The kharif cereals other than rice. Maize, jowar and bajra form the main kharif cereals, whereas ragi and small millets come next and are grown on a limited area. by and large, maize is a crop grown commonly in high-rainfall areas, or on soils with a better capacity for retaining moisture, but with good drainage. Next comes jowar in the medium rainfall regions whereas bajra has been the main crop in areas with low or less dependable rainfall and on light textured soils. The extent of the area under these crops during the south-westerly monsoon season is maize, 5.6 m ha; jowar (kharif), 11 mha, and bajra,12.4 m ha. Even though these crops are spread all over the western, northern and southern India, the regions of these crops patterns are demarcated well to the west of 80o longitude (except that of maize). Ragi as a kharif cereal (2.4 m ha) is mainly concentrated in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which account for main than 60 per cent of the total area under this crop in India. The cropping patterns based on each of these kharif cereals are discussed.
The maize-based cropping patterns. The largest area under the kharif maize is in Uttar Pradesh (1.4m ha), followed by Bihar (0.96 m ha), Rajasthan (0.78 m ha), Madhya Pradesh (0.58 m ha) and Punjab (0.52 m ha). In four states namely Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, the area under maize ranges from 0.24 to 0.28 m ha in each, whereas other states have much less area under it. Taking the rainfall of the maize growing areas under consideration, over 72 per cent of the areas receive 20-30 cm per month of rainfall in at least two months or more during the south westerly monsoon season.
On the all-India basis, about 12 cropping patterns have been identified. They have maize as the base crop. In the maize growing areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, rice in kharif and wheat in rabi are the main alternative crops. In some areas, bajra, groundnut, sugarcane, ragi and pulses are taken as alternative crops. In Rajasthan maize is grown as an extensive crop in some areas, whereas at other places, it is replaced by small millets, pulses, groundnut and wheat(rabi) as alternative crop. in madhya Pradesh mainly the kharif jowar is replaced by maize, whereas rice and groundnut are also grown to a limited extent. In Punjab maize has groundnut, fodder crops and wheat(rabi) as alternative crops. In other states, e.g. Gujarat, rice, groundnut, cotton and wheat form the alternative crops in the maize-growing areas of Himachal Pradesh, whereas in Andhra Pradesh, rice, kharif jowar, and oilseeds are grown in these areas.
The kharif jowar-based cropping patterns. The area under the kharif jowar in India is highest in Maharashtra (2.5 m ha), closely followed by madhya Pradesh (2.3 m ha), whereas in each of the states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat, the area under this crops is between 1.0 and 1.4 m ha. Jowar is mainly grown where rainfall distribution ranges from 10-20 per month at least for 3 to 4 months of the south-westerly monsoon or is still more abundant.
On the all-India basis, about 17 major cropping patterns have been identified. In them the base crops is kharif jowar. Most of the alternative crops are also of the type which can be grown under medium rainfall.
In Maharashtra cotton, pulses, groundnut and small millets are sown as alternative crops. In the adjacent states of Madhya Pradesh, besides the above alternative crops, wheat and fodder are sown. In Rajasthan wheat, cotton, bajra and maize are grown in the kharif-jowar tract, whereas in Andhra Pradesh, groundnuts, cotton, oilseeds and pulses form the main alternative crops. Besides cotton and groundnut, ragi is sown in the kharif-jowar tarct of Karnataka, whereas in Gujarat, bajra, cotton and groundnut are the major alternative crops.
The bajra-based cropping patterns. Bajra is more drought-resistent crop than several other cereal crops and is generally preferred in low-rainfall areas and on light soils. The area under the bajra crop in India is about 12.4 m ha and Rajasthan (4.6 m ha) shares about the 2/3 total area. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh together have over 4.6 m ha, constituting an additional 1/3 area under bajra, in India. Over 66 per cent of this crop is grown in areas receiving 10-20 cm per month of rainfall, extending over 1 to 4 months of the south-westerly monsoon.
On the all-India basis, about 20 major cropping patterns have been identified with bajra. However, it may be observed that jowar and bajra are grown mostly under identical environmental conditions and both have a wide spectrum adaptability in respect of rainfall, temperature and rainfall.
Considering the cropping patterns in different states, bajra is grown along with pulses, groundnut, oilseeds and kharif jowar in Rajasthan. Gujarat has a similar cropping pattern in its bajra areas, except that cotton and tobacco are also grown. In Maharashtra besides having some areas solely under bajra, pulses, wheat, rabi jowar, groundnut and cotton are substituted for it. In Uttar Pradesh, maize, rice and wheat form the main alternative crops to this crop.
The groundnut based cropping patterns. Groundnut is sown over an area of about 7.2 m ha, mostly in five major groundnut-producing states of Gujarat (24.4 per cent area), Andhra Pradesh (20.2) per cent), Tamil Nadu (13.5 per cent), Maharashtra (12.2 per cent) and Karnataka (12.0 per cent). Five other states viz. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Orissa together have about 17.3 per cent of the total area under this crop. The rainfall in the groundnut area ranges from 20-30 cm per month in one of the monsoon months and much less in the other months. In some cases the rainfall is even less than 10 cm. per month during the growth of the crop. The irrigated area under groundnut is very small and that too, in a few states only, viz. Punjab(16.4 per cent), Tamil Nadu (13.3 per cent)and Andhra Pradesh (12.5 per cent).
On the all-India level, about 9 cropping patterns have been identified with this crop. In Gujarat besides the sole crop of groundnut in some areas, bajra, is the major alternative crop, whereas the kharif jowar, cotton and pulses are also grown in this tract. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, this crop receives irrigation in some areas and rice forms an alternative crop. Under rainfed conditions, bajra, kharif jowar, small millets, cotton and pulses are grown as alternative crops. In Maharashtra both the kharif and rabi jowar and small millets are important alternative crops. In Karnataka also, jowar is the major alternative crop, whereas cotton, tobacco, sugarcane and wheat are also grown in this tract.
The cotton-based cropping patterns. Cotton is grown over 7.6 m ha in India. Maharashtra shares 36 per cent (2.8 m ha), followed by Gujarat with 21 per cent (1.6 m ha), Karnataka with 13 per cent (1 m ha) and Madhya Pradesh with 9 per cent (0.6 m ha) of the area. Together, these four states account for about 80 per cent of the area under cotton. Other cottom-growing states with smaller areas are Punjab, with 5 per cent (0.4 m ha), Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu each with 4 per cent (0.31 m ha), Haryana and Rajasthan with 3 per cent of each (0.2 m ha each). Most of the coton areas in the country are under the high to medium rainfall zone. The cotton grown in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh (4.8 m ha) is rainfed, whereas in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu (1.93 m ha) it receives partial irrigation 16-20 per cent of the area). The area under cotton in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (0.8 m ha)gets adequate irigation, randing from 71 to 97 per cent of the area. These growing conditions, together with the species of cotton grown, determine the duration of the crop which may vary from about 5 to 9 months.
On the all-India basis, about 16 broad cropping pattens have been identified. In Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the cropping patterns in the cotton-growing areas are mostly similar owing to identical rainfall. These patterns include jowar (kharif and rabi), groundnut and small millets. Pulses and wheat are also grown in a limited area. In some pockets, wher irrigation is available, rice and sugarcane are also grown. In Gujarat, rice, tobacco and maize are grown, besides the rainfed crops, e.g. jowar and bajra.