Corn

Corn was first domesticated by native peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The first appearance of corn in the history of European agriculture coincides with the discovery of America, when Christopher Columbus, returning from his first voyage, mentioned this new cereal referred to by the indigenous people of the island of Cuba as “Mahiz”. Since its introduction in Spain in 1943, corn spread quickly to other European countries and then to Africa and Asia. Nowadays, corn is a staple food in many places.

Corn (Zea Mais) is belonging to the grass family. It is a species endowed with remarkable polymorphism especially as regards the shape and composition of the kernels. Based on this last aspect, cultivated corn can be divided into 7 groups: Zea mays indentata (dent corn); Zea mais indurata (flint corn); Zea mays amilacea (flour or soft corn); Zea mais saccharata (sweet corn); Zea mais everta (popcorn), Zea mais ceratina (waxy corn); Zea mais tunicata (pod corn). The dent corn type is by far the most cultivated in the world.

Corn is an annual plant, with a single, stout, erect and solid stem. The apex of the stem ends in the tassel, the male inflorescence; while the female inflorescence is an ear placed at the axil of the leaves. Corn, like that of all grasses, has a fasciculate root system and therefore quite superficial even if it can reach more than 2 meters deep.

The large narrow leaves have wavy margins and are spaced alternately on opposite sides of the stem. Corn grain is an indehiscent fruit called kernels.

The life cycle of the maize plant can be divided into three different, well-differentiated phases:

  1.  Germination and rooting of seedlings: from germination up to 5-6 leaves. In this phase the seedling grows and develops thanks to the reserve substances contained in the seed.
  2. Vegetative growth: from 5-6 leaves up to the stem elongation and the emission of the tassel. In this phase it is extremely important to avoid water, nitrogen deficiencies and other environmental stresses that would compromise the yield.
  3. Flowering and ripening of the grain: it is the final phase of the cycle in which fertilization and the accumulation of reserve substances in the kernels takes place.

90% of corn production is concentrated in the northern hemisphere and largely between the 35th and 45th parallel, the further north the temperature is generally insufficient, the further south the water is the limiting factor. The optimum temperature for corn is between 24 and 30 ° C (75.2 – 86 °F). Temperatures above 32-33 ° C (89.6 – 91.4 °F) are always harmful and below 10 ° C (50 °F) the development of the plant stops.

Corn prefers medium-textured, deep, well-drained soils rich in organic matter. The sowing time varies from region to region but the factor that more than any other influences the choice of the sowing time is the temperature of the soil. In fact, corn does not germinate below 10 ° C (50 °F), it germinates slowly at 12 ° C (53.6 °F) while at 15 ° C (59 °F) germination is rapid, and the plant emerges from the ground in about 10 days.

Fertilization has the aim to satisfy the nutrient needs of the crop and avoid the impoverishment of soil fertility, without however causing harmful overloads of nutrients in the environment which would cause pollution and a unitary loss also at an economic level for the farmer.

Corn is notoriously a crop with a high production capacity and therefore with high needs for nutritional elements. The nutritional elements are largely contained in the soil but often in insufficient quantities for the needs of the crop or combined in compounds that are unavailable for the plant.

Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for the productive result of the crop, the plant’s N needs are increasing until pre-flowering which represents the most critical stage for this element. For phosphorus, the rate of absorption occurs almost in parallel with the growth of the plant, but the initial stages of development represent the most critical period. The absorption of potassium basically ends with the flowering of the plant or shortly after. The other essential chemical elements, including micronutrients, are normally present in the soil in sufficient quantities for the development and regular growth of the plant except for Zinc which must be supplied at sowing or during vegetative growth.

The crop also benefits from the application of products with a biostimulant action, based on beneficial microorganisms and vegetable protein hydrolysates. These products are able to stimulate the emergence and root development in the early stages of seedling development, to improve the availability of nutrients in the soil, to increase the yield from a quantitative and qualitative standpoint, to reduce the negative impact of climatic stresses and to increase the nutrient use efficiency (NUE). The application of biostimulants increases the environmental and economic sustainability of the production system.

Sample Fertilization Plan

Before sowing

Use in furrow with starter fertilizer to promote more seedling vigor and enhanced root growth. Will reduce seedling stress and promotes faster growth.
Beneficial bacteria and soil fungi are essential components of a healthy soil. Will promote nutrient availability, enhanced root growth, and soil pathogen suppression.

Sowing

Tank mix with herbicides to reduce plant stress, protect against abiotic stresses, and promote plant growth and health. Increases root growth and nutrient utilization.
Apply over the top as a tank mix or through chemigation. Alleviates soil compaction, improves water penetration and dispersal, encourages leaching of soil salts.

Emergence

Tank mix with side dress nitrogen. Will help alleviate compacted soil, contains Zn and Mn, and improves nitrogen use efficiency.

3-4 leaves

Premium micronutrients to assist in filling crop deficiencies. Can be sprayed alone or can be tank mixed with other products.
Premium micronutrients to assist in filling crop deficiencies. Can be sprayed alone or can be tank mixed with other products.

