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Diseases of Maize

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Maydis leaf blight (MLB) - Bipolaris maydis


  • Young lesions are small and diamond shaped.
  • As they mature, they elongate. Lesions may coalesce, producing a complete “burning” of large areas of the leaves.
  • They vary in size and shape among inbreds and hybrids with different genetic background.
  • Race ‘O’ produced tan, elongated (2-6x 3-22 mm) lesion between the veins with limited margins, with buff to brown borders, usually attacks only leaves.


  • Resistant varieties  – Deccan, VL 42, Prabhat, KH-5901, PRO-324, PRO-339, ICI-701, F-7013, F-7012, PEMH 1, PEMH 2, PEMH 3, Paras, Sartaj, Deccan 109.
  • Two applications of  captafol

Sorghum downy mildew (Peronosclerospora sorghi)


  • The chlorotic area of leaf always includes the base of the blade, and transverse margins usually sharply defined between the diseased and healthy tissues
  • A white, downy growth may appear on both surface of infected leaves. Sometimes tassels of diseased plant may exhibit phyllody.
  • Tolerant plant may show symptoms of systemic infection but have normal seed production.


  • Resistant varieties – Comp. A-9, Indimyt 345, EH-43861, KH-526, AH-36.

Brown stripe downy mildew  (Scleropthora rayssiae var. zeae)


  • Lesions start developing on lower leaves as narrow chlorosis or yellow stripes,3-7 mm wide,with well defined margin and are delimited by the veins.
  • The stripes later become reddish to purple.Lateral development of lesions causes sever striping and blotching.
  • Seed development may be suppressed,and plant may die prematurely if blotching occurs prior to flowering.
  • Sporangia on the leaves appear as a downy whitish to wooly growth on both surface of the lesions.
  • Floral or vegetative parts are not malformed, and the leaves do not shred.


  • Resistant varieties -Prabhat, Kohinoor, ICI-703, PAC-9401, PMZ-2, SEEDTEC-2331, BIO-9681 (Y) etc.

Brown spot (Physoderma maydis)


  • The first noticeable symptoms develop on leaf blades and consist of small chlorotic spots, arranged as alternate bands of diseased and healthy tissue. Free water and high temperatures(23-300C) is favorable for this disease.
  • Spots on the mid-ribs are circular and dark brown, while lesions on the laminae continue as chlorotic spots.  Nodes and internodes also show brown lesions.
  • In severe infections, these may coalesce and induce stalk rotting and lodging.


  • Planting corn early allows to escape infection.
  • Removing of Saccharum spontaneoum grass growing around the crop, can minimise the diease.
  • Systemic fungicides mainly based on  acylalamines such as, metalaxyl (Ridomil 25 WP, Apron 35 SD, Apron 35 FN)
  • Resistant varieties – Ganga 11,Deccan, Deccan 103,Composite Suwan1, F-9572 A, JKMH-178-4, FH-3113

Pythium stalk rot (Pythium aphanidermatum)


  • Usually the basal internodes become soft, dark brown water soaked, causing the plants lodge.
  • Damaged internodes commonly twist before the plants lodge.  Diseased plants can remain alive until all vascular bundles become affected.
  • Isolations in culture media are necessary to differentiate Pythium from Erwinia stalk rots.


  • Planting time between 10 & 20 July in Northern India.
  • Maintain plant population around 50,000/ha.
  • Good field drainage.
  • Removal of previous crop debris.
  • Resistant varieties – Ganga,  Safed 2

Bacterial stalk rot (Erwinia chrysanthemi pv zeae)


  • The stalk near the ground become water-soaked with brownish discolouration and are easily breakable.
  • The rotting tissues emit a putrid smell.
  • Infected plants show dark colour and water soaking at the base of the stalk.  Plants die shortly after tasseling.
  • The bacterial decomposition produces an unpleasant odor.


  • Planting crop on ridges. Avoid water logging and proper drainage

Charcoal stalk Rot (Macrophomina phaseolina)


  • Disease appears 1-2 weeks after the flowering.  The outside of the lower internode becomes straw coloured.
  • The pith becomes badly disintegrated.
  • The pathogen invades seedling roots.  When plants approach maturity, the internal parts of stems show a black discolouration and shredding of the vascular bundles.
  • This occurs mainly in lower stalk internodes.  Careful examination of rind and vascular bundles of infected plants easily reveals small black sclerotia which can overwinter and infect next crop.
  • Fungus may infect kernels which cause them blacken completely.
  • Disease favoured by high soil temperature 30-42o C and low soil moisture.


