Types of Crops
All living organisms require food. Plants can make their food themselves. Animals
including humans can not make their own food. The energy from food is utilized by
organisms for carrying out their various body functions, such as digestion,
respiration and excretion. We get our food from plants, or animals, or both.
In order to provide food for a large population— regular production, proper
management and distribution of food is necessary.
When plants of the same kind are grown and cultivated at one place on a large scale,
it is called a crop. For example, crop of wheat means that all the plants grown in a
field are that of wheat. Crops are of different types like cereals, vegetables and
fruits. These can be classified on the basis of the season in which they grow. India is
a vast country. The climatic conditions like temperature, humidity and rainfall vary
from one region to another.
Accordingly, there is a rich variety of crops grown in different parts of the country.
Despite this diversity, two broad cropping patterns can be identified. These are:
(i) Kharif Crops : The crops which are sown in the rainy season are called kharif
crops. The rainy season in India is generally from June to September. Paddy, maize,
soyabean, groundnut, cotton, etc., are kharif crops.
(ii) Rabi Crops : The crops grown in the winter season are called rabi crops. Their
time period is generally from October to March. Examples of rabi crops are wheat,
gram, pea, mustard and linseed. Besides these, pulses and vegetables are grown
during summer at many places.
Basic Practices of Crop Production
Cultivation of crops involves several activities undertaken by farmers over a period of
time. These activities or tasks are referred to as agricultural practices. These
activities are listed below.
(i) Preparation of soil
(iii) Adding manure and fertilisers
(v) Protecting from weeds
(i) Preparation of Soil
The preparation of soil is the first step before growing a crop. One of the most
important tasks in agriculture is to turn the soil and loosen it. This allows the roots to
penetrate deep into the soil. The loose soil allows the roots to breathe easily even
when they go deep into the soil. The loosened soil helps in the\ growth of
earthworms and microbes present in the soil.
The process of loosening and turning of the soil is called tilling or ploughing. This is
done by using a plough. Ploughs are made of wood or iron. If the soil is very dry, it
may need watering before ploughing. The ploughed field may have big pieces of soil
called crumbs. It is necessary to break these crumbs with a plank. The field is
levelled for sowing as well as for irrigation purposes. The levelling of soil is done with
the help of a leveller.
Sowing is the most important part of crop production. Before sowing, good quality
seeds are selected. Good quality seeds are clean and healthy seeds of a good
variety. Farmers prefer to use seeds which give a high yield.
Before sowing, one of the important tasks is to know about the tools used for sowing
Traditional tool: The tool used traditionally for sowing seeds is shaped like a
funnel. The seeds are filled into the funnel, passed down through two or three pipes
having sharp ends. These ends pierce into the soil and place seeds there.
Seed drill : Nowadays the seed drill is used for sowing with the help of tractors. This
tool sows the seeds uniformly at proper distances and depths. It ensures that seeds
get covered by the soil after sowing. This prevents damage caused by birds. Sowing
by using a seed drill saves time and labour.
(iii) Adding Manure and Fertilisers
The substances which are added to the soil in...