Starting 2nd April – APSIP Essay Course with K Siddhartha
Target 140+ | Click to see how & register for the module
Cropping Pattern refers to a yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops and fallow in a given area
Cropping pattern used on a farm and its interaction with farm resources, other farm enterprises and available technology that determines its make up, is called a cropping system.
A farmer’s choice of crops is governed by several sets of factors: Physical, Social and Economic. But, by and large, most of the Indian farmers go for cultivation of a number of crops at their farms and rotate a particular crop combination over a period of 3-4 years. It results in a multiplicity of cropping systems, which remains dynamic in time and space making it difficult to precisely determine the spread of different cropping systems.
Scientists have identified more than 250 cropping systems being followed throughout the country but it is estimated that only 30 major cropping systems are prevalent (except the areas under monocropping due to moisture or heat conditions)
A large diversity of cropping systems exists under rainfed and dryland areas with an overriding practice of intercropping. This is because of greater risks involved in cultivating a large area under a particular crop. While in areas with assured irrigation only a few cropping systems are followed and they have a considerable coverage across the region and contribute significantly to foodgrains production at the national level.
Broadly speaking there are 3 types of cropping systems in India:
1. Sequential – In sequential multiple cropping, farmers use short duration crops and intensive input management practices. E.g.
2. Inter-Cropping – Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same field is called intercropping. In this case, crop intensification is in both temporal and spatial dimension. There is an inter-crop competition during all or in part of crop growth. E.g.
3. Alley Cropping System – Growing of annual crops with multipurpose perennial shrubs/trees is called alley cropping. It is a way of increasing production potential under fragile environments. It is recommended to meet food, fodder and fuel needs besides improving soil fertility e.g. In the salt affected alluvial soil areas of Modipuram, alley cropping of rice-wheat sequence is done with trees like babool.
The crop occupying the highest percentage of sown area of the region is taken as the base crop and all the other possible alternative crops sown in the region as substitutes (i.e. spatial variation) for the base crop in the same season or as the crops that fit in with the rotation in the subsequent seasons (i.e. temporal variations) are considered in the pattern.
1. Rainy Season Cropping Systems: Among the Kharif Crops – Rice, Sorghum, Pearl Millet (Bajra), Maize, Groundnut and Cotton are the prominent crops to be considered as the base crops for describing the Kharif Cropping Patterns.
2. Winter Cropping Systems: Among the Rabi Crops, wheat together with barley and oats, sorghum and chickpea are the main base crops. Generally, wheat and chickpea are concentrated in the subtropical region in northern India, whereas Rabi sorghum is grown mostly in the Deccan.
3. Plantation and other commercial crops:
4. Mixed Cropping:
Note4students: With this article, we conclude our discussion on Indian Agriculture. However, these articles only cover the geographical aspect of agriculture in India. For a comprehensive understanding and coverage of other aspects like economic, government schemes etc., do read our comprehensive article series on Indian Agriculture (Click here to read).