Kharif crops, monsoon crops or autumn crops are domesticated plants like rice that are cultivated and harvested in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh during the Indian subcontinent's monsoon season, which lasts from June to November depending on the area. Monsoon rains may begin as early as May in some parts of the Indian subcontinent, and crops are generally harvested from September to October, again depending upon the region and the crops. Rice, maize and cotton are major kharif crops in India.
The words kharif and rabi both have their origins in the Arabic language. These came to be used in India with the ascent of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent and have been widely used ever since. Kharif literally means "autumn" in Arabic, since this period coincides with the beginning of autumn in the Indian subcontinent; the monsoonal sowing season is called the kharif period.
The kharif season varies by crop and region, starting at the earliest in May and ending at the latest in January. In India the season is popularly considered to start in June and to end in October. Kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains during the advent of the south-west monsoon season, and they are harvested at the end of monsoon season (October-November).
Monsoon sowing dates vary, occurring toward the end of May in the southern state of Kerala and reaching July in some north Indian states. In other regions like Maharashtra, the west coast of India, and Pakistan, which receive rains in June, kharif crops are sown in May, June and July. In Bangladesh, kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains in June.
These crops are dependent on the quantity of rain water as well its timing. Too much, too little or rain at the wrong time may lay waste to the whole year's efforts.
Kharif crops stand in contrast to the rabi crops, which are cultivated during the dry season.
Common kharif crops
Rice is the most important kharif crop of India. It is grown in rain fed areas with hot and humid climates, especially the eastern and southern parts of India. Rice requires a temperature of 16–20 °C (61–68 °F) during the growing season and 18–32 °C (64–90 °F) during ripening. It needs rainfall from 150–200 centimetres (59–79 in) and needs a flooded field during the growth period.
- Arhar (tur)
- Black gram (urad)
- Cowpea (chavala)
- Green gram (moong)
- Linseed (flax)
- Moth bean
- Mung bean
- Sesame (til)
- Urad bean
List as follows:
- Das, N.R. Crops of India. 1 January 2011: Scientific Publishers Journals Dept. ISBN 8172336810.
- Gupta, Akhil (20 July 1998). Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India. Duke University Press Books. ISBN 0822322137.
- Crop Calendar of Major Crops, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India
- Gopal, Lallanji (8 September 2014). History of Agriculture in India from C. Ad 1947 to the Present (History of Science, Philosophy & Culture in Indian Civilization). Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture/Munshirm Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 8187586664.
- Kharif crop list, Haryana Seeds Development Corp.
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