Different Types of Crops & Seasons: Kharif, Rabi, and Zaid

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Different Types of Crops & Seasons

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India has a tropical climate where different crops are sown and harvested during different seasons. Typically, seasons in India are mainly five- spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. However, the cropping seasons in India are mainly three seasons that grow certain types of crops. In this article, we will discuss about “agriculture” and the three major crop seasons in India. We will also be talking about the major crops in India along with the states that they are produced in.

So, without any delay let us start our reading journey!

Agriculture in India

  • Agriculture in India is a primary activity that produces crops for consumption and raw materials for agro-based industries. It also provides fodder for animals.
  • India has seen agricultural development since Independence. With the introduction of Green Revolution in 1965 and other such measures, India’s agricultural sector has improved immensely.
  • 6% of Indians are engaged in agriculture and allied activities. In other words, two-thirds of the population in India is engaged in farming, animal husbandry, fishery, poultry farming, agroforestry etc.
  • Agriculture contributes 8% to India’s GVA (Gross Value Added; 2021-22).
  • The agricultural share in India’s GDP has seen a 20% rise in the last 17 years as per Economic Survey (2020-21)
  • 141 million hectares is the net sown area and 195 million hectares is the gross cropped area.
  • With the introduction of irrigation canals and tubewells, regions that don’t receive enough rainfall are irrigated.
  • Insecticides and pesticides keep the crops pest-free.
  • The fertility of the soil has enhanced to a greater amount because of different types of manures being used.
  • The majority of crops grown in India are food crops.
  • Under various schemes implemented by the government of India, agriculture in the country has undergone a major change.
  • Also, people have shifted towards the secondary (industrial) and tertiary (service) sectors of India’s economy from the primary (agriculture) sector. This shows that India’s economy is growing and the country is moving towards overall development.

 

What are the different types of cropping seasons in India?

 

India is a vast country with a vast population that has different types of crops grown in different seasons. These cropping seasons are mainly divided into three:

  1. Kharif season (Monsoon cropping season)
  2. Rabi season (Winter cropping season)
  3. Zaid season (Summer cropping season)

 

What is Kharif cropping season?

 

  • The Kharif cropping season is a period when Kharif crops are grown. The Kharif season starts from June-July when crops are sown and ends in September-October with the harvesting of the crops.
  • The Kharif cropping season is also the monsoon season. Kharif crops require a lot of water that is supplied by rainfall.

What are the examples of Kharif crops?

The examples of Kharif crops are given as follows:

  • Rice
  • Bajra
  • Jowar
  • Maize
  • Millet
  • Soyabean
  • Oilseeds (Groundnut)
  • Pulses (Tur, Moong, Urad)
  • Cotton
  • Jute
  • Fruits like coconut, litchi, mango, watermelon etc.

 

States where Kharif crops are cultivated

The states where Kharif crops are cultivated include eastern and south-eastern parts like West Bengal, Assam, coastal regions of Odisha, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh.

 

What is Rabi cropping season?

  • The Rabi cropping season is the time when Rabi crops are grown. The Rabi season starts from October-December and ends in April-June when crops are harvested.
  • The Rabi cropping season is also known as the winter cropping season.
  • The Rabi crops require cold weather to thrive.

 

What are the examples of Rabi crops?

The examples of Rabi crops are given as follows:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Gram
  • Peas
  • Rapeseed
  • Oats
  • Mustard
  • Bajra (Bajra is both a Kharif and a Rabi crop)
  • Oilseeds (Mustard; Oilseeds are both a Kharif and Rabi crop)

 

States where Rabi crops are cultivated

The states where Rabi crops are cultivated include the northern states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh.

 

What is Zaid cropping season?

 

  • The Zaid cropping season is the period when Zaid crops are grown and harvested. It falls between the Rabi and Kharif crops.
  • The Zaid season is usually between March to July when crops are sown and harvested.
  • The Zaid season is also known as summer cropping season.
  • Zaid crops require a dry and warm weather for growth. It also requires sunlight for longer hours and access to irrigation.
  • Zaid crops provides a steady income for farmers between the Rabi and Kharif cropping seasons.
  • The soil for the plantation of Zaid crops should not be alkaline in nature. The pH level should be between 6 to 7 as an alkaline soil with high concentration of salts is not suitable for its growth.
  • The ideal soil for Zaid crops is a well-drained sandy and loamy one that must have plentiful organic matter.

