Maize belongs to the grass family originating from Central America and is thousands of years old. World production is approximately 790 million tonnes of grain on 158 million hectares. The main maize producers are the United States, China and Brazil, accounting for about 62% of total world production.
Maize requires temperate climates in its growth phase. It needs large amounts of sunlight and in humid climates its yield is lower. At the seed germination stage, the temperature should be around 20ºC. Maize is not resistant to low temperatures and frost.
Maize can be grown on many types of soils, however, the following are recommended: Rich in organic matter, deep, well-drained (so as not to produce waterlogging that can cause root asphyxia) and saline soils with good water retention capacity.
Depending on the variety grown, the spacing of the rows can vary between 1 and 1.5 m and the spacing between the taps from 20 to 25 cm.
Maize is a water-demanding crop in the order of about 5 mm per day.
Irrigation intensity varies throughout the crop. In the germination stage, when the plants start to develop, less water is required but constant humidity is maintained. The vegetative growth phase is when most water is required and plants should be watered 10 to 15 days before flowering.
The flowering phase is the most critical period because the fruit set and the amount of products obtained will depend on it, so irrigation is recommended to maintain humidity and allow efficient pollination and fruit set.
Finally, for cob thickening and maturation, the amount of water applied should be restricted.