Major crops in India

There are two major agricultural crops in India —rabi crops and Kharif crops. In India, there are three main types of cropping seasons. They are rabi, Kharif, and Zaid. However, it is to be noticed that this categorization of the cropping season does not exist in southern India.


Major crops in India #1

Rice

Rice is the most important staple food crop of India. It is a Kharif crop that is grown extensively in the northern plains, northeastern parts of the country, and coastal and deltaic regions. The cultivation of rice requires a high temperature above 20°C–35°C and high rainfall between 150 cm and 300 cm. During the earlier phase of its growth, the crop requires 5–10 cm of standing water. India is the second-largest producer of rice in the world after China.

Methods of Cultivation

Rice in India is cultivated by two methods—the dry method and the puddle method.

The dry system of cultivation is mainly confined to regions that depend on rainfall and do not have sufficient irrigation facilities. In this method, seeds are scattered by hand in areas of moderate rainfall and are sown in rows with the help of drills in areas of heavy rainfall.

Puddle or wet method of cultivation is practiced in regions that have an adequate supply of water. After ploughing, the land is filled with 3–5 cm of water. The cultivation of rice is carried out by the following steps:

  • Sowing of seeds
  • Transplanting
  • Harvesting
  • Processing

Sowing of Seeds

Seeds are sown by various methods. These are

Broadcasting Method: In this method, seeds are scattered all over the field. This method is prevalent in regions where labour is scarce and the soil is infertile.

Drilling Method: In this method, seeds are sown in furrows with the help of a drill usually made of bamboo. The germination of seeds is high as seeds fall into furrows systematically. This is however a time-consuming way to sow seeds.

Dibbling Method: In this method, seeds are sown at regular intervals in furrows.

Transplanting Method: In this method, seedlings from nurseries are transplanted into rice fields in groups of four to six at a distance of 30–45 cm. Initially, the field is covered with 2–3 cm of water. The level of water is then increased to 4–6 cm till the crop matures. This method is popular as it gives a higher yield.

Japanese Method: In this method, the seedlings are prepared in nurseries. The rows of plants are then fixed at a distance of 25 cm, and the distance between the plants is about 15 cm. Manure is used extensively to increase yield. Plants give higher yields by this method.

Harvesting and Processing

  • The rice fields are drained dry just before the crop is harvested. Each stalk is then hand reaped.
  • The moisture content of the stalk is reduced by drying stalks in the Sun.
  • In threshing, grains are separated from the stalks. It is done in the field to reduce the cost of transport.
  • During winnowing, unwanted husk is removed from the grains by pouring them from a height.
  • Milling is then done to remove yellowish husk from the grains.

Distribution

India produces 22% of the total rice in the world. It is mainly grown in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, and Tamil Nadu.


Major crops in India #2

Wheat

Wheat is the second most important crop in the country after rice. It is a rabi crop. India accounts for 12% of the total wheat production in the world. Climatic Conditions for Wheat cultivation, Methods, Solis, and distribution of Wheat are discussed below.

Climatic Conditions: 

Wheat requires a cool climate. It requires a temperature of 10–15°C during sowing and 20–25°C during harvesting. About 80 cm of rainfall is ideal for wheat cultivation.

Soil: Well-drained loamy soil is suitable for the growth of wheat.

Methods: 

Seeds are generally sown by the drilling and broadcasting methods. The wheat crop starts ripening in March and is harvested in April when the temperature is 27.5°C.

Distribution: 

Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh are the five leading producers of wheat in the country. Wheat yield is extremely high in Punjab and Haryana. The yield of wheat is low in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu, and Kashmir as it is grown under rain-fed conditions.


Major crops in India #3

Pulses

  • Pulses are an important part of the Indian diet as they provide vegetable protein. Some pulses are gram or arhar, urad, masur (lentil), moong (black gram), and matar (peas).
  • Temperature ranging between 20°C and 25°C and rainfall between 50 cm and 75 cm are required for growing pulses.
  • Pulses grow well in dry light soil.
  • Gram is the leading pulse and is sometimes grown along with wheat. While gram is raised as a rabi crop in regions receiving about 10 cm of rainfall, urad and moong are raised as Kharif crops.
  • Pulses are leguminous crops that increase the content of nitrogen in the soil, increasing its fertility.
  • India is the largest producer and consumer of pulses in the world. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh are the five leading states producing pulses.

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