Importance of Maize as Multipurpose Crop


1. The agricultural production systems in India are based upon mixed farming i.e. crops and livestock.

2. Livestock production is the backbone of Indian agriculture and a source of employment and ultimate livelihood for 70% of the population in rural areas.

3. The human population in India is expected to reach over 1,400 million and the 27.8% urban population is poised to increase by over 58% by 2025.

4. Shift in the lifestyle of people in feeding habits towards milk products, meat and eggs resulted increase in the demand for livestock products.

5. The milk production to a large extent depends upon the availability of good quality fodder.

6. The total area under cultivated fodder is only 8.4 m ha (less than 5%) which is static since last two decades.

7. The fodder production in the country is not sufficient to meet the requirements and also the forages offered to animal are mostly of poor quality.

8. To meet out the needs of the ever increasing livestock population the production as well productivity of fodder is to be increased.

9. At present, the country faces a net deficit of 61.1% green fodder, 21.9% dry crop residues and 64% concentrate feeds.

10. The demand reach to 1,170 million tonnes of green fodder and 650 million tonnes of dry forage and 152 million tonnes of concentrate feed in 2025 and there will be 65% deficit in green fodder and 25% deficit in dry fodder.

11. Green forage supply has to grow at 3.2% to meet the projected demand.

12. The genetic potential of high yielding animals can be realized only if they are fed well with quality fodder.

13. For full exploitation of milk production of dairy animals, it is imperative that nutritious lush green fodder is made available at the rate of 40-50 kg per adult animal per day throughout the year.

14. To feed this livestock population. We have to design some innovative strategies so that the produce from agriculture could effectively be utilized for livestock feeding.

15. Under such situation maize can be effectively used as feed, green fodder, dry fodder and conserved as silage.


1. Maize in India, contributes nearly 9 % in the National food basket and more than Rs. 100 billion to the agricultural GDP at current prices apart from the generating employment to over 100 million man-days at the farm and downstream agricultural and industrial sectors.

2. Maize is one of the most important fodder crops particularly for milch animals.

3. Maize requires considerable moisture and warmth from germination to flowering. The most suitable temperature for germination is 21°C and for growth 32°C(So, it can be grown in most part of country, with selection of suitable variety).

4. The fodder maize is grown in over 0.9 million ha.

5. Maize is a C4 plant having high fodder production capacity.

6. Maize is the crop with the highest per day productivity.

7. Maize is sometimes referred to as the miracle crop or the ‘Queen of Cereals’.

8. Maize is quick growing, high yielding and provides palatable and nutritious forage which can be fed at any stage of growth without any risk to animals.

9. Maize fodder have high digestibility and palatability.

10. On an average, it contains 9-11% CP, 60-64% NDF, 38-41% ADF, 28-30% cellulose and 23-25% hemi cellulose at milk to early-dough stage.

11. It can be fed as green or dry and makes excellent silage. Grain is also used a concentrate feed for poultry as well as milch animals.


1. Maize has registered highest growth rate of 6.4 per cent (2007-2010), the highest among all other food crops, surpassing the 4 per cent growth rate for agriculture in general and 4.7 per cent for maize in particular as the target set by Planning Commission.

2. As a result India became importer to exporter of maize and consequently, maize has occupied an important position in the food stocks of the country.

3. The consumption pattern for maize produced in India at present includes poultry feed 52%, human food 24%, animal feed 11% and more than 22% going towards industrial processing.

4. Some estimates indicate that India may have to produce 55 million tones of maize to meet its requirement for human consumption, poultry, piggery, pharma industry and fodder by 2030.

5. The current utilization pattern reflects importance of maize as feed.


1. Maize crop provides equal opportunity for regular income and availability of green fodder

2. Baby corn and sweet corn products are attracting the fancy of rich and upper middle class and are commonly available in the hotels, restaurants, malls etc.

3. Due to the increasing cultivation of these corns, a lot of maize stalks are also available which could efficiently be used as animal fodder.

4. The fodder quality of maize stalks grown for baby corn purpose and protein content of baby corn stalks were almost equivalent to the maize grown for fodder purpose.

5. This is an area where maize can play an important role as animal fodder.

6. The nutritional quality of baby corn stalks is almost at par with the maize grown for fodder purpose. The baby corn and sweet corn is as good as fodder maize.


The fodder quality of green maize is far excellent. Amongst the non-legume cultivated fodders, maize is the only fodder which produces better nutritional quality along with good quantity of biomass


1. For dairying to be successful there must be year round fodder supply.

2. In India shortage of green fodder occurs during the months of Nov-Dec and May-June.

3. During this period the farmers have to feed straws and stovers along with the costly concentrates to fulfill the daily dietary requirements of cattle.

4. The straws or stovers are not nutritious feed and is often deficient in some vital nutrients and hence reduce the milk production potential of the cattle, whereas the concentrates are economically not viable.

5. Therefore, it is important to produce and conserve forages in sufficient quantity and of good enough quality.

6. Maize being cereal fodder with highest biomass production potential per day can be effectively conserved as silage.


1. Stover is widely used as the major source of animal feed in our country particularly in the regions having plenty of maize production.

2. With the increasing production and productivity of maize, the maize stover is available in plenty.

3. The ratio of corn stover to grain is typically assumed to be 1:1; thus, there is 40 quintals of maize stover produced for every 40 quintals of grain harvested.

4. In our country the current technology of maize harvest is suitable for the 100% availability of stover, maize is harvested manually and the stover is collected.

5. Maize stover is utilized for animal feeding during lean periods.

6. Due to scarcity of fodder stover is often sold at exorbitant rates ranging from Rs. 1-5 per kg.

7. Maize stover can successfully be incorporated in ruminant rations and that such rations have relatively high digestibilities.

8. Quality can be enhanced by urea treatment.


Maize is an excellent crop which could effectively be utilized as a feed and fodder crop. Specialty corn is going to play an important role in the socio economic perspective of the rural folk. Baby corn and sweet corn cultivation will substantially add up to the income of the farmers as specialty corn is sold at reasonably good price in the market, where the green fodder will boost the dairy industry. The silage making is breakthrough technology which could provide a quantum boost to the dairy sector. And lastly the urea treatment of maize stover is a simple technique much suitable for small and marginal farmers, whereby then can easily enhance the milk production potential of their cattle.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently working Senior Scientist.