Cropping Patterns and Major Crops of India - GeeksforGeeks (2023)

Agricultural-related activity is one of the major economic activities in India and it accounts for 14% of India’s GDP. Two-thirds of the Indian population depends on agriculture for its sustenance. Climate, especially rainfall, controls agricultural activities. In the extremely hot and dry season, agricultural activities come almost to a grinding halt. Depending upon soil types and climatic parameters, we have three agricultural seasons in India i.e Kharif, Rabi, and Zaid. The Kharif season started with the Southwest Monsoon (June to September) under which the crops such as Rice, Maize, Cotton, Jowar, Sugarcane, Groundnut, and Bajra are cultivated. The Rabi season starts with the onset of winter (October to March) and ends with the beginning of summers under which the crops such as Mustard, Wheat, Oat, Chickpea. Zaid season is a short duration summer cropping season (March to June) between rabi and Kharif season, generally lasting for 2-3 months.

Various Cropping Seasons in India are:

1. Kharif Cropping Season And Crops:

In India, this season starts from June to July with the onset of monsoon and ends with the withdrawal of monsoon in the mid of October-November. These crops are sown at the beginning of the first shower during the advent of the south-west monsoon season, sowing date varies from mid of may in southern states (Kerala) to July in northern states (Haryana). These crops generally require moderate to high temperatures with good amounts of rainfall. In the Kharif season, total foodgrains production is around 150.5 million tons in 2021. Rice, Millets, Maize, Groundnuts, Jute, Groundnut, Soya bean, Tea, Coffee, and Cotton are the major Kharif crops.

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Rice is the most important Kharif crop and major staple crop of India, which feeds more than 60 percent of the population. In India total area under rice cultivation is 39.43 lakh hectares in 2021 and produces around 122 million tons in 2021, which was only 34.58 million tons in 1960. It requires a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and above and rainfall of more than 150 cm. So this crop is suitable for rain intense regions or the regions with perennial rivers and irrigation facilities. It requires flooded fields during the growing period. West Bengal is the largest producer of rice in India and accounts for 15% of total rice production which is around 15.75 million tons. In Assam, Orissa, and coastal areas of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka paddy is grown thrice a year.


Maize is the second most important Kharif crop in India. Total maize production in India is around 24.51 million metric tons. It is a cereal crop and accounts for approximately one-tenth of the total agricultural produce in India. It requires a temperature of 21 to 27 degrees Celsius and rainfall of 50-75 cm. Cultivation of maize is prominent in the regions of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have the highest area under maize (15%).

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India is the largest producer of cotton in the world accounting for more than 25% of the world cotton production. India produces about 6.05 million metric tons of cotton in 2020-21. It is a cash crop and used as a raw material for cotton textile industries. It requires a temperature of 20-30 degrees Celsius and 75-100 cm rainfall. Maharashtra is the largest producer of cotton in India.

2. Rabi Cropping Season and Crops:

Rabi cropping season starts with the season of retreating monsoon and ends with the beginning of the summer season. These crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June and require a cool climate during the growth period but a warm climate during the germination of seed and maturation. Total rabi production in India is about 153.25 MMT in 2021. Rabi crops are grown in large parts of India, states such as Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh are major rabi crop-growing regions. Some of the major rabi crops are wheat, barley, gram, peas, mustard, oat, and rapeseed.

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Wheat is the second most important staple crop and favorite among the north Indians. The total area under wheat cultivation is about 34.5 million hectares and total production was over 109 million metric tons in 2021. India is the second-largest producer of wheat in the world after China. Wheat requires cool temperatures during its growing season in the range of 14 -18 degrees Celsius and rainfall of about 50-90 cm. Bright sunshine and slightly warmer weather are most suitable during the harvesting of wheat. India is highly dependent on wheat for its agricultural income. Uttar Pradesh is the largest wheat-growing state and alone produces more than 33 million metric tons, followed by Punjab and Haryana.


Mustard is a commercial crop. India produces about 10 million tons of mustard in 2020-21. Oil extracted from mustard is edible and vastly used for cooking purposes in India. It requires dry and cool weather and the ideal temperature range for the growth of mustard is between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius. Rajasthan is the largest producer of mustard in India and accounts for 46 percent of total mustard cultivation, followed by Haryana.

