• Soil texture
    crop soil texture
    Medium heavy soils, no waterlogging
  • Min. temperature
    crop temperature icon
    Growth from 8°C
  • pH
    Grain Maize crop pH value
    Tolerant of slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soils; pH optimal: 7.0
  • Water demand
    Grain Maize crop rainfall value
    Min. 250l/m2
  • Vernalisation
    Grain Maize crop vernalisation
  • Plant density
    crop density
    depending on date and variety 7 to 10 grains/m²
  • Seeding Depth
    crop seeding depth
    3-6 cm
Grain Maize
Grain maize prefers deep and well supplied soils. Well aired soils are beneficial for quick soil warming and good root growth. Maize does not have a taproot, and benefits from soil-loosening catch crops prior to its cultivation. As a C4 plant, maize has a relatively low water demand in relation to yield, but needs plenty of nutrients and high temperatures to produce good yields. An enormous diversity of varieties provides the basis for growing maize in different locations and growing conditions. The ripening tendencies of different varieties is specified in an index of maturity and ranges between FAO 160 and FAO 500. The lower the number, the less heat units are required before the maize can be harvested.
Key facts
  • observe phosphorus-potassium sensitivity
  • entire N-application possible prior to cultivation
  • later N application at the 4-leaf stage, late N-application delays ripening
  • subsoil fertilization on poorly supplied soils
General Information
General Information
Nutrient demand
Nutrient demand
Grain maize is used as feed or starch corn. In the starch processing industry, special waxy maize is also in demand. In addition, grain maize is used as an industrial raw material for citric acid production. Maize crop management is relatively simple. After germinating approximately seven to ten seeds per m², a maize herbicide is used, either during pre-emergence or post-emergence stage until the six-leaf stage. If needed, a fungicide or insecticide is used later in the growth process. Fungal diseases are easily transmitted from previous crops to maize. These infections are detected after harvest in the mycotoxin values of the crop. Ploughing to incorporate cereal straw, and choosing the correct variety, is a way of counteracting this. Infested maize parts are not permitted in human foodstuffs or animal feed.
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The right maize fertilizer is crucial for the yield
Grain maize, like all root crops, has a high nitrogen demand, as well as a high demand for phosphate and potash. Phosphate is often poorly available for young maize plants, especially under wet and cold conditions, but also under very dry conditions, or when the soil is compacted. In the juvenile phase, the maize root system is still poorly developed. Phosphate deficiency causes anthocyanin enrichment in the leaves and stems, which often shows as red or violet discoloration. Potassium in maize fertilization controls water uptake and regulates the stomata. In addition, potassium influences assimilation in the grain. The majority of the nutrient remains in the straw and subsequently for the next crop in the field. Maize is not very sensitive to chloride, and potash fertilization is followed by an NP fertilizer, or applied in the form of a NPK fertilizer prior to sowing.
Demand and extraction quantities of grain maize



(Unit/t of production)


(Unit/t of production)

Sensitivity to deficiency




Very Sensitive




Very Sensitive




Very Sensitive










Zinc (Zn) from the 6-leaf stage, boron (B) promotes fecundation

The table shows the uptake and removal of nutrients per tonne of grain maize yield. Sulphur and magnesium must be present in appropriate amounts, in addition to nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
For example, a grain maize yield of 12t/ha takes up 264kg N/ha. Assuming a replenishment of 60kg N/ha from the soil and 40kg N/ha from the leguminous intermediate crop, 160kg N/ha would need to be added in fertilizer. 171kg N/ha would be removed from the field by the harvest.
Maize requires nutrients in concentrated form, especially in the first stage of mass development, up to the flowering stage. The total amount of nutrients required for grain maize can be applied prior to cultivation. Phosphorus and potash fertilizers are also best applied prior to, or on sowing. With high yield expectations with a correspondingly high N requirement, and also on light soils where there is a risk of N leaching split applications are appropriate. One third of the planned amount of nitrogen is applied at the two to four leaf stage. Later applications increase the risk of leaf burning and delay ripening. This results in higher grain moisture contents.

Placed or banded fertilization in the form of an NP fertilizer brings yield benefits, especially on heavy soils, in cold locations and on soils with a low phosphate content, as the still small roots can feed directly from the fertilizer belt. Temporary phosphate deficiency in juvenile plants can be addressed with foliar fertilization. P containing liquid fertilizers or water soluble nutrient salts are appropriate products. The soil can be limed prior to sowing or in autumn. The maximum quantity of CaO should be 1500kg/ha- preferably in the form of calcium carbonate, to avoid boron fixation.

Yield parameters of grain maize:
Number of plants/m²
Number of grains on the cob
Thousand grain weight.

The yield formation results from an optimal distribution of eight to nine plants per m² and a strong healthy cob.

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First application

First application image

Second application

Second application image

First application

Single application of total nutrient requirements prior to cultivation.
 Grain maize needs its nutrients concentrated at the beginning of growth. Therefore a single dose of NPK applied before sowing can be appropriated. N fertilization in maize depends on the subsequent delivery from the soil and is based on absorption, which corresponds to approximately 160-180kg N/ha. The plants grow fast after reaching the six leaf stage, which is associated with high nutrient absorption rates of several kg/ha and day.

Second application

Final fertilization at the two to four leaf stage:
At high yield expectations, and therefore higher N requirements, as well as on light soils to avoid leaching losses, N fertilization is divided into two applications. In this case, one third of the total amount of nitrogen should be added as a fast-acting nitric nitrogen application in the two to four leaf stage. Later fertilization is not recommended, but carries the risk of leaf burning and delayed ripening.