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Introduction > Area And Production > Origin And Diffusion > Uses >

Ikisan - Introduction to maize


Scientific name : Zea mays

Family : Gramineae

  • Maize (Zea mays) is one of the most important cereal crops in the world grown over an area of 132 m.ha with a production of 570m.t. It is the crop with the highest per day productivity.
  • In India, maize is next in important only to rice and has an acreage around 6m.ha with a production of 10.5m.t.
  • The Portuguese introduced maize to Southeast-Asia from the America in the 16thcentury. Maize plant is native to the America. Remains of pre-historic maize dating back to 3000-5000 B.C. has been found in caves in Mexico.
  • The Red Indians of America carried out initially effective improvement in maize.
  • Maize is one of the oldest of the cultivated crops. It is no longer capable of survival in the wild form and can be grown only under cultivation.
  • Maize (Zea mays) is the only species in the genus Zea. Its diploid with chromosome number 2n=20. It has two close relatives, gama grass (Tripscum;2n=36;72) and Teosinte (Euchlaena 2n=20 in annual forms). Teosinte is the closest relative of maize and crosses readily with it.
  • With the high yield potential of maize, development of maize hybrids adapted to the particular areas is a feasible strategy to enhance maize production and productivity.
  • Corn, known botanically as Zea mays Linnaeus, is a green plant uitlizes suns energy, carbondioxide and water containing minerals to produce one of the worlds most versetile seed crops.
  • Corn belongs to the grass family and is a cross-pollinated, monoecious plant in which the male and female flowers are located in different inflorsences on the same stalk.
  • One or more ears develop which contain from 300 to 1000 kernals arranged in regular rows along a cob. Besides producing the grain has evolved from an indispensable food stable during early colonial and pioneering days to the most important feed grain.
  • Corn in the United states is also called maize or Indian corn. In some countries corn is often understood to mean the leading crop that grows in a district. Corn in England means wheat. In Scotland and Ireland, it refers to oats.


Ikisan - Area and production of maize

Area And Production

  • Maize is a universal crop grown in the developed and developing countries over an extent of 1400.79 L.ha. India's share in the world's area is only 4.5% (63.1 L.T) with 5th place next to USA, China , Brazil and Mexico.
  • Andhra Pradesh has a share of 6.4% in the area (4.0 L.T) covered under crop in the country and stands in 5th rank.
  • Maize coverage shown a steady increase from 1.97 L.ha (1956-57) to 3.67 L.ha (1996-97) spread over a period of 5 decades. And it further increased upto 6.3lakh hectares in 2002-03.

Area, Production and Productivity of Maize in India during 2002-03


Area in 000' ha

Production 000' tonnes

Yield (Kgs/Hect)


152 310 2040


983 870 890


465 793 1710


371 744 2000

Madhya Pradesh

850 1501 1770

Andhra Pradesh

526 1486 2830


650 1384 2130

Tamil Nadu

117 197 1680
Bihar 265 445 1680
Himachal Pradesh 297 479 1610
Jammu & kashmir 330 465 1410
Uttar Pradesh 762 839 1100
All India 6290 10303 1640

Source : Statistical Abstract of India 2003

  • Several hybrids synthetics and composites and pure lines were evolved in maize to suit the location specific needs of state.
  • Hybrids like DHM-1, DHM-103, synthetics composites like Aswini, Harsha, Varun and special varieties like Amber Popcorn are raised under irrigated and rainfed conditions.
  • Andhra Pradesh with a 10% share (11.4L.T) of country 's production (103) stands 2nd rank.
  • Among the countries India has 8th status with 1.9% share of world's production (5858.28 L.T).
  • The productivity levels of maize of the world (4182 kgs/ha), India (1640 kgs/ha) and Andhra Pradesh state (2830 kgs/ha) indicate that the country's and state's yield are far below the world's average.
  • In Andhra Pradesh the production of maize had gone up from 1956-57 (1.1L.T) to 1997-98 (5.3L.T) over a period of 40 long years.
  • However a steep increase into 11.90 L.T was observed in late 90's with the increase in area under cultivation and improved productivity the per hectare yield of this crop was only 559 kgs (1956-57) which gradually increased with the production of suitable hybrids and composites and through proper management practices, to the level 3,299 kgs/ha (1996-97) in the last five decades.