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Barley is the important rabi cereal crop, also known as ‘Jau’ in Hindi. It is the fourth most important crop after Rice, Wheat, and Maize. The total production of barley in India is about 1.67 million metric tons. Barley is widely used as food and fodder and for producing beer, more than 90% of world malt comes from Barley. It requires around 12-15°C temperature during the growing period and around 30-32°C at maturity and rainfall of 75cm is good for its growth. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jammu and Kashmir are major producing areas. Rajasthan is the largest producer of barley in India.

Zaid Cropping Season and Crops:

Zaid is a short season between Kharif and Rabi season in the months of March to July. These are dry summer season crops and require a very short period of time for their maturity. These crops are sown at the beginning of summer in Feb- March and harvested in April- June. Warm soil, high temperature, dry weather, and longer day length are required for flowering and fruiting of these crops. The total area under Zaid crops is 67.87 lakh hectares in 2021. Major Zaid crops are watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber, bitter gourd, and muskmelon. These crops are grown with the help of proper irrigation facilities. So states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu where irrigation facility is well developed are more suitable for these crops. In some areas, rice is also grown on irrigated land as a Zaid crop. Zaid crops provide extra income to farmers and act as a gap-filler between Rabi and Kharif cropping season.

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As we know India is an agricultural country and these three seasons are perfectly designed to maintain the ecological balance. But in recent years this ecological balance has been disturbed by adopting unsustainable agriculture practices like growing unseasonal crops, using excessive chemicals, and artificial irrigation facilities; which is harmful not only for humans but also for soil health, and the environment. In order to address this concern, farmers should be aware of the importance of growing crops according to their season and must follow sustainable agriculture practices. So that, our land resources will continue to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.

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What are the major crops and cropping pattern in India? ›

India is geographically a vast country so it has various food and non-food crops which are cultivated in three main cropping seasons which are rabi, kharif and zaid. Food crops- Rice, Wheat, Millets, Maize and Pulses. Cash crops- Sugarcane, Oilseeds, Horticulture crops, Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Cotton and Jute.

What is known as cropping pattern in India? ›

Cropping pattern in India

It can be defined as the proportion of area under various crops at a point of time. In other words, it is a yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of sowing and fallow on a given area. In India, the cropping pattern determined by rainfall, climate, temperature, soil type and technology.

What are the 7 major crops in India? ›

The major crops in India can be divided into four categories viz. Food grains (Rice, Wheat, Maize, Millets and Pulses), Cash Crops (Cotton, Jute, Sugarcane, Tobacco, and Oilseeds), Plantation Crops (Tea, Coffee, Coconut and, Rubber) and Horticulture crops such as Fruits and Vegetables.

What are the two main cropping patterns in India? ›

Kharif and Rabi are the two primary cropping patterns in India. Was this answer helpful?

What are the major crops of India? ›

Grain (Wheat, rice, maize, pulses and millets), commercial crops (Jute, cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds and tobacco), plantations crops (rubber, coffee, tea, coconut), and horticulture crops (vegetables and fruits) are the four primary crops in India. Despite this, rice remains India's most widely grown crop.

Why are there different cropping patterns in India? ›

The cropping pattern in India is determined mainly by rainfall, climate, temperature, and soil type. Cropping Pattern describes the proportion of area under cultivation of different crops at a point of time, changes in this distribution over time, and factors determining these changes.

How many cropping patterns are found in India explain? ›

Cropping patterns present in India

India has three cropping seasons Rabi, Kharif and Zaid.

What are the issues with cropping pattern in India? ›

The major issues in the pattern are: Excessive Rainfall and Water Logging. Non-availability of quality seeds. Limited expansion of Rabi Groundnut in Rice grown areas.

What are the cropping patterns? ›

Cropping pattern is defined as the spatial representation of crops rotations, or as the list of crops that are being produced in an area and their sequence in time.

What are the different types of cropping patterns? ›

Cropping Patterns-Mixed Cropping, Intercropping, Crop Rotation.

