Rabi Crops Vs. Kharif Crops; Know The Difference

As the second largest producer of wheat and rice in the world, according to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation, India has two main divisions of the seasonal crop cycle – rabi and kharif. In order for a crop to yield, a combination of a healthy soil, correct seasonal cycle and the right kind of nourishment is important to have. Like we know, different crops thrive in different climatic conditions, based off of which dictates the produce we find in grocery stores and markets. Along with this, similar crop cycles are also followed in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. Let us look at the distinctive characteristics that make them different from each other.

Kharif Crops

Image Credits: Apni Kheti

Also known as monsoon crops due to the time of the year when the seeds are sown – around the beginning of the first monsoon showers, kharif crops are usually harvested between the months of September-October, varying according to the region. Kharif crops are drastically affected in output based off of how much rainfall they receive, and rely heavily on the monsoon season in order to flourish. Crops like cotton, rice, sorghum and soyabeans are some examples of common kharif crops. Unlike rabi crops, kharif crops also need a larger quantity of water while cultivation and hot weather conditions to reach their peak. Kharif crops also include produce like okra, brinjal, sugarcane, bitter gourd and turmeric. Large cultivation of rice as a kharif crop, happens along the coastal regions and the north-eastern belt of India.

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Rabi Crops

Image Credits: Farming India

Essentially sown during the month of November, rabi crops require lesser water and pleasant weather in order to be cultivated. Once the monsoon spell subsides, seeds for rabi crops like barley, gram and wheat are sown – as it requires a warmer climate while germination and colder climes when ready to be harvested. These winter crops are usually pretty resistant to weather changes – barring unseasonal rainfall, which might lead to crop destruction. Harvested typically between April-May months, rabi crops also include produce like berries, sunflowers and oranges. Rabi crops also include oil crops, fibre crops, feed crops and ornamental crops. The northern portions of the country, like Punjab and Haryana, cultivate one a significant yield of the staple rabi crop – wheat.