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Traditionally, increased food production has come from putting more land under cultivation.
However, in large areas of the world, especially in Asia, all the land that can be economically
cultivated is already in use. In future, most of the extra food needs must come from higher
production from land already being farmed. A major share of this increase is likely to
come from increasing the number of crops produced per year on a given land using improved
crop cultivars. Such multiple cropping offers potential not only to increase food production
but also decrease land degradation.

A system is defined as a set of components that are interrelated and interact among
themselves. A cropping system refers to a set of crop systems, making up the cropping
activities of a farm system.

The cropping system comprises all components required for the production of a
particular crop and the interrelationships between them and an environment

In other words, a cropping system usually refers to a combination of crops in time and
space. The combination in time occurs when crops occupy different growing period and
combinations in space occur when crops are inter planted. When annual crops are considered,
a cropping system usually means the combination of crops within a given year

In India, the cropping pattern follows two distinct seasons; Kharif season from July to
October and Rabi season from October to March. The crops grown between March to June
called Zaid. The crops are grown solo or mixed (mixed-cropping) or in a definite sequence
(rotational cropping). The land may be occupied by one crop during one session (mono-
cropping) or by two crops during one season (double- cropping) which may be grown in a
year in a sequence.

Cropping pattern

1. The yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops or of crops and fallow on a
given area.
2. The cropping pattern indicates the proportion of area under different crops at a point
of time. Cropping activities go on all the year round in India provided water is
availed for the crops

Cropping system

1. The cropping patterns used on a farm and their interaction with farm resources, other
farm enterprises, and available technology which determine their make up.



1. Growing number of crops on the same piece of land during the given period of
time. The turnaround period between one crop and another is minimised through
modified land preparation.
2. It is possible when the resources are available in plenty. Ex. Garden land
3. Cropping intensity is higher in intensive cropping system.
4. Crop intensification technique includes intercropping, relay cropping, sequential
cropping, ratoon cropping, etc. All such systems come under the general term
multiple cropping.

Need for intensive cropping

1. Cropping systems has to be evolved based on climate, soil and water availability for
efficient use of available natural resources.
2. The increase in population has put pressure on land to increase productivity per unit
area, unit time and for unit resource used.
3. This cropping system should provide enough food for the family, fodder for cattle and
generate sufficient cash income for domestic and cultivation expenses.

Cropping intensity: Number of crops cultivated in a piece of land per annum is cropping
intensity. In Punjab and Tamil Nadu, the cropping intensity is more than 100% (i.e. around
140-150%). In Rajasthan, the cropping intensity is less.



1. Mono-cropping or monoculture refers to growing of only one crop on a piece of

land year after year.
2. It may be due to climatological and socio-economic conditions or due to
specialisation of a farmer in growing a particular crop, e.g., under rained conditions,
groundnut or cotton or sorghum are grown year after year due to limitation of rainfall.
In canal irrigated areas, under a waterlogged condition, rice crop is grown as it is not
possible to grow any other crop.


1. Growing two or more crops on the same piece of land in one calendar year is known
as multiple-cropping.
2. It is the intensification of cropping in time and space dimensions, i.e., more
number of crops within year and more number of crops on same piece of land any
give period.
3. It includes inter-cropping, mixed-cropping and sequence cropping.
4. Double-cropping is a case where the land is occupied by two crops, which are grown
in a year in sequence.


1. Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same field.

2. Crop intensification is in both time and space dimensions.
3. There is intercrop competition during all or part of crop growth.
4. Inter-cropping was originally practiced as an insurance against crop failure under
rained conditions. At present main objective of inter-cropping is higher productivity
per unit area in addition to stability in production. Inter-cropping system utilizes
resources efficiently and their productivity is increased.
For successful inter-cropping, there are certain important requirements:

1. The time of peak nutrient demands of component crops should not overlap.
2. Competition for light should be minimum among the component crops.
3. Complementarity should exist between the component crops.
4. The differences in maturity of component crops should be at least 30 days.

Types of Intercropping

The degree of spatial and temporal overlap in the two crops can vary somewhat, but both
requirements must be met for a cropping system to be an intercrop. Numerous types of
intercropping, all of which vary the temporal and spatial mixture to some degree, have been
identified.These are some of the more significant types:
Mixed intercropping:

1. Mixed-cropping is growing of two or more crops simultaneously intermingled

without an row pattern. It is a common practice in most of dry land tracts of India.
Seeds of different crops are mixed in certain proportion and are sown. The objective
is to meet the family requirement of cereals. pulses and vegetables.
2. Also referred to as mixed cropping. Ex: Sorghum, pearl millet and cowpea are mixed
and broadcasted in rainfed conditions.

Row intercropping:

1. Growing two or more crops simultaneously where one or more crops are planted
in rows. Often simply referred to as intercropping. Maize + greengram (1:1), Maize
+ blackgram (1:1), Groundnut + Rredgram (6:1)
2. Thus, cropping intensity in space dimension is achieved
3. Variations include alley cropping, where crops are grown in between rows of trees,
and strip cropping, where multiple rows, or a strip, of one crop are alternated with
multiple rows of another crop.
Alley Cropping

1. Alley Cropping is planting rows of trees at wide spacings with a companion crop
grown in the alleyways between the rows.
2. Alley cropping can diversify farm income, improve crop production and provide
protection and conservation benefits to crops.
3. Common examples of alley cropping plantings include wheat, corn, soybeans or hay
planted in between rows of black walnut or pecan trees.
Strip intercropping:

1. Growing two or more crops simultaneously in strips wide enough to permit

independent cultivation but narrow enough for the crops to interact agronomically.
Ex. Groundnut + redgram (6:4) strip.
Relay intercropping:
1. Growing two or more crops simultaneously during the part of the life cycle of each.
2. A second crop is planted after the first crop has reached its reproductive stage of
growth, but, before it is ready for harvest. Often simply referred to as relay cropping.
Rice- rice fallow pulse.