  • Avoiding water stress at flowering time can reduce disease incidence,
  • Apply Trichoderma in furrows after mixing with FYM @ 1kg/100kg  FYM/acre (mix 10 days before use in field)

Fusarium stalk rot (Fusarium moniliforme)


  • Affected plant wilt,leaves change from light to dull green, and the lower stalks become straw coloured.
  • Reddish discoloration occurs inside the infected stalk.
  • The internal pith tissue disintegrates, leaving only the vascular bundles.
  • Fungus enter through roots and grow up in to lower stem.
  • If infection occurs just after flowering, husks appear bleached and straw coloured.


  • Seed from infected areas should not be planted.
  • Rotation with other crops.
  • Resistant varieties – Ranjit and Ganga 5
  • Single Cross – CM 103 x CM 104, CM 400 x CM 300


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Technology for Maize Cultivation in Andhra Pradesh

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Maize is mainly grown in Karimnagar, Warangal, Medak, Nizamabad, Adilabad and Randgareddy districts of Andhra Pradesh. This area forms the maize belt of this state. About 2.5 lakh hectares of maize is grown under rainfed situation in kharif season while around 0.6 lakh hectare is grown during Rabi under irrigated conditions. There is an immense scope for growing maize as an irrigated crop under Srirampadasagar and Nagarjunasagar projects and also in the non-traditional areas of the remaining districts of Andhra Pradesh.


Maize can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from sandy to clayey. But it performs best on well drained, aerated deep-loams and silt loams containing organic matter and nutrients. Maize may be raised on moderately acid soils, but the optimum PH range is from 6.5 to 7.5. Highly saline, acidic, alkaline and water logged soils should be avoided. Deep ploughing twice, followed by leveling and making of ridges and furrows is required before sowing.


Experimental results have indicated that optimum time for sowing kharif crop is the fortnight before the onset of monsoon. This is possible in the situations where irrigation is available. In the absence of any irrigation facilities, sowing with the onset of monsoon will be ideal. Thus, in kharif the crop may be sown from the middle of June t middle of July. For Rabi maize, the most suitable date of sowing is between October 15 and November 15 in Telangana area and up to the first week of January in the coastal area.


Maintenance of optimum plant population is essential to realize higher yields. Experimental evidence obtained so far indicated that 66,000 plants/ha is the optimum, to obtain maximum yields. The optimum plant stand can be obtained if the planting distance is 75 cm between rows and 20 cm within rows. It is better to grow maize on ridges and furrows after the land is thoroughly prepared. The seed rate required is 20 kg/ha. Two to three seeds may be dibbled 2-3 cm deep on the right side of the ridge, at one-third distance from the top. The choice of optimum date of sowing is of greater importance in kharif as well as in Rabi seasons. Any marked delay in sowing is likely to result in lower yield. Also in late sown crops there is an increased incidence of leaf-blight and other pests and diseases. Excessive seedlings should be thinned 10 days after the emergence to have a single seedling per hill.

Weeding and Intercultivation

Pre-emergence spray of Atrazine (A trataf) at 1.5 kg/ha in case of light soils and 2.0 kg/ha in case of heavy soils mixed in 500-600 litres of water will control most of the broad leaf weeds effectively. When crop is 30-35 days old, intercultivation is done mainly for checking weed growth and for loosening the soil for proper aeration and conserving moisture. Under heavy weed infestation, manual weeding is necessary. Combination of intercultivation and use of weedicide in an integrated manner can be employed beneficially. During intercultivation a cultivator may be run followed by the ridger, for earthing up.


Farmyard manure or compost should be applied at the rate of 50 cartloads per hectare. The recommended dose of chemical fertilizer is 120 kg nitrogen and 60 kg phosphate for irrigated crops and 90 kg nitrogen and 45 kg phosphate per hectare for rainfed crop. Potash and zinc may be applied as per the soil test recommendations. All phosphate and all potash and zinc may be applied as a basal dose. Nitrogen may be applied in 3 splits in light soils one fourth at planting half at one month after sowing and the balance at the time of preflowering stage. Soils deficient in zinc, should receive 50 kg of zinc sulphate should not be mixed with phosphatic fertilizers. If zinc deficiency symptoms are observed in plants, 0.2 % zinc sulphate solution may be sprayed 2 or 3 times at weekly intervals.


Maize requires about 6-10 irrigations depending upon the maturity of a grown hybrid/variety. To get a good crop, irrigations should be given as and when required. Maize needs less irrigation till the crop attains a knee high state (30 to 40 days). As growth period advances the intervals between irrigation can be reduced and more quantity of water applied till the completion of milk stage. During the initial stages of crop growth, drainage is very important since waterlogged conditions impede the crop growth. Critical stages of water requirement in maize crop which restrict yield are tasselling, silking, and milk formation and dough stages. Maize sensitive to water stagnation at seedling stage and water stress at flowering, grain-filling and dough stages.

