BiologyKharif Crops

Kharif Crops

Agriculture plays an important role in India’s economy. There are two main types of crops cultivated in India: Rabi and Kharif. Decisions regarding crop varieties hinge on seasonal and climatic conditions. Kharif crops, including staples like rice, bajra, and soybean, are planted during the monsoon and hence are known as monsoon crops. This stands in stark contrast to Rabi crops, sown in winter and harvested in spring. The strategic cultivation of Kharif crops aligns with the onset of the monsoon season, starting as early as May in some regions of the Indian subcontinent. The optimal harvest period spans from the third week of September to October, ensuring a harmonious synchronization with the monsoon cycle.

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    Kharif Crops

    What is Kharif Crop?

    The word “Kharif” is derived from the Arabic language, which means “autumn.” As per the Kharif crops definition, these are crops that are cultivated during the monsoon season, as they require plenty of rainfall. These are primarily grown in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and cultivated when monsoon season hits the Indian subcontinent. Kharif crops are also known as monsoon crops or autumn crops because they are sown in the monsoon and harvested in the winter. In some parts of the Indian subcontinent, monsoons begin in June, and Kharif crops are harvested from the third week of September to October.

    Kharif Crops Examples

    Kharif crops form a major constituent of food production. Rice, millets, pulses, and oilseeds are some Kharif crop examples. Here are some other important Kharif crops.


    Rice is a very important crop grown in our country. India contributes about 20% of total rice production in the world. Moreover, it is the staple food in most parts of India and is cultivated in many parts of the country. Rice is sown in waterlogged paddy fields and requires 25°C and a minimum of 100 cm of rainfall. Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal are some of the main rice-producing states in India.


    Maixe is the third-most important cereal in the country, after rice and wheat. It is used as food as well as for animal fodder. Maixe is known as the queen of cereals for its high genetic yield potential. It requires about 21°C to 27°C of temperature and 50 cm to 100 cm of rainfall. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharastra are some of the major maize-producing states in the country.


    Bajra is a demanded cereal crop in arid areas and a staple food in many parts of the world. It is mostly used to make rotis in rural areas. It requires dry and warm climate conditions of 20°C to 30°C, with 40 cm to 60 cm of rainfall annually. Bajra is cultivated as a monsoon crop as well as a summer crop in the northern and southern areas of India, respectively. It can be a substitute crop for wheat and maize, as it can be grown in areas where such crops cannot. Rajasthan is the top producer of bajra in India.


    Ragi is a Kharif crop, also called “finger millet.” It is known for its numerous health benefits, like lowering blood cholesterol, maintaining bone health, and controlling diabetes. Ragi requires an optimum temperature of 25°C to 35°C and 500mm to 1000mm of rainfall. In India, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh are some Ragi-producing states.


    Groundnut is a major oilseed crop with a rich source of energy. In India, approximately 85% of total groundnut production is planted as a kharif crop under rainfed conditions. It requires an optimum temperature of 26 ºC to 30 ºC and rainfall of 50 to 125 cm. The soil temperature also plays an important role in groundnut cultivation. Some important groundnut-producing states are Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu.


    Soybean is a very important bean with a high protein content. It requires a warm and moist climate to grow. The temperature requirement for soybean cultivation is about 26 to 30°C. Moreover, it requires sufficient rainfall of about 400 to 500 mm. High moisture requirements are crucial during the germination and flowering stages; however, dry weather is required for ripening. Soil temperatures of 15°C or more help in the fast germination and growth of seedlings.

    Kharif Crop Season

    The Kharif season changes depending on the crops cultivated and the region of cultivation. At the earliest, the Kharif season may arrive in the month of May. Usually, in India, this season starts in June and ends in October. At the onset of the south-west monsoon, Kharif crops are sown, and by the end of the monsoon, they are harvested.

    For example, in southern Indian states like Kerala, the sowing of monsoon crops is towards the end of May, and in northern Indian states, it occurs in July. In areas like Maharashtra and other west coastal areas, Kharif crops are grown in May, June, and July. On the other hand, in areas like Bangladesh, these crops are planted at the beginning of June. Kharif crops largely depend on rainfall, as more or less quantity of rain can ruin crop production.

    Kharif Crops Characteristics

    • Kharif crops are sown during monsoon and harvested during winter.
    • These crops require heavy rainfall, and thus areas receiving abundant rainwater or irrigation facilities are ideal for Kharif crops.
    • They take a long time to reap as compared to rabi crops.
    • Kharif crops rapidly grow during monsoons due to warm, humid climate and sufficient water supply.
    • There are various types of crops included in Kharif crops, like rice, millets, pulses, oilseeds, and cotton.
    • Due to the monsoon conditions, kharif crops often have a higher moisture content, influencing their taste and texture.

    FAQs on Kharif Crops

    Is Onion a kharif crop?

    Onion is both a Kharif and a Rabi crop. The Kharif onion is harvested from October to December. The Rabi onion is harvested in April-May

    During which time period Kharif crops are sown?

    Kharif crops are sown in monsoons around the month of June and harvested in winter during September and October.

    What are the 5 Kharif crops?

    The 5 major Kharif crops include rice, maize, millets, pulses, and oilseeds.

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