The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on last Thursday said it has recognised eight new hybrid maize varieties as promising for release in different seasons and agro-ecologies in the country.
These maize varieties have been identified after discussion with farm scientists through a digital workshop of the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) attended by 150 participants from across the country.
Addressing the workshop, the country''s premier government research body ICAR Director General Trilochan Mohapatra appreciated the efforts of maize scientists for continuing with the research work amid the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He asked the Ludhiana-based ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research (ICAR-IIMR) to carry out basic, strategic and applied research for enhancing production, productivity and sustainability of the crop.
AICRP on maize needs to play a leadership role to make maize as the future crop of the country, he said.
"In this workshop, eight new maize hybrids have been identified as promising for the release in different seasons and agro-ecologies of the country," ICAR said in a statement.
The standard operating protocols (SOPs) for conducting various research projects in AICRP on maize were also discussed and finalised during the workshop, it said.
On this occasion, a bilingual mobile app called ''Makka'' was launched for the benefit of farmers, industries and other stakeholders in maize.
This app (English and Hindi) has video, static and dynamic features on the crop varietal selection, pest and fertiliser solution, fertiliser/pesticide calculation, crop cultivation practices, mechanisation, news/updates and advisories to the farmers, ICAR added.
That apart, the workshop recommended zero-tilled maize after rice, sensor-based nitrogen management, post emergence herbicide for weed control -- for increasing the farm profitability, input use efficiency and reducing drudgery in maize production.
The outbreak of pest attack Fall Armyworm (FAW) that had threatened maize crop last year was also discussed in the workshop.
To contain the pest disease, the ICAR said as many as 102 training programmes were conducted in the country, benefiting over 10,000 stakeholders for management of FAW.
The demos were conducted in over 1,500 hectare on improving maize productive practices in various parts of the country.
Maize or corn is a very important crop used as poultry and animal feed and raw material in starch industries besides use as food. The crop also has potential for green fuel (ethanol) production and cultivated in all states of the country.
Specialty maize such as sweet corn, baby corn and popcorn are also gaining much popularity and being developed by the ICAR.