Plant Protection

Pests: The striped borer (Chilo partellus) infests the crop during kharif and the pink borer (Seasamia infers) during Rabi. These borers cause dead hearts in early stage of crop. Generally hybrids are tolerant to these pests. In endemicareas a prophylactic spraying of endosulfan 35 EC at 0.1 % is recommended when the crop is about 10-12 days old. If needed this may be followed by an application of carbofuran 3G granules in whorls at the rate of 7.5 kg/ha a fortnight after the first spray.

Diseases: The important diseases of maize are leaf blight (Helminthosporium turcicum), late wilt (Cephalosporium maydis) and charcoal rot (Macrophomina phaseolina). The use of recommended hybrids and varieties considerably reduces the incidence of these diseases. Therefore no chemical control measures are recommended. In case of seed production plots three sprayings of 0.3% dithane Z-78 (3 gms/litre) at weekly interval starting from knee high stage of the crop controls the leaf-blight.

Seed treatment with Capan followed by soil drenching with bleaching power (1,000ppm, Chlorine) at 45, 55 and 65 days as the age of the crop reduces the intensity of two kinds of stalk rots.


Harvesting is done when grain moisture reaches 20-25%. This can be noticed when the cobs-shealth (husk) dries up completely. After harvesting cobs should be dried in sunlight for about a week. The cobs are then ready for shelling. Hand-sheller, and powersheller driven by current or tractor are available and they can be used for shelling. After shelling, the grain can be dried for 2 to 3 days, cleaned and graded. The seed treatment with thiram@2gram per kilo of seed can be done and stored safely when seed moisture is about 8 to 10% . Storing in air tight containers reduces and other storage pests and diseases.

Table.1. Recommended varieties and hybrids of maize for Andhra Pradesh


Reinfed of Irrigated


Grain Yield




DHM 103


DHM 105


DHM 107

DHM 109





Special Varieties

Amber pop-corn

Madhuri(sweet corn)





Rainfed and Irrigated

Rainfed and Irrigated

Rainfed and Irrigated

Rainfed and irrigated

Rainfed and irrigated

























Kharif & rabi










Kharif, rabi

Tolerant to foliar diseases and stalk rot

Early mating short duration a hybrid resistant diseases

Stable hybrid tolerant to foliar diseases and stalk rot


Tolerant to foliar diseases and stalk rots. First medium maturity hybrid

Tolerant to foliar diseases and stalk rot. First early duration three way cross hybrid.

Tolerant to stalk borer

A promising composite with tolerance to foliar diseases and stalk borer

A drought tolerant variety

Grains used for popping

Delicious table variety having very high sugar 30-35) green cobs.


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Maize - cultivation process

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The highest weight of maize crop production have found that as compared to rice and wheat. Maize in the spring crop planting is done that this season of rain may reap. Rain for the crops, so much as Maize is sensitive to drought are important. Generally, one two or three crops the crop cultivation is in the rotation.

Cultivation of maize in the following steps

Planting :

crop sowing when the crop is planted. In mid-April planting of maize normally is used for mid-May.

Silking :

crop cultivation is the most crucial stage. This means crop pollination.

Doughing :

When maize crop starts to show a thick substance, called crop will doughed.

Denting :

doughing During the process, like plant material in the formation of the dough spends all its resources and to reduce the plant and 'one' break begins at end of matter is to show . The denting thus called.

Maturing :

When the green leaves of maize leaves and is gone from opening appears, the crop is said to be mature.

Collection :

crop generally is mature around 3 -4 months end and then it is ready to be collected or harvested.

Maize production in India

Common in India as Maize 'Kharif' crop as is produced, meaning that it is common as a summer production. Grains produced in India mainly from most of southern Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh comes from corn belt states. Earlier in the 50 and 60, maize production through improved crop management techniques and area under cultivation is increasing. Now, through improving the yield is improved.


Maize is produced in the States:

  • Karnataka
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Bihar Punjab
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Gujarat
  • Himachal Pradesh

Maize Indian market For crop production as a large variety of environments need to Maize. Large and as an agricultural country, for India to offer all the basic requirements. India approximately 10 million tonnes of maize is produced. As a major producer of maize in Karnataka in India comes under India's maize belt and approximately 15% of India's total output is produced. In India, the area cultivated is maize which 7 million hectares in 2004. India's production of almost all the maize that is consumed. Nearly 50% of India's total production and about 8% of poultry feed as consumed by industry is consumed starch. Indian exports 5 million tonnes of maize annually around fluctuates. Most Western countries importing maize from India.


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