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. The three major crop seasons of India are kharif (autumn), rabi (winter), and the short season warm weather zaid (summer). Moonsoon 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.
Both the words, Kharif and Rabi, 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. Though Kharif literally means "autumn" in Arabic, since this period coincides with the beginning of autumn in the Indian sub-continent, the monsoonal sowing season is called "Kharif period".
Kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains in June, during the south-west monsoon season in parts of India and in Bangladesh. In other parts like Maharashtra, the west coast of India and in Pakistan that receive rains in June, kharif crops are sown in May, June and July.
In India, the kharif season varies by crop and state, with kharif starting at the earliest in May and ending at the latest in January, but is popularly considered to start in June and to end in October.  Kharif stand in contrast with the Rabi crops, cultivated during the dry season. In Kharif season the seeds are sown in the beginning of the Monsoon season. After maturation these crops are harvested at the end of monsoon season(oct-Nov)
Kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains towards the end of May in the southern state of Kerala during the advent of south-west monsoon season. As the monsoon sowing dates vary accordingly and reach July in some north Indian states.
These crops are dependent on the quantity of rain water as well its timing. Too much, too little or at the wrong time may lay waste the whole year's efforts.
Common Kharif crops
Rice is the most important kharif crop of India which is grown in rain fed areas with hot and humid climate, usually eastern and southern parts of India. Rice requires a temperature of 16oC to 20oC during the growing season and 18oC to 32oC during ripening. It needs rainfall from 150 to 200cm 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 (till)
- Urad bean
List as follows:
- Bitter gourd (karela)
- Bottle gourd
- lady fingers
- Sponge gourd
- 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.
- 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.
- Crop Calendar of Major Crops, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India
- Kharif crop list, Haryana Seeds Development Corp.
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