In India, there are two main agricultural seasons in a year. The Kharif season or the summer season; and The Rabi season or the Winter season.The Kharif season starts in June when the South-West monsoon starts. Seeds are sown in June and July and crops are harvested in September and October. Crops which require large quantities of water are cultivated during the Kharif season. The main Kharif crops are rice, sugar-cane, jute, cotton, tobacco, maize etc. These crops cover 65% of total cultivated area.
The Rabi Season starts in the middle of October when the south-west monsoon retreats and the north-east Monsoon begins. Seeds are sown in October and crops are harvested in March and April. Generally, crops which require less water are grown during the rabi season. The main rabi crops are wheat, barley, gram, mustard, linseed etc. These crops require cooler conditions and less moisture Rabi crops account for 33% of cropped area.
Dry farming is a system under which farming is carried on in the regions where the rainfall is scanty i.e. less than 50 Cm annually and where irrigation facilities are either absent or very little. It is followed in Gujarat, Rajasthan, South Punjab, Northern Maharashtra; Generally, single-cropping is practised under this system. Under this system, only those crops which can withstand drought conditions, such as Jowar and Bajra are grown.
Humid Farming is a system of farming practised in regions where the rainfall is adequate i.e. between 100 Cm to 200 Cm without the help of irrigation. It is followed in the West Coast, West Bengal, Parts of Bihar, U.P and Assam. Under this system, generally, double cropping (i.e. growing of two crops in a year on the same land) is practised. Rice, Sugarcane, jute etc. are cultivated under this system.
Irrigation farming is a system of farming under which crops are grown with the help of irrigation i.e. supply of water from rivers, reservoirs, tanks, wells to land for cultivation in regions of seasonal or low rainfall. It is followed in Western U.P., Punjab, Haryana, parts of Bihar, Orissa, A.P., Tamil Nadu, Karnataka etc. Under this system, multiple or double cropping is practiced. A large variety of crops, such as rice, sugarcane, cotton, wheat, tobacco etc. are grown under this system.
Shifting cultivation means the migratory subsistence farming. Under this system, a plot of land is cultivated for a few years and then, when the crop yield declines because of soil exhaustion and the effects of pests and weeds, is deserted for another area. Here the ground is again cleared by slash-and-burn methods, and the procedure is repeated. Shifting cultivation is predominant in the forest areas of Assam (Known as jhum), Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunchal Predesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh (Podu). Rainfed rice, Maize, buck wheat, small millets, root crops and vegetables are grown on the burnt over clearings.
Plantation farming means the cultivation of a single cash crop in plantations or estates (large areas of land) on a large scale. The farming is carried on with the help of technically advanced methods of cultivation and tools. The tea plantations of Assam and West Bengal, coffee plantations of Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu and rubber plantations of Kerala are the examples of Plantation farming in India.
Single, Double and Multiple Cropping
Single cropping also known as mono-cropping or mono-culture is a system of farming under which the cultivators grow one crop from the lands during the year. It is generally undertaken in those areas where soil and climatic conditions are most favourable for the production of a particular crop only. Example: Tea, Coffee, etc.
Double cropping is a system under which two crops are raised by the farmers from the same plot of land during the year. It is practiced in densely populated countries where soil and climatic conditions favor the cultivation of two crops during the year. Example: Rice.
Multiple cropping is a system under which the farmer grown more than two crops from the same plot of land during the year. It is a highly intensive system of farming. For the success of this system, the soils must be cultivated intensively by providing scientific fertilizers, better seeds and regular water supply through irrigation. Example: Cotton, tobacco, vegetables.
It is a system under which the farms are used only for the cultivation of crops i.e. food crops and cash crops. Mixed farming is a system under which the lands used not only for the cultivation of crops, but also for other purposes, such as stock-raising, poultry farming, sericulture, bee-keeping etc.
The system of farming by which different crops are alternately grown on the same land in a specific order. Among the advantages of a rotation are the more effective control of weeds, pests & diseases and the more economical utilisation of soil fertility. For example, leguminous crops like pulses are grown alternately with wheat, barley or mustard.
Mixed cropping means the cultivation of more than one crop simultaneously on the same piece of land. The two crops are sown together but harvested at different times because the growth period of hte plants of the different crop varies. Early maturing crops are mixed with groundnut, cotton or pulses which mature late. The crops are so mixed that soil nutrients removed by some are replaced by others, at least partly.