The word Kharif in Kharif crops originated from the Arabic word meaning “Autumn”. Studies show that this is because these crops are harvested during the late autumn or winter season. What this also means is that they are cultivated during the monsoon seasons, also the reason why they are sometimes called monsoon crops. They grow best in wet and hot conditions. The Kharif season, therefore, begins in early June for sowing and goes on till October for harvesting. Let’s take a look at some of the main crops that grow during this period: Cotton, Rice, Maize, Groundnut, Soyabean, Pulses, Jute, and Sesame.
Cotton is one of the most popular fiber crops in the world and we use its seed for vegetable oil as well. It is a tropical and subtropical crop and is grown in the long, medium, and short varieties. Cotton crops require very heavy rainfall and a temperate between 22 to 30 degrees to grow. India is the second-largest producer of cotton and among many other states in India that grow cotton, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh are the leading producers. This soft and fluffy white cotton is grown in a protected case and is pure cellulose.
Interesting fact – Did you know that Cotton is stronger when it is wet?
Interesting quote – “Beautiful fabrics last; synthetics don’t. Certain fabrics, such as linen or cotton, develop their own character over time.”
Rice as we know it is one of the most popular staple foods of India. In fact, our country is also one of the largest producers and consumers of rice. A very large portion of our fields are cultivated with rice and even though many states in India grow rice, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab are among the top 3 and this rice is both for internal consumption and export purposes. It is an ideal Kharif crop because aside from the requirement of a lot of water, it also needs to grow at a temperature of around 25-27 degrees. Rice is usually grown in rice paddy fields along the coastal line of the country.
Interesting fact – Did you know that rice is actually grown as grass and we eat the seeds?
Interesting quote – “If you give me rice, I’ll eat today; if you teach me how to grow rice, I’ll eat every day.”
Known as the queen of cereal crops, maize, also known as corn, is an extremely popular cash crop. Corn is used both for consumption in meals and for cattle fodder and is used in many forms from popcorn to corn flour, etc. The best time to sow this crop is towards the end of June month. It grows best in dry soil with a PH between 5.5 to 7 and the temperatures best suited but its growth are between 20-28 degree Celsius. The use of maize can support a gluten-free diet and the consumption of these delicious little kernels can also augment eye and heart health. While growing this crop, look out for the brown or black spots and rotting of the stalks.
Interesting fact – There is an even number of rows in every cob of corn
Interesting quote – “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the cornfield.”
Groundnuts are one of the very popular and widely consumed crops in our country. You just peel them and eat, or roast them, use them in vegetable oil for cooking and spot them in many tourist spots with street vendors. Apart from the high oil content, groundnuts also have a high protein content which makes them a healthy snack. India is the 2nd largest producer of groundnuts in the world and in that Gujarat has the highest share. Groundnuts are filled with omega 3 fatty acids and help reduce bad cholesterol in our bodies. While growing these crops, beware of stem and root rotting as well as wilting.
Interesting fact – Groundnuts are not actually nuts; they are legumes!
Soyabean farming came to India comparatively later in the 1960s. This crop is used to make cooking oil, chunks for consumption, tofu, and soy milk. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh make up for the largest production of soyabean in the country. Soyabean has been said to be extremely nutritious as they are considered high in fiber and protein and also are a good source of milk intake for people who are lactose intolerant. These crops require high amounts of water and grow best in a temperature between 15 to 25 degrees celsius. When farming soyabeans, look out for the Phyllosticta leaf spot and the cotton root rot diseases.
Interesting fact – Soy crayons are non-toxic and safer for children
Pulses are the synonyms for a healthy protein intake for vegetarians. They find themselves in most meals as a staple for Indian diets. Even in these, arhar and moong are the major Kharif crops in the country. Pulses are largely grown in rain-fed conditions in a mild, cool climate with a temperature between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. Pulses are considered very good for the heart because they are high in fiber and also give us essential vitamins. While growing pulses, one must look out for common crop diseases like leaf rot and blight as well as leaf viruses.
Interesting fact – Pulses play a crucial role in mitigating climate change through their nitrogen-fixing property
Our country is the largest producer of jute in the world, with West Bengal, Odisha, and North-east India being the pioneers in the production. Jute planting is done between the months of April and May and it is an extremely labor-intensive farming industry. The jute crop has several layers, all of which can have different applications. The outer layer of the stem is the fiber that is used in making jute products. Many people don’t know this, but the leaves of this crop can be cooked and eaten, whereas the inner part of the stem can be used to make paper. It requires less water and has a very rapid growth cycle, yielding good monetary returns as well. Products made with jute, like bags, can be extremely durable and help decrease carbon footprints.
Interesting fact – You can enjoy jute leaves by adding them to stews and stir-fries
The sesame seed is one of the oldest oil crops in the world. These crops have white, tubular flowers and grow in pods, most popularly grown for the oil, that is extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Sesame seeds are great for bone health and help reduce inflammation. These are again sown at the end of June, early July and require less water with a temperature requirement of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. It is a drought-tolerant and root-extensive crop. Look out for dry root rot disease and blight.
Interesting fact – Assyrian myth claims that the gods drank sesame wine the night before they created the Earth
You can reach out to experts at Utkarsh for any help needed with the farming of these Kharif crops.
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Pinaki Kotecha Poojara
Affiliate Writer with Monkey Ads