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Crops and Crop seasons

Major crops and crop seasons of India have been briefly described in this article.

Crops and Crop seasons


Major crops and crop seasons of India have been briefly described in this article.


Crop Seasons



Activities relating to crops go on continuously throughout the year in India. In north India, there are two main crops seasons. These are


March). Crops grown between March and June are known as ‘Zaid’. In other there are no such distinct seasons but some kind of classification of crop seasons exists everywhere. The Kharif season is characterized by a gradual fall in temperature, larger number of rainy days, low light intensity, a gradual shortening of the photoperiod, high relative humidity, and cyclonic weather. On the other hand, bright sunshine, near absence of cloudy days, and lower relative humidity are the characteristics of the Rabi season. The Kharif season starts earlier in the eastern part of the country because of the earlier arrival of the monsoon and continues until the withdrawal of the monsoon. On the other hand, the Rabi season starts earlier in the western part and continues until the sun attains equatorial position. Thus, Kharif is longer in the eastern part and Rabi is longer in the western part.



There are several cropping patterns which are followed in India depending upon the climatic, edaphic, socioeconomic conditions of the region. With a geographic area of about 329 Mha, stretching between 8 o N and 36 o N latitude and between 68 o E and 98 o E longitude, and its altitude varying from the mean sea level to the highest mountain ranges of the world, India hosts a variety of flora and fauna in its soil with few parallels in the world. The country has an average annual rainfall of 1,143 mm which varies from 11,489 mm around Cherrapunji in Assam to 217 mm around Jaisalamer in Rajasthan. Just as rainfall and temperature vary over a wide range, there is considerable difference in the socioeconomic conditions of peasants to different parts of the country. Due to the variation in soilclimatic conditions there exists considerable variation in crop genotypes. Considering the potential of foodgrain in production in different parts of India, the country has been divided into the following five agricultural regions.



(i)                The eastern part including larger part of the northeastern and south 'eastern India and another strip along the western coast form the rice region of India.


(ii)             The wheat region occupies most of northern, western and central India.


(iii)           The millet (bajra) 'sorghum (jawar) region comprising Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the Deccan plateau.


(iv)           The Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and some adjoining areas in which potatoes, cereal crops(mainly maize and rice) and fruits are grown.


(v)             The plantation crops (e.g., tea, coffee, rubber and spices) are grown in Assam, hills of south India and peninsular region of India which form the plantation region.


Ideal Weather for kharif and Rabi Seasons



At the end of May or beginning of June, there should be some rainfall so that the fields can be ploughed. Towards the end of June, heavy rainfall is required for thorough wetting of the land. This must be followed by a period of clear sky for tillage and sowing operations. In the months of July and August, there should be periods of bright sunshine (not exceeding ten days) between two spells of rain. The weather in the month of September should be similar to that in July and August, but with less rainfall. A few showers at the end of September are needed to prepare the land for Rabi crops.

The first requirements for a good Rabi crop are that the soil temperature should fall rapidly to germination temperature. During November and early December, clear days and cool weather are beneficial. Towards the end of December, a light rainfall is useful. The winter rain must be broken by clear weather as continuous cloudy weather results n widespread plant diseases. The rest of the Rabi season should be dry and free from hailstorms.


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