Content of this article: Learn about crop seasons,Rabi crop,Kharif crop,Zaid crop and five agricultural regions.
Activities relating to crops go on continuously throughout the year in India. In north India,there are two main crop seasons. These are ‘Kharif’ (July to October) and ‘Rabi’ (October to March). Crops grown between March and June are known as ‘Zaid crop’. In other parts of the country there are no such distinct seasons but some kind of classification of crop seasons exists every where. The Kharif season is characterised 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.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, bright sunshine, near absence of cloudy days, and lower relative humidity are the characteristics of the Rabi season. On the other hand, the Rabi season starts earlier in the western part and continues until the sun attains equatorial position. Thus, Kharifis 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, socio-economic conditions of the region. With a geographic area of about 329 Mha, stretching between 8°N and 36°N latitude and between 68°E and 98°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 Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Just as rainfall and temperature vary over a wide range, there is considerable difference in the socio-economic conditions of peasants of different parts of the country. Due to the variation in soil-climatic conditions there exists considerable variation in crop genotypes. Considering the potential of foodgrain 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 north-eastern 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.