Gomani, is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Popcorn is used as a snack food and is one of the profitable agribusiness crop. This article will provide in detail on popcorn production techniques for both commercial and home use purposes.
When selecting Popcorn Varieties, make sure you select a good variety which matures early and while at the same time give better yields. Make sure you select the hybrid variety which matures before frost period. The following are some of commonly grown Popcorn kernels: white, small yellow, and large yellow. White Popcorn is known for its rice like shape kernel while yellow popcorn kernels are commonly known for pearl like shape. These 3 popcorn kernels are used for different needs in the industry.
Make sure you prepare your land or site to be used for Popcorn production in a similar way as to how you prepare land to grow maize (field corn). Make sure you till the site and make ridges so that you can plant your Popcorn seeds in ridges. The land can also be prepared mechanically with the help of a tractor and this can make the ploughing easier, saving time.
Popcorn performs well in a wide range of soils. To give the optimal yield it just needs a soil which is well-drained and the soil should be well supplied with organic matter. The optimum soil pH for growing Popcorn is known to be a range of 5.8 to 7.0. Make sure you avoid planting your Popcorn in soils with poor drainage as this will result in lodging which will decrease corn yield. Make sure the site where you grow your Popcorn has good soil moisture and has required soil nutrition. Where possible conduct soil analysis to know nutrition content.
Make sure you apply manure and do soil analysis before applying any fertilizers to know the right fertilizer to apply based on soil test results.
Popcorn performs well when you apply nitrogen fertilizers as nitrogen promotes stalk and result in high kernel quality.
Popcorn performs well in warm weather areas having a soil temperature of 10 °C to 20 °C. Optimal germination temperature occurs in a range of 15 to 20 °C. Make sure you grow your Popcorn directly by placing your Popcorn seed into the soil as transplanting Popcorn does not do well. Make sure you sow your seed at the beginning of rainy season if it is to be grown using rain water. Popcorn performs well with under Irrigation as well. Some Popcorn growers are able to sow their corn 3 to 4 weeks before frost free date by planting under plastic mulch. Make sure you sow your Popcorn seed at s depth of 2.5 to 5 centimeters. Popcorn is grown at a row spacing of 76 to 96 cm.
The required plant population for Popcorn ranges from 20,000 to 27,000 plants per acre. A lower plant population is used for dry land corn planting.
Water requirements for field corn is the same for Popcorn farming. Make sure you irrigate Popcorn in the similar way to the corn field. Popcorn requires 500 to 800 mm of water per growing season and any shortfall should be supplemented with irrigation. Make sure the Popcorn field is not waterlogged as this can be the source of diseases. Make sure Popcorn field has right moisture content all the time.
The weeds which attack field corn are the same which attack Popcorn. Make sure your Popcorn field is free from weeds as these can be sources of pests and diseases which can result in lower yields. You can control weeds manually or using herbicides. When using herbicides, make sure you follow the instructions given.
When you grow your Popcorn on hectares of land, you can use a combined harvester to harvest your Popcorn quickly, but this result in more kernel damage which reduces the volume for your Popcorn. You can also harvest your Popcorn kernels manually by hands.