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    Soil Characters in Maize

Aspects of soil characters in maize cultivation

For the farmer, soil is the most important factor of production. Maintaining the soil is the basis for the profitability of the farm.

The following aspects should be considered:

  • Maize is a warmth-loving, tropical crop
  • Rapid warming of the ground in spring is necessary
    • Rapid germination
    • High field emergence
    • Rapid development of the young plants

Each soil type is characterised by different properties.
These properties have advantages as well as disadvantages for
soil preparation and cultivation of crops.

The following table lists these advantages and disadvantages to give you an overview of the characteristics of
various soils.

Advantages and disadvantages of different types of soil

Soil type Advantages Disadvantages
mild Heating, machinability Water deficiency, nutrient shift
Average Water, nutrients, workability
severe Water, nutrients slow heating, encrustation, compaction
Moorland Water slow warming, late frosts, pH-values
Waterlogging, compacted soils Slow warming, slow mineralisation, unfavourable crumb structure

Source: KWS SAAT SE

The optimal soil for maize cultivation is

  • relaxed
  • compression free
  • crumbly

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However, soil compaction is not uncommon, so reconsolidation after sowing must be considered. Dense, muddy soils hinder soil warming, which makes these soils less suitable for growing maize.

Badly structured soil - not ideal conditions for maize

Example of poorly textured soils

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Consequences of compaction include

  • Soaking and erosion
  • Oxygen deficiency in the soil
  • Reduction of the activity of microorganisms
  • Disruption of mineralisation
  • Limitation of rooting
  • Interruption of capillary rise of groundwater

This in turn leads to:

  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Pitchering and leaf discolouration
  • Significant shortfalls
In medium and heavy soils, compaction occurs in particular in the area of the plough sole. For light soils, compaction occurs in particular in the subsoil.

Countermeasures:

1. Deep loosening
2. Soil-friendly tyres
3. Increase the humus content with catch crops, organic fertilisation and adjustment to the right pH-value

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