How to top dress maize even if you’ve never done it before:

In the world of agriculture, unlocking the secrets to bountiful maize harvests is an art and a science.

The key is…

How to Top dress maize  for high yields.

Though is sounds simple, and it is easy to ignore or forget.

However, topdressing done in the right way,  elevates your yields to new heights.

Intrested in this topic?

If that describes you…


Dive into our latest blog post, where we unravel the mysteries of how to top dress your maize for unparalleled productivity.

Get ready to witness your fields flourish with this transformative method.

Your maize’s journey to exceptional yields begins here!

How to top dress maize for huge yields

Tip #1: Top Dress your Maize At The RIght Time.

This is where many maize farmers error.

They either top dress their maize too soon or too late when the fertilizer cannot have any impact on yields.

A common mistake i see with farmers is:

“They top dress their maize at the 3-4 leaf stage.”

According to Fergus Robey Managing Director for FMD East Africa,

This is too early for nitrogen requirement of the plant. The best time to top dress is when the plant is knee high (which is 6-8 weeks after emergence.)

Other experts also say that timing of top dressing is key:

According to Rural Development association ,

After 2-3 weeks or when the crop is about 45cm high, top-dress your maize with Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) or Urea at the rate of 50 kg per acre if you are farming in a low rainfall area. If you are planting the maize in areas with high rainfall, apply the fertilizer in two splits.

According to Crop Nuts, an organization involved in soil testing and offering  fertilizer recommendations’ to farmers says:

Nitrogen applied at the 3-4 leaf stage with a broadcaster leaves nitrogen vulnerable to leaching when the crop does not require it.

The reason for this is “The plant is not ready to utilize the fertilizer.”

Top dressing too early means that a lot of the fertilizer applied would be leached.

Crop nuts came up with a table showing important growth stages and the amount of nitrogen in particular that the crop takes up at each stage.

So exactly you may ask, “What’s the right time to topdress my Maize crop?”

The optimum is around the 8-10 leaf stage for top dressing fertilizer for maize. Top dress at this stage and you will see wonders in the performance of your crop!

Tip # 2: Use The Right Fertilizer To Top Dress Maize

When it comes to top dressing maize, there are two fertilzer options:

    • Urea,
    • CAN (Calcium ammonium nitrate)

You can use any of them to top dress maize, however there are some precautions you must consider.

Among the two, urea happens to be the most economical because it has the highest amount of nitrogen.

However, it should be used when rain is guaranteed.

When it rains after you apply Urea, the soil absorbs it within 24-48 hours making it available for plant use.

The opposite happens when it fails to rain.

Urea will hydrolize and be lost to the atmosphere as gas.

If the rain is uncertain, use CAN even though it is the expensive option.

Tip#3: Ensure your Maize Field is Weed Free Before Applying Any Top Dressing Fertilizer

Weeds are super competitive plants and they often crowd food crops.

so if you happen to top dress your maize when the field is full of weeds, you can be certain that the weeds will outcompete the maize.

You don’t want that to happen. What you want is the maize to outcompete the weeds that is why you are applying fertiliser. 

To deal with weeds, you have two options:

    • Use selctive herbicides for maize,
    • Do hand weeding.

Which ever option you choose, ensure you remove all the weeds in the maize field beore applying any fertilzer.

Tip # 4 Protect Your maize from Pests and Diseases

After planting, weeding, topdressing, and doing all the hard work that appertains to maize production, the presence of pests and diseases can ruin everything.

They can destroy your maize crop and lead to low yields.

For pesticides, I recommend the use of ATOM 2.5 EC.

This product is a broad range pesticide.

Which means with one application, it controls a wide variety of pests for example the notorius maize armyworm, aphids, thrips, caterpillars, bollworms, cabbage loopers among others.

You can also use ATOM 2.5EC on other crops such as vegetables, beans, fruit trees etc. while getting amazing results.

If you’d like to read more on the Best Insecticides to control Maize armyworm, check the link.