Even as several maize farmers are upset over withered crops due to extremely hot conditions, a farmer in Tirupur district is showing how adopting progressive farming practices can ‘beat the heat,’ and reap success by cultivating maize.
S. Shanmugasundaram (65), a multi-crop farmer from Karapalayam village who always looked for innovations over the past four-decades, tried out a new hybrid, heat-resistant seed variety of maize developed at the State Seed Farm in Pongalur, and followed certain creative agronomic procedures, to get rich dividends.
His maize field, spreads little over an acre, is now filled with cobs that have seeds/grains till to the top and in sizes more than the conventionally grown corncobs.
“Usually, severe heat is not conducive for raising maize as even I have faced losses earlier. This is due to desiccation of pollens in hot climatic conditions that eventually affects the pollination process. As a result, the seeds/grains will not get set in the cob of the crop,” said the farmer.
Anticipating a hotter summer this season, Mr. Shanmugasundaram first prepared the field by raising sun hemp and ploughed the crop to enrich the soil with nitrogen, and optimise soil fertility.
He then sowed the newly-developed hybrid maize seeds and applied micro nutrient mixtures as well as liquid bio-fertilizers.
With larger sized corncobs now reaching the harvest stage, he is expecting an additional 10 quintals this season.
Mr. Shanmugasundaram has adopted some inventive methods to keep away the birds, which can destroy the crops. He has placed the metallised reflective red ribbon developed by Kerala Agricultural University on the field.
“This poly-propylene coated ribbon is meant to scare birds and drive them away,” said Mani Chellappan, a professor of Ornithology at the university.