holding capacity and neutral pH of the soils are considered good for higher productivity. Being a sensitive crop to moisture stress (excess soil moisture and salinity stress), fields having provision of proper drainage should be selected.

2. Time of sowing    

3. Seed rate and plant geometry

4. Seed treatment

5. Nutrient Management

For higher economic yield, application of FYM 5 t ha-1 (10-15 days prior to sowing)

N: 150-180 kg ha-1 [for higher N use efficiency 5 splits- basal (20%), 4 leaf stage (25%), 8 leaf stage (30%), tasseling (20%) and grain filling stage (5%)]

P2O5: 70-80 kg ha-1, K2O: 70-80 kg ha-1, ZnSO4: 25 kg ha-1

6. Weed Management

Timely weed management is indispensable for higher yield. Manual weeding: 1-2 hoeing is recommended for aeration and uprooting the weeds before knee-high stage.

Precautions: The person should move backward- a) while spraying to leave the herbicide film undisturbed on the soil surface, b) while hoeing to avoid compaction and better aeration.

7. Crop protection

A. Major insect-pest management

1.   Fall armyworm:  Quick action strategy based on symptom and crop stage

Cultural Management Practices:

  1. Deep summer ploughing (exposes FAW pupae)
  2. Follow clean cultivation: remove weeds. Do not over-use fertilizers.
  3. Maximize plant diversity: Intercrop with non-host crops legumes- pigeon pea, black gram, green gram.
  4. Timely sowing: avoid staggered sowings as different crop stages allow breeding ground to FAW. If it is unavoidable (Sweet corn/baby corn), release egg parasitoids at weekly interval or weekly spray of neem based pesticides.
  5. Mass tapping FAW male moths: install pheromone traps @ 15 acre-1 (sowing till reproductive stage).
  6. Erection of bird perches @10 acre-1 from sowing till harvest.

Mechanical control:

  1. Collection and destruction of egg masses & larvae feeding in groups (crush or put in kerosene).
  2. Application of sand/soil mixed with lime/ash (9:1) (abrasive and desiccative action)

Biological control: Promote and adopt nature’s control

  • Natural enemies contain 56% of FAW larvae. A situation that would be masked if we resort to indiscriminate use of pesticides. Natural Enemies kill will be slow but debilitates larvae from feeding.
  • Native bio-agents are best bet. Release of Trichogramma pretiosum @50,000 acre-1 or Telenomus remus @10,000 adults acre-1 at weekly intervals.         
  • Larval parasitoid: Glyptapanteles creatonoti; Egg larval parasitoid: Chelonus sp; Larval-pupal parasitoids: Ichneumonidae, Trichomalopsis sp.,
  • Naturally occurring predators: Eocanthecona furcellata, Coccinellids, Andrallus spinidens, Earwig Forficula sp.
  • Entomopathogenic fungus: Natural epizootics Nomuraea rileyi found in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. Collect, crush, add water and spray @1 larva L-1 water (Opportunity for NEH: 25°C & RH >70% ) [Research @NBAIR: Beauvaria bassiana,   Metarhizium anisopliae & Nomuraea rileyi isolates showed mortality of 28.6-64.3%, 10.7-67.8%  & 20% respectively]

General Recommendations:

*Chemical pesticides- strictly need based: Follow action threshold and spray schedule given in quick action strategy. All the sprays should be directed towards whorl (early hours/evening time).

ii. Stem Borer (Chilo partellus) & Pink Borer (Sesamia inference): Foliar spraying of 0.1% Endosulfan 35EC @ 700ml in 250L water at 10 days after germination. Chilo can also be controlled by releasing 8 Trichocards ha-1 (Trichogramma chilonis) at 10 days after germination. Intercropping of maize + cowpea (suitable varieties) is an eco-friendly option to reduce Chilo incidence.

iii. Termites (Odontotermes obesus): Apply fepronil granules @ 20kg ha-1 followed by light irrigation. If the incidence is in patches, spot application of fepronil @ 2-3 granules plant-1 is recommended. Clean cultivation also delays its attack.

B. Major disease management

Spraying of chemicals must be accompanied with crop debris being ploughed down. Also, the resistant cultivars should be grown.

i. Turcicum leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum): Spray Mancozeb/Zineb @ 2.5g L-1 water (2-4 applications) at 8-10 days interval. Grow Vivek Maize Hybrid – 21 & 25.

ii. Maydis leaf blight (Drechslera maydis): Spray Dithane Z-75/Zineb @ 2.4-4g L-1 water (2-4 applications) at 8-10 days interval after first appearance of disease symptoms. Grow HQPM-1 & 5.

8. Maize based cropping systems in NEH Region

Maize based cropping systems are better user of available resources.

  1. Maize + Green gram/Groundnut/Soybean/Okra
  2. Maize – French bean/Toria/Sunflower/Pea/Sesame/Linseed
  3. Maize – Rice(Lowland) – Sunflower/Linseed/Toria

9. Released varieties for NEH Region