What are the examples of Zaid crops?

The examples of Zaid crops are as follows:

  • Seasonal fruits like watermelon, strawberry etc
  • Seasonal vegetables like bitter gourd, cucumber , pumpkin etc
  • Fodder crops

 

States where Zaid crops are cultivated

The states where Zaid crops are cultivated include northern and north-western states like Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana etc.

Major crops in India

The major crops in India can be divided into two types:

  1. Food crops
  2. Cash crops

Food crops

 

  • Food crops are mainly grown for consumption.
  • They are also called as non-cash crops.

Here is a list of the major food crops cultivated in India:

Rice

  • Rice is the staple food crop of the majority of people in India.
  • A temperature between 22°C-32°C and a rainfall of around 150-300 cm is suitable for rice to grow.
  • The soil type for rice is deep clayey and loamy soil.
  • Some of the states producing rice in great amount are West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.

Wheat

  • A temperature between 10°C-15°C (sowing time) and a rainfall between 75-100 cm is suitable for wheat cultivation.
  • The soil type for wheat should be well-drained fertile loamy and clayey loamy soil.
  • Some of the top wheat producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Millets

A temperature between 27°C-32°C and rainfall between 50-100 cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of millets.

The soil type for growing millets should be either inferior alluvial or loamy soil.

Some of the top millets producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

 

Maize

  • A temperature between 21°C-27°C and rainfall between 50-100 cm is considered suitable for maize cultivation.
  • The soil type for growing maize is old alluvial soil.
  • Some of the top maize producing states are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka.

 

Pulses

  • A temperature between 20°C- 27°C and rainfall between 25-60 cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of pulses.
  • The soil type for growing pulses is sandy-loamy soil.
  • Some of the top pulses producing states in India are Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Cash crops

  • Unlike food crops, cash crops such as tea and jute are primarily cultivated for sale and are processed before usage.

Some of the cash crops cultivated in India are:

Sugarcane

  • A temperature of 21°C-27°C and a rainfall of 75-100 cm is considered suitable for sugarcane cultivation.
  • The soil type for sugarcane cultivation should be deep rich loamy.
  • Some of the top states with sugarcane cultivation are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

 

Oilseeds

  • A temperature of 15°C-30°C and a rainfall of 30-75 cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of oilseeds (groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesame, soyabean etc).
  • The soil type for oilseeds cultivation is loamy, clayey loamy, or well-drained sandy loamy.
  • Some of the top states with oilseeds cultivation are Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Tea

  • A temperature of 20°C-30°C and a rainfall of 150-300 cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of tea.
  • The soil type for tea cultivation is deep fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Some of the top states with cultivation are Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

 

Coffee

 

  • A temperature of 15°C-28°C and a rainfall of 150-250cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of coffee.
  • The soil type for coffee cultivation is well-drained deep loamy soil.
  • Some of the top states with coffee cultivation are Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Rubber

  • A temperature of above 25°C and a rainfall of more than 200 cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of rubber.
  • The soil type for rubber cultivation is rich, well-drained alluvial soil.
  • Some of the top states with rubber cultivation are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

 

Cotton

  • A temperature of 21°C-30°C and a rainfall of 50-100 cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of cotton.
  • The soil type for cotton cultivation is well-drained black cotton soil of Deccan Plateau.
  • Some of the top states with cotton cultivation are Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Jute

  • A temperature of 25°C-35°C and a rainfall of 150-250 cm is considered suitable for the cultivation of jute.
  • The soil type for jute cultivation is well-drained alluvial soil.
  • Some of the top states with cultivation are Assam, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.

Final thought!

The crop seasons in India are certainly beneficial for cultivating the kharif, rabi and zaid crops, but their growth also depends on other factors. Each crop requires the right amount of rainfall or irrigation, manure, fertilizer, sunlight and proper care to give the best output in the form of food crops or cash crops. At the end, we can say farmers simply don’t sow seeds, they sow their hopes that produces rich harvest. Nothing seems pleasing than a golden field of wheat or a plant hung low with copious fresh fruits and vegetables.

Some recap questions: Which cropping season in India is also called the summer cropping season? Name some crops that requires the highest amount of rainfall.

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