Districtwise Area, Production & Productivity of Maize in Andhra Pradesh 2003-04


Area in Hectares

Production in tonnes

Yield in Kg/ha






2044 6984 3417


11583 43001 3712


8323 20358 2446

East Godavari

8508 39426 4634

West Godavari

27818 148216 5328


12202 42790 3507


26840 135191 5037


10202 23420 2296


23 63 2729


1134 3468 3059


72 139 1932


7458 17505 2347


5024 14408 2868


94736 209327 2210


29642 125525 4235


112373 215950 1922


54755 205985 3762


30459 124239 4079


162785 668836 4109


84304 302755 3591


25568 113638 4445


4761 15562 3269


720614 2476786 3437

Source : Season & Crop report, AP Govt 2004

Area, Productivity and Production of Maize in Andhra Pradesh


Area in lakh hectares

Productivity in Kgs/hect

Production in lakh tonnes

























Average of preceding 5 years (1998-99 to 2002-2003)




Source : Season & Crop report, AP Govt 2004


Ikisan - Origin and diffusion of maize

Origin And Diffusion

  • Place of origin of maize is uncertain though some workers mention it to be high lands of Peru, Bolivia and Equador.
  • The maize was introduced into Spain after the return of Columbus from America and from Spain it went to France, Italy and Turkey.
  • In India, Portuguese introduced maize during the seventeenth century. From India it went to China and later it was introduced in Philippines and the East Indies.
  • Maize now is being grown in USA, China, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Rumania, Yugoslavia and India
  • In India major area of crop is confined to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Madya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana , Jammu & Kashmir and Bihar.

Indian corn zones

  • The corn improvement project in India classified the Indian corn cultivation zones.

Himalayan zone

  • Temperate regions above an elevation of 600m that recieves moderate rainfall.Crop duration is usually longer.

North west plains

  • Charecterised by wet and arid weather. Moisture stress at flowering and grain filling is common. Soils are sandy, rarely alluvial in this zone.

North east plains

  • Hot and humid weather with frequent water logging. Weather conditions permit three crops a year during monsoon,winter & spring. Nutrient deficiencies are common.

Peninsular India

  • Charecterised by tropical to sub-tropical climate. Coastal areas favour corn cultivation throughout the year, if moisture condition permits soils are sandy, alfisols, vertisols and inseptisols with major nutrient deficiencies.


Ikisan - Uses of maize

Uses Of Maize

  • Maize is a new traditional oil seed crop and the oil content in general varies from 2.5 to 5.5 percent. It contains 80-87% unsaturated fatty acids. CIMMYT have germplasm that have 7.8 percent oil.
  • Maize oil is widely used as a cooking medium and for manufacturing of hydrogenated oil. The oil has the quality of reducing cholestrol in the human blood like sunflower oil.
  • The fat content of the oil is about 80%. Maize acts as a source in the manufacture of starch, syrup, dextrose, oil, gelatin, lactic acid etc.
  • Cornflour is used as a thickening agent in the preparation of many edibles like soups, sauces and custard powder.
  • Corn syrup is used as an agent in confectionery units.
  • Corn sugar (dextrose) is used in pharmaceutical formulations is a sweetening agent in soft drinks etc.
  • Corn gel on account of its moisture retention character is used as a bonding agent for ice-cream cones, as a dry dusting agent for baking products.
  • The next important field where maize finds extensive use is for livestock feeds viz., Cattle Poultry and Piggery both in the form of seeds and fodder. The green fodder can be fed to milch cattle to boost the milk production of a considerable extent.
  • In most of the developing countries maize is consumed directly as food. In India, over 85 percent of the maize production is used as food.
  • Most commonly used forms are as
    (i) Chapattis
    (ii) Porridges of various forms
    (iii) boiled or roasted green ears
    (iv) breakfast food like corn flakes and
    (v) Pop corn.
  • For the (iii) and (v) category sweet and pop corn varieties are especially grown in USA and Europe
  • The maize cob the central rachies to which the grains are attached remains as an agricultural waste after threshing, it finds many important agricultural and industrial uses.
  • Approximately it forms 15 to 18% of the total ear weight and contains 35% cellulose, 40% pentose and 15% legnins. Their uses in agriculture includes as a litter for poultry and as soil conditioner.

Industrial Uses

  • The industrial uses based on the physical properties of the cob when ground to powder are as fillers for explosives in the manufacture of plastics, glues, adhesives, reyon, resin, vinegar and artificial leather and as diluent and carrier in the formulation of insecticides and pesticides, based on the chemical properties the processed cobs find their use in the manufacture of furfurol, fermentable sugars, solvents, liquid fuels, charcoal gas and other chemicals by destructive distillation, and also in the manufacture of pulp, paper and hard boards.
  • The water in which the maize grains are soaked for the manufacture of glucose is used for growing pencillin moulds.


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