Dry season maize farming refers to the cultivation of maize during the dry season. This includes sowing corn seeds, maintaining the maize field, and harvesting maize cobs during the dry season. In the southern region of Nigeria, dry season maize farming takes place between October and March. Northern Nigeria practices dry season maize planting between September and April.
Since few farmers plant maize in Nigeria during the dry season, dry season maize farming can be profitable. The number of farmers planting maize in Nigeria during the dry season is relatively low due to a lack of rainfall and water source.
Get started with these tips:
For you to engage in dry-season maize farming in Nigeria, it is important to plan. Planning involves the writing of a business plan and feasibility study. You also need to sort out issues related to financing and availability of capital.
2. Choice of Farmland Site
You need to get a good farmland for your dry season maize farming. Your soil should be rich in nutrients and not waterlogged. The farmland site should also have good and accessible roads so that your maize produce can be easily transported to the market.
3. Type of Maize Seeds to Plant
The type of maize seeds to plant is one of the factors to look out for when engaging in dry season maize farming. Some maize varieties can tolerate drought better than others. Hybrid maize varieties are also more resistant to pests and illnesses than open pollinated maize varieties and have higher yields than them.
4. Land Preparation
Land preparation involves the removal of trees, stumps, and weeds on the farmland. It also involves the ploughing, harrowing, and ridging of the farmland. For dry season maize farming, the soil should be plough several times so that it will be loose. This is because loose soil drains well and this can positively impact your maize crop. Use animals for these tasks for small farms, and tractors for larger farms.
5. Irrigation System
For dry season maize farming, there are different types of irrigation systems that a farmer can use. Irrigation is needed for dry season maize farming in Nigeria. Examples of irrigation systems include: Drip Irrigation System, Rain Gun Irrigation System, Spray Tube Irrigation System, Thip Irrigation System, Drip Flood Irrigation System etc.
6. Labour Requirement
You need to sort out labour issues to succeed as a dry-season maize farmer in Nigeria. When sourcing for labourers, engaging the services of 18 years and above farm hands is important. At the end of the season or at an agreed time, pay your labourers the stipulated price for their work.
Planting of maize in the dry season should be done in September – April. Please note that the time for dry season maize farming in southern Nigeria is different from that of northern Nigeria.
You should do a soil analysis to reveal the nutrients profile of your soil before engaging in dry season maize farming in Nigeria. There are several types of fertilizer that can be used for dry season maize farming. They are:
- NPK 15:15:15
- Potassium Nitrate
- Calcium Nitrate
9. Pests and Diseases’ Management
Insects and flies are quite prevalent in the dry season in Nigeria. To engage in dry season maize farming in Nigeria, you need to manage pests and diseases efficiently.
The following can be used to manage pests and diseases in dry season maize cultivation in Nigeria:
- Acaricides etc.
10. Harvest and Marketing
Harvest maize when they are mature. Grains are usually more expensive when harvested and sold at the tail end of the dry season or the beginning of the rainy season.
In the dry season, the cultivation of maize is quite profitable. It is therefore important to pay attention to these tips for a good yield.