What is the most popular crop in India? ›

Rice is India's most popular food grain. The country is ranked second in the world for rice production. Rice is grown on around 34% of the country's total cropped land. Rice cultivation accounts for 42 percent of the country's total food crop production.

What are the three cropping pattern in India? ›

India has three main cropping seasons Kharif, Rabi, and Zaid. Kharif crops are sown during the onset of the monsoon season. Rabi season begins with the onset of winter. There is a short cropping season between Rabi and Kharif, called Zaid.

What are 7 major crops? ›

Food staples are eaten regularly—even daily—and supply a major proportion of a person's energy and nutritional needs. Cassava, maize, plantains, potatoes, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sweet potatoes, wheat, and yams are some of the leading food crops around the world.

What are the three cropping seasons of India describe? ›

Zaid season : In between the rabi and the kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer months known as the Zaid season. Some of the crops produced during 'zaid' are watermelon, muskmelon, cumumber, vegetables and fodder crops.

How will the change in cropping pattern affect the Indian economy? ›

(1) Change in the cropping pattern, for example from cereals to high value-crops will mean that India will have to import food. (2) If India imports cereals while exporting high value commodities, it will be following successful economies like Italy, Israel and Chile.

What are the factors affecting cropping pattern and productivity in India? ›

Availability of Inputs: Seeds, fertilizers, water storage, marketing, transport etc. also affect the cropping pattern. Tenure: Under the crop sharing system, the landlord has a dominant voice in the choice of the cropping pattern and this helps in the adoption of income maximising crop adjustments.

Which is the major cause of crop failure in India? ›

Crops fail due to drought, floods, pest attack or any other calamity. Infertility of land does not lead to crop failure. It leads to lower yields.

What is the cropping pattern of rice in India? ›

Rice is a Kharif crop (Wet and Warm climate is ideal for rice cultivation). It is grown only in well irrigated areas in rabi season. Most of the rice growing regions lie barren during summer (April-May). It can be grown as summer crop in deltaic regions where water and irrigation is available through the year.

What are cropping patterns and systems? ›

While cropping pattern refers to the yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops or of crops and fallow in a particular land area; Cropping system refers to cropping pattern as well as its interaction with resources; technology, environment etc.

What are the 4 major crops? ›

From over half a million plant species on the planet, we currently rely on just four crops (wheat, rice, maize and soybean) for more than three-quarters of our food supply.

What are the changing characteristics of cropping pattern in India? ›

Changing Cropping Patterns of India

In India, the cropping pattern is determined by rainfall, climate, temperature, soil type, technology and socio-economic conditions of the farmers. These changes in the cropping pattern mainly occurred due to increase in the prices of crops.

What are the 4 types of cropping? ›

Types of Cropping Systems: Mono cropping; Crop Rotation; Sequential Cropping; Inter Cropping; Relay Cropping.

What are the major types of farming systems in India? ›

The major farming systems in India include Subsistence and commercial farming, Intensive and Extensive Farming, Plantation Farming and Mixed Farming.

How do farmers grow crops in India? ›

After deciding what to grow, farmers often till the land by loosening the soil and mixing in fertilizers, which are nutrient rich. Then, they sow seeds or plant seedlings. When the crops are growing, farmers must water (or rely on rainfall), weed and kill crop pests.

What are the main features of farming in India? ›

(i) Indian Agriculture is mainly of intensive subsistence type.
  • (ii) It is mainly practised in areas of high population pressure on land.
  • (iii) It is labour intensive farming where high doses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining high yields.

What are 4 crops grown in India? ›

India is the world's largest producer of milk, pulses and jute, and ranks as the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruit and cotton. It is also one of the leading producers of spices, fish, poultry, livestock and plantation crops.

What are the three types of crops in India? ›

Based on seasons, the crops in India are divided into three types: Rabi, Kharif and Zaid.

What is the top 3 major crops in the country? ›

Corn, soybeans, barley and oats

The largest United States crop in terms of total production is corn, the majority of which is grown in a region known as the Corn Belt. The second largest crop grown in the United States is soybeans.


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