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

Swati Sharma
Swati Sharma
Wheat Crop
Wheat Crop

We are continuously getting the information that the MSP of Rabi crops or Kharif crops has increased, but do you know what they are?

Crops are the plants that are planted and grown by farmers in fields/farms. Agriculture is the primary activity that produces food grain to feed humans and raw material to industrialists. More than 70% of the Indian population depends on agriculture for food and money. The cultivation of crops depends primarily on the weather and soil conditions.

Types of Crops

  • Kharif Crop: Kharif crops, monsoon crops, or autumn crops are cultivated and harvested in the monsoon season. The farmer sow seeds at the beginning of the monsoon season and harvest them at the end of the season. i.e., between September and October. Kharif crops need a lot of water and hot weather for proper growth.

Examples: Rice, Maize, Millet, Soybean, Arhar, Cotton. etc.

India is the second-largest in rice production in the world after China. India produces approx. 20% of the world’s rice production. Rice mainly grows in high rainfall areas. It requires average temperatures of 25oc and a minimum of 100 cm of rainfall. It is produced in waterlogged rice paddy fields. Northeast plains and coastal areas are the major rice-producing areas of the country.

  • Rabi Crop: Rabi means spring in Arabic. Crops grown in the winter season [October to December] and harvested in the spring season [Aril-May] are called Rabi crops. These crops require a warm climate for germination and maturation of seeds and need a cold environment for their growth. Rain in winter spoils the Rabi crop but is good for the Kharif crop.

Examples: Wheat, Gram, Barley, Peas, Oats, Chickpea, Linseed, Mustard, etc.

India is the second-largest in cultivating wheat in the world. Agricultural income is highly dependent on this rabi crop. Wheat is a staple food among Indians, mainly in northern regions.

Wheat needs a cool temperature during the growing season in the range of 14oc to 18oc. The rainfall requirement is 50cm to 90cm. However, for harvesting, wheat requires bright sunshine and little warm weather. Uttar Pradesh is the largest wheat-growing state in India, closely followed by Haryana and Punjab.

  • Zaid Crop: Zaid crops are grown between Kharif and Rabi Seasons, i.e., between March to June. They require warm, dry weather as a vital growth period and longer day length for flowering. Zaid crop is significant for farmers as it gives fast cash to the farmers and is also known as gap-filler between two chief crops, Kharif and Rabi.

Examples: Cucumber, Pumpkin, Bitter gourd, Watermelon, Muskmelon, Sugarcane, Groundnut, Pulses, etc.

In general terms, we classify crops into two: Food crop and Cash crop.

Cash Crop

A cash crop is cultivated to be sold in the market to earn profits from the sale. Most of the crops today are cash crops grown for trading in the national and international markets.

Food Crop

Food Crops are the crops grown to feed the human population.

Crop Rotation

Crop Rotation is the practice of growing different crops on a piece of land.

E.g., one-year rotation crop maize- mustard, wheat -rice. It helps in soil fertility. It reduces the need for chemical fertilizer, also controls pests and weeds. Several crops may be grown in succession with only one soil preparation.

Sowing and cultivation time may vary from one region to another, depending upon the weather condition of that area. For example, the monsoon reaches Kerala around the beginning of June, usually arrives in Mumbai 10 days later, then Delhi by the end of June, and at the rest of India by mid-July. In winter, it happens in a reversed way.

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