Fodder maize

(Zea Mays)

Maize - Field view

Fodder maize - Makkacholam

  • Origin of maize appears to be Mexico. For long time it is exclusively grown for grain but in the last 90-100 years it is also grown for forage purpose.
  • Grain is an important ingredient for poultry feed. Mostly dent types (angular grain concave on the top) are grown for forage. The male inflorescence is called TASSEL and female as COB.
  • Maize is widely cultivated from 50ºN to 40ºS and from sea level to 3300 m altitude in tropics. It requires 600-900 mm rainfall in the growing season. It is grown on a variety of soils, but well drained fertile soils are best suited.
  • Maize is mostly grown as KHARIF crop i.e. sowing in June - July. In south India it makes best growth in RABI and also in SUMMER. It can be grown throughout the year with irrigation facility.


  • All varieties (composites, synthetics and hybrids) developed for grain production can also be used for fodder production. Usually tall varieties are preferred for fodder. African tall, Vijay composite, Moti composite, Ganga - 5 and Jawahar are some important fodder varieties.


  • African Tall, Ganga 5 can be grown throughout the year for fodder in all districts under irrigation in Tamil Nadu

Preparation of the field (Irrigated Crop)

  • Ploughing the Field
    • Plough the field twice with an iron plough and three or four times with country plough to obtain good tilth.
  • Application of FYM
    • Apply and spread FYM or compost at 25 t/ha on unploughed field along with 10 packets of Azospirillum (2000 g) inoculum and incorporate the manure into the soil during ploughing.
  • Forming Ridges and Furrows
    • Form ridges and furrows using a ridger, 6 m long and 30 cm apart and form irrigation channels across the furrows. If ridges and furrows are not made, form beds of size 10 m2 or 20 m2 depending on the availability of water and slope of the land.
  • Application of Fertilizers
    • Apply NPK fertilizers as per soil test recommendation as far as possible. If soil testing is not done, follow blanket recommendation of 60 N: 40 P2O5: 20 K2O kg/ha. Apply half the dose of N and full dose of P2O5 and K2O basally before sowing. In case of bed planted crop, mark lines to a depth of 6 cm and 30 cm apart. Place the fertilizer mixture at a depth of 6 cm along the lines and cover the lines to a depth of 4 cm with soil.
  • Sowing
    • Maintain a seed rate of 40 kg/ha and dibble one seed to a spacing of 15cm between the seeds in the row which are 30 cm apart. Sow the seeds at a depth of 4 cm over the lines where fertilizers are placed and cover.
    • Treat the seeds with 3 packets (600 g) Azospirillum inoculant before sowing

  • Water Management: Irrigate immediately after sowing and give life irrigation on the third day and thereafter once in 10 days.
  • Weed Management: Hoeing and weeding are done as and when necessary
  • Maize does not contain any harmful chemicals and it can be fed to animals at any of its growth stages. In India it is used as green fodder and also as stover (by -product from grain crop). In western countries, it is mainly used for silage making. We can get only single cut from maize. The average green fodder yield will be 40-50 t/ha and the dry matter yield will be 10-15 t/ha. Staggered sowing is recommended for supply of green fodder for a long period. Harvest the crop when the cob is in the milky stage.
  • Maize can be intercropped with legumes like cowpea or lab-lab when sown at wider spacing. Usually 2:2 ratio is adopted. Fodder Maize can also be intercropped with CO5 Cowpea at 1:1 ratio and harvested together to provide nutritious fodder.

Click here for video... 

Last modified: Wednesday, 21 December 2011, 8:47 AM