Teosinte and its cultivation practices
The common name of Teosinte is Makaichari and botanical name is Euchlaena Mexicana. It is an excellent multi-cut fodder and grows well in warm regions with high humidity and rainfall. It is succulent fodder with average height of 6-10 feet. Leaves are taller and broader. The plant has lateral branches which is too long. Female inflorescences which is also known as ‘ear’ possesses 5-12 kernels. It is native to Mexico and Central America. The crop resembles maize but distinguishable by its profuse tillering. It is well adapted to humid tropics and subtropics. It produces tillers profusely and has dark green narrow leaves which remain green for a longer period. Teosinte can be fed as green, dry or as conserved fodder in the form of silage or hay. The crop is suitable to be grown in acidic soil and in areas where water stagnates.
- Soil and Field Preparation
- Well-drained sandy loam to loam soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0 are ideally suited for its growth.
- The field should be thoroughly prepared for weed free sowing.
- One ploughing with Mould board plough followed by two harrowing (crosswise) and planking are sufficient to get a good seed bed.
- Time of sowing
- Summer: March – Mid April
- Monsoon: June- July after onset of monsoon.
- Variety: Makaichari-1 (productivity 35-45 metric ton/ha)
- Seed rate and Method of sowing
- Sowing should be done by drill through kera/pora method at distance of 25-30 cm row to row using a seed rate of 35-40 kg/ha followed by heavy planking.
- The seed should be treated with Agrosan GN or Thiram @ 3.0 gm/kg seed.
- Cropping system
- Promising crop rotations are Teosinte + Cowpea- Berseem + Mustard- Sorghum + Cowpea and Teosinte + Cowpea- Berseem + Mustard- Maize + Cowpea.
- Fertilizer requirements
- Basal application of 60:30 kg N: P/ha should be given at sowing time followed by top dressing with 20-30 kg N/ha one month after sowing coinciding with rainfall.
- Water management
- In case of long dry spell, rainy season crop may also need 1-2 irrigations and in summer sown crop, 7-8 irrigations are required.
- Weed management
- At 3-4 weeks’ crop stage, hoeing with weeder cum mulcher control the weeds effectively.
- Pre-emergence spray of Atrazine @ 0.75 kg a.i./ha in 600 liters of water ensures effective control of weeds.
- Disease and insect-pest management
- As such teosinte is not having serious insect-pest or disease problem.
- Harvesting management
- For fodder purpose, the first cut should be taken 60-70 days after sowing and subsequently 40-45 days after previous harvest.