For my second Plant Project I have decided to focus on Maize. This crop is the third most important food plant in the world, surpassed only by rice and wheat. In Europe, 50% of the crop is grown for grain while the remainder is grown for forage.
I have chosen maize for a number of reasons: firstly, because it is still a fairly new crop in Ireland and therefore, different methods of growing are still being tried and tested with the aim of gaining a higher return. The first introduction of maize in Ireland was during the 1970’s, however, it proved to be unsuccessful due to the low temperatures. Now, plant breeders and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, UK (NIAB) have developed new varieties that are early maturing and more suitable to the Irish climate.
Advantages of maize include that it produces a high quality feed at a lower cost than second or third cut silage giving improved animal performance and it is also convenient as sowing and harvesting are usually carried out by contractor. Also that there are no rotational constraints and that it uses slurry efficiently makes this a very profitable practice. Because of this, I find maize a very interesting topic to research as there is a lot of information available on many different levels and strategies.
Thirdly, it is a crop that is definitely gaining popularity in West Cork, which makes it a central topic in the farming community of my area. In my opinion, it is important to be involved with issues of ones locality. Finally, maize is a crop that fits in very well with the school year, which makes the accessing of information a lot easier. It also ensures the possibility of taking part in practical activities.
Since I do not live on a farm, I had to make sure that it was possible for me to visit a local farm, as this will make it a lot easier for me to understand the principles of growing maize. The two farms, which I will be able to visit are both based near Skibbereen and are both involved in the production of maize. Even though Fachtna Collins and Derry O’Donovan both grow maize, their principles of production differ: Fachtna plants the maize underneath polythene while Derry plants it on uncovered ground.
Anatomy of a Maize Plant
Varieties of Maize
Some different Varieties
Targets for Maize
Soil and Site Selection
Diseases, Weeds and Pests
Growing Maize under Plastic
The Development of Maize
Maize at Ensiling and the Use of Additives
The Uses and Value of Maize
Growing a Crop after Maize
Some Environmental Considerations
Maize Meeting at Fernhill House Hotel
The Cost of Growing Maize
The Cost of Growing Maize - A Comparison
Conclusion and Acknowledgements
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This project is hosted by CRS Books