5-8 leaves

Tank mix with fungicide for improved disease control and improved grain fill.

Request a fertilization plan

Some products may not be available in your region. Reach out to a sales rep to get a fertilization plan that fits your needs.

PRODUCT BENEFITS

The roots of a plant have several important functions. The roots anchor the plant in place, resisting the forces of wind and running water or mud flow. The root system takes in oxygen, water and nutrients from the soil, to move them up through the plant to the stems, leaves and blooms.  Roots often store the energies created by the plant through photosynthesis, to make them available to the plant as it is needed. Plant roots also stimulate and support microorganisms in the soil that benefit plant life. Support root growth and improve emergence is essential for arable crops to favor a rapid start of vegetative growth of seedlings. Natural Lateral Root Promoting Peptide (LRPP) is a pool of peptides that improves lateral rooting and plant development. It is a plant biostimulant molecule which has been isolated after several years of R&D collaboration by HELLO NATURE and universities.

Agricultural soil is a fundamental component of the agricultural ecosystem. The most widely recognized function of soil is its support for food production. It is the foundation for agriculture and the medium in which nearly all food-producing plants grow. Healthy soils supply the essential nutrients, water, oxygen and root support that our food-producing plants need to grow and flourish. Soils also serve as a buffer to protect delicate plant roots from drastic fluctuations in temperature. Furthermore, the soil also performs hidden and less evident functions called ecosystem services. Careful soil management is one essential element of sustainable agriculture and provides a valuable lever for climate regulation and a pathway for safeguarding ecosystem services and biodiversity. Hello Nature propose an integrated approach to keep agricultural soil alive and healthy applying sustainable solutions: organic fertilizers, vegetal derived plant biostimulants and beneficial microbials. These solutions act on two of the main indicators of soil health, organic matter and biodiversity.

Zinc is a very important micronutrient for corn, essential to normal plant growth and development. Zinc deficiency is a common nutritional constraint on corn. The deficiencies of Zinc are not only due to the great need of the crop, but also to several factors that can minimize availability of Zn to corn, like Soil pH higher than 7, difficult growing conditions or antagonism with Phosphorus. Zinc deficiency can strongly compromise corn production, causing limited root development, poor growth, and small leaves/internodes. The most severe symptoms occur on the youngest leaves. Silking and tasseling are delayed and the kernels may be chalky.  Zinc biochelated to vegetal peptides is an innovative solution to provide the element to the crop.  It is a sustainable and green solution which makes the zinc available to the crop even if the environmental conditions are not optimal especially during the early stages of growth. Our exclusive bio-chelation technology can strongly biochelate the nutrient and the vegetal peptides perform a biostimulant action increasing tolerance of corn to abiotic stress. 

Plants need the right combination of nutrients to live, grow and reproduce. When plants suffer from malnutrition, they show symptoms of being unhealthy. Too little or too much of any one nutrient can cause problems. Plant nutrients are naturally obtained by the roots from the soil. Thus, nutrients may be physically present in the soil, but not available to plants. A knowledge of soil pH, texture, and history can be very useful for predicting what nutrients may become deficient and if leaf application of fertilizers and biostimulants may be necessary to ensure the optimal growth and development rate. Yield and the quality are strongly linked to the supply of nutrients through fertilizers product. However, nowadays sustainable fertilization management is essential to increase the overall performance of cropping systems by providing economically optimum nourishment to the crop while minimizing nutrient losses and supporting agricultural system sustainability by increasing Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE). Plant biostimulants represent a promising strategy to boost sustainable agricultural production thanks to their capacity of improving directly or indirectly nutrient use efficiency of crops especially under low nutrient availability.

All growers, conventional and organic, have an interest in gaining back the yield potential lost due to abiotic stresses.  It’s proven that on the average, farmers can harvest only 50% of the yield potential. The yield gap can be caused by biotic and abiotic stresses with a stronger negative impact of abiotic stresses. In fact, abiotic stresses like heat, cold, salt, drought and flooding caused from 65 to 75% of the yield gap, while biotic stress only 25 to 35%. Our vegetal protein hydrolysates, containing Plant Stimulating Peptides (PSP) have been shown to consistently help plants better recover from stress events also after herbicide application by increasing antioxidant supply, stimulating antioxidant biosynthesis, and activating antioxidant defense enzymes. PSPs maintained higher photosynthetic activity and a better nutritional status in the shoot tissues leading to a higher crop performance.

Nowadays, sustainable fertilization management is essential to increase the overall performance of cropping systems by providing economically optimum nourishment to the crop while minimizing nutrient losses from the field and supporting agricultural system sustainability by increasing Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE). NUE is directly linked to the crop yield and generally defined as the yield of harvestable product per unit of nutrient available from the soil and fertilizer. Our vegetal peptides, which we called Plant Stimulating peptides, improves NUE by enhancing both the uptake and utilization efficiency of nutrients. For instance, promoting the fine root growth, stimulating root enzymes involved in nutrient uptake, or upregulating genes encoding for enzymes involved in plant assimilation of inorganic nutrients such as nitrates.

Plan your harvest with our nutrient removal calculator

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