Farmers who possess milch cows will invariably cultivate corn crops. Even if monsoon fails, they will be able to get the required fodder for their cows and hence they prefer to cultivate corns. Particularly, the farm research centre at Kovilpatti has introduced a white corn variety which will help farmers to get better yield. This variety is known as K-12 which bears the drought condition also successfully and grows rich with certain unique qualities. Though this variety has been recognized by Tamil Nadu Government, it is yet to be approved by the Central Government. However, steps are being taken for Central Government approval also.
Swamination who belongs to Sriramapuram village near Kannivadi in Dindigul district has already tested this K-12 variety and has reaped good returns. During October 2017 while all other surrounding farms were affected by drought, Swaminathan’s farm alone was fresh with corn rays. Especially, the sight of the heavy and hanging corn rays in the early morning was a feast to one’s eyes.
Swaminathan is working as a correspondent in a local school, owning 30 acres of land wherein he was mainly cultivating coconuts. Owing to absence of rain for nearly three years, all other neighbouring farmers had left their fields while one or two including Swaminathan were wondering how to manage the situation for the purpose of at least protecting their cattle in the farm.
At this time only, Manikandan, the Agricultural Officer, gave this new variety of corn seeds to Swaminathan and suggested that he should cultivate them in his farm. Initially, Swaminathan did not have any belief. He planted them in his 1.5 acre land during the last week of June. Since it was an effective sample seed variety, 99% of them germinated successfully. Though there was hot climate for about 15 days, there occurred two spells of rain. Swaminathan used the rain water along with his well water with the help of which all the corn rays grew up strongly and successfully. Swaminathan follows both organic and chemical farming practice. He faces one unavoidable hurdle which is caused by the visiting birds and peacocks to eat away the rays. It is not possible for them to drive away all the birds all the time. Swaminathan generously allows the starving birds to have their food and the rest is used by him.
To his credit, Swaminathan was able to reap 10 quintals of corn after the birds’ pluckings and wastages. However, the agricultural officers had informed him that he would get more but perhaps due to three continuous rain spells before harvest, the yield might have been slightly affected. Swaminathan says while the other varieties would get only 4 to 6 quintals, this one has got him better yield. He has had 4 tonnes corn stalk also.
Swaminathan says he bought 10 kgs. seed @ Rs.100/- per kilo; he incurred an expense of Rs.10,000/- towards seeding, irrigation, manures and labour. He is confident that he will get a sum of Rs.30,000/- @ Rs.30/- per kilo of corn.
Swaminathan further adds that if he gets a return of Rs.10,000/- from the corn stalk, his total income would be Rs.40,000/- and after the above-mentioned expenses of Rs.10,000/- his net earnings would be Rs.30,000/-. He feels that it is a good return in 1.5 acres and if it is against the seeds given by the agriculture department, the return would definitely be more.
Quality & Outcome:-
In fact, K-12 variety was created and introduced by the Kovilpatti Agricultural Research Centre working under the aegis of Tamil Nadu Government. Their principle is to procure something innovatively with the aim to offer better output with quality. Accordingly only, K-12 was introduced in the year 2015.
It is further gathered that this variety has been generated from SPV-772 and S-35,29. This can be planted and cultivated anytime and during season in the month of October. The age of this crop is 95 days and this can withstand drought and would give good returns. The fodder would be white in colour and the rays would be long , average and dense. Since it is flat in shape, the cattle eat them out without any wastage.
This particular variety has little resistance to Kuruthu fly and thandu thulaippan insects to some extent. It is found that during the bright season, 32 quintals are the average outcome in a hectare which is 22% more than K-8 variety and 24% higher than CSV-17 variety. K-12 is better than other varieties in respect of both produce and rays. In 1 hectare land 12 tonne corn stalk is the average output which is 32 % higher than K-8 variety and 41% more than CSV-17. In particular, this K-12 variety has given the maximum of 58 quintals output in Tenkasi locality.
Cultivation process of K-12 variety:-
In the chosen land portion, sheep waste or organic manure should be put and irrigated strongly. With the help of bar structure, corn seeds should be planted within 1 ft.distance in wet land. Watering should be done to ensure that the plants do not become dry.
On the 20th day, weeding is recommended along with manure to be spread atop. 50 gms neem cakes should be applied to the root and on the 30th day, the recommended growth stimulant should be given to the plants.
On the 45th day, the recommended manure should be spread atop. If the leaves appear to be yellow in colour, it means that it lacks zinc nutrient and the necessary input should be given to the plant. Thereafter the rays will crop up with beads.
Within 95 to 100 days, harvest can be resorted to. Rays can be harvested separately and the corn stalks can be cut and offered as fodder to the cattle after drying.
Small grain seed project:-
Oddanchathiram Regional Agriculture Department Assistant Seeding Officer, Manikantan pointed out that his department is dedicated in producing long standing and permanent millets seeds. They continue to be engaged in this activity with the help and support of Assistant and Deputy Directors of the Dindigul Agricultural Department.
Manikantan further mentioned that on that basis, Kovilpatti Agricultural Research Centre provided Swaminathan with the K-12 variety of white corn for experimenting the same in his farm which was successful in terms of good harvest and return. He finally concludes that the special merit of this particular variety of K-12 is that the corn leaves and rays would not lean and fall even during rain and wind. This particular feature is a boon to the farmers.
(This article written by R Kumaresan in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan magazine dt 25/12/2017 has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)