What are Crops?

Crops are plants grown by the farmers. Agriculture plays a very important role in the Indian economy. It is the backbone of our country. 70% of the Indian population depends on agriculture for food and money. It is the major occupation in the rural areas. The cultivation of crops depends primarily on the weather and soil conditions.

Types of Crops

The crops are of the following types depending upon the season in which they are grown:

Kharif Crops

  • The crops which are grown in the monsoon season in the month of June-September are known as Kharif crops. For eg., maize, millet, and cotton.

  • The seeds are sown at the beginning of monsoon season and harvested at the end of the monsoon season, usually in the month of October-November.

  • Such crops require a lot of water and hot weather for proper growth.

Rabi Crops

  • The name “Rabi” means “spring” – a word derived from Arabic.

  • The crops that are grown in the winter season and harvested in the spring, i.e., from the month of October to March are called Rabi crops.

  • Wheat, gram, and mustard are some of the Rabi crops.

  • Various agricultural practices are carried out to produce new crop varieties.

  • Such crops require a warm climate for the germination and maturation of seeds. They, however, require a cold climate for their growth.

Zaid Crops

  • Such crops are grown between the Kharif and Rabi seasons, i.e., between March and June.

  • These crops mature early.

  • Cucumber, pumpkin, bitter gourd, and watermelon are zaid crops.

Factors Affecting Crop Production

The factors affecting the production of crops include:

Internal or Genetic Factors

The genetic makeup decides crop growth and production. Breeders incorporate maximum desirable characters in the crops to obtain a new hybrid variety. The desirable characters include:

  • Early maturity

  • High yielding ability

  • Resistance to drought, flood, and salinity

  • Tolerance to insect and diseases

  • Resistance to lodging

  • The chemical composition of grains

  • Quality of grains and straw

These characters are transmitted from one generation to another.

External or Environmental Factors

The external factors include:

  • Climatic

  • Edaphic

  • Biotic

  • Socio-economic

Climatic Factors

The climatic factors that affect crop production include:

  • Precipitation

  • Temperature

  • Atmospheric Humidity

  • Solar radiation

  • Wind Velocity

  • Atmospheric Gases

Edaphic Factors

The growth of the plants depends upon the type of soil on which they are grown. These are known as edaphic factors and include the following:

  • Soil Moisture

  • Soil Air

  • Soil Temperature

  • Soil Mineral Matter

  • Soil Organic Matter

  • Soil Organisms

  • Soil Reactions

Biotic Factors

Plants and animals are biotic factors that affect crop production. Even pests impact crop production, often with negative implications.

Socio-economic Factors

  • The number of human resources available for cultivation.

  • The inclination of society towards cultivation.

  • Appropriate choice of crops.

  • Breeding varieties for increased yield or pest resistance by human inventions.

Cash Crops

A cash crop is the one that is cultivated to be sold in the market to earn profits from the sale.

Most of the crops grown today worldwide are cash crops cultivated for selling in the national and international markets.

Most of the cash crops grown in the developing nations are sold to the developed nations for a better price.

Several cash crops such as opium, cannabis, poppies, coca are sold in the black market.

Food Crops

The crops that are grown to feed the human population are known as food crops. There are a number of food crops grown in the country.

Rice: It is the staple food crop in a majority of regions in the country. Rice is a Kharif crop that requires high temperature, heavy rainfall and high humidity for proper growth. The areas with less rainfall use irrigation for rice cultivation.

Wheat: It is the most important cereal crop in the north and north-western parts of the country. It is a rabi crop that requires 50-75 cm of annual rainfall.

Millets: The important millets grown in the country include jowar, bajra and ragi. They are highly nutritious and are known as coarse grains. It grows in the regions which experience rainfall throughout the year.

Maize: This Kharif crop is used as both food and fodder. It grows well in alluvial soil. It is grown in the rabi season in the Bihar state.

Pulses: India is the largest consumer and producer of pulses in the world. Pulses can survive even in dry conditions. These are leguminous crops and help in improving soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen.

The human population depends upon crops for their food production. Therefore, the crops should be cultivated using proper production techniques and agriculture implements.

For more details on Crops and related topics, visit the BYJU’S Biology website or download the BYJU’S app for further reference.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a crop?

A crop is a plant grown by the farmers which can be consumed by animals and humans. Grains, vegetables and fruits are some of the crops grown by the farmers.

How are the crops classified?

The crops can be classified as:

  • Food crops- wheat, rice, maize, millets, pulses
  • Cash crops- sugarcane, tobacco, jute, cotton, oilseeds
  • Horticulture crops- Fruits and vegetables
  • Plantation crops- tea, coffee, coconut, rubber

What are Kharif crops?

Kharif crops are the crops that are grown at the end of monsoon or at the beginning of the winter season. For eg., rice, maize, sorghum, millets, etc.

What are rabi crops?

Rabi crops are grown in the winter season in the month of November to April. For eg., wheat, barley, gram, mustard.

How are the crops classified based on the season in which they are grown?

The crops can be classified into three types depending upon their growing season:

  • Kharif
  • Rabi
  • Zaid

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