Advantages of intercropping

1. Better use of growth resources including light, nutrients and water

2. Suppression of weeds
3. Yield stability; even if one crop fails due to unforeseen situations, another crop will
yield and gives income
4. Successful intercropping gives higher equivalent yields (yield of base crop + yield of
intercrop), higher cropping intensity
5. Reduced pest and disease incidences
6. Improvement of soil health and agro-eco system
7. Intercropping of compatible plants also encourages biodiversity, by providing a
habitat for a variety of insects and soil organisms that would not be present in a
single-crop environment. This in turn can help limit outbreaks of crop pests by
increasing predator biodiversity.
8. Additionally, reducing the homogeneity of the crop increases the barriers against
biological dispersal of pest organisms through the crop.

Sequence cropping :

1. Sequence cropping can be defined as growing of two or more crops in a sequence on

same piece of land in a farming year. The succeeding crop is planted after the
preceding crop has been harvested.
2. Crop intensification is only in time dimension. There is no intercrop competition.
3. Double, triple and quadruple cropping: Growing two, three and four crops,
respectively, on the same land in a year in sequence. Ex. Double cropping: Rice:
cotton; Triple cropping: Rice: rice: pulses; Quadruple cropping: Tomato: ridge gourd:
Amaranthus greens: baby corn \

The various terms defined above bring out essentially two underlying principles, that of
growing crops simultaneously in mixture, i.e., intercropping; and of growing individual crops
in sequence, i.e., sequential cropping. The cropping system for a region or farm may
comprise either or both of these two principles.

In addition to above systems, relay cropping and ratoon cropping are also in existence.

Relay cropping

1. Refers to planting of the succeeding crop before harvesting the preceding one.
2. Relay intercropping is a kind of intercropping in which two or more crops grow
simultaneously during part of the life cycle of each.
3. A second crop is planted before the first crop matures; in other words, the second
crop is planted in the same field as the first crop after the first has achieved
reproductive maturity but before it has reached physiological maturity. This
allows farmers to grow two crops in one season in places where the growing season is
not long enough to accommodate two crops.
Ratoon cropping

1. Ratooning refers to raising a crop with re-growth coming out of roots or stalks after
harvest of crops.
2. Ratooning is a method of harvesting a crop which leaves the roots and the lower parts
of the plant uncut to give the ratoon or the stubble crop.
3. The main benefit of ratooning is that the crop matures earlier in the season.
Ratooning can also decrease the cost of preparing the field and planting.
4. This method cannot be used endlessly as the yield of the ratoon crop decreases after
each cycle. Ratooning is most often used with crops which are known to give a steady
yield for three years under most conditions.

Why Cropping Systems Differs?

1. Both climatic factors and resources of the farmers determine the cropping pattern on
a farm.
2. Though climate plays most vital part in crop selection, the area under crop is also
influenced by economic consideration of farmer,namely irrigation water, cost of
inputs and prices of the products.
3. In any locality the prevalent cropping system is the Cumulative results of past and
present decisions by individuals, communities or government or their agencies.
4. A basic requisite for higher cropping intensity is the availability of water either
through precipitation or through irrigation.
5. It is being increasingly realised that the land and water resources are not unlimited
and the wise use of the same is imperative.This is especially so for the countries like
India where the population pressure is continuously increasing.
6. Integrated farming system seems to be the answer to the problem of scarcity of
land resources. This will increases the income level and improve the nutrition
standard of small-scale farmers with limited resources.
7. Tropical countries like India are fortunate in that the temperature condition remain
favourable practically throughout the year for growing crops. However, it is crucially
dependent upon water supply through natural precipitation or irrigation facility.
8. Multiple- cropping has been in practice in many parts of India since long. Similarly
mixed cropping has been an ancient art in India. Mixed-cropping systems were
adopted as an insurance against failure of crops due to seasonal conditions or due to
attack of pests and diseases. In recent years it has been shown beyond doubt that there
are many other advantages too.
9. Researchers on multiple-cropping system, however, suggest that the resources of the
farmers be given major emphasis so that technologically a mixed-cropping can be

The cropping pattern is in influenced by;

1. Traditional social practices and dietary habits.

2. The crops with practicable pest and disease control method and suitability with
ecological environment.
3. The crops which are most profitable (or are high-yielding)
4. The combination of crops that result in profit maximization and cost minimization.

Factors Affecting Cropping Pattern in India

The cropping pattern is highly influenced by climatic, personal, social, cultural and economic
factors of the farmers. The major factors are

i) Size of the Land Holding

In India marginal and small farmers represents the majority of farming community. So the
mono crop paddy has become predominant as it fulfils the household needs and perpetuates
the subsistence agriculture with little scope for commercial Cop husbandry.

ii) Literacy

Majority of the farmers are ignorant of the scientific methods involved in mixed-cropping,
mono cropping and other technological knowhow for practicing better

iii) Disease and pest

The cropping pattern also depends on the possibility of disease and pest infections.

iv) Ecological Suitability

The cropping pattern of a particular region is highly dependent on the ecological condition
(temperature, rainfall, humidity, etc.).

V) Moisture Availability

The source of irrigation greatly determines the type of the cropping pattern to be practiced.
For example , in low rainfall area, dry land farming is best possible way to profit

vi) Financial Stability

The economic condition of the farmers also affects the cropping pattern. As the cash crops
(for example, cotton) involve high capital investments, these are practised only in estate
farming. The marginal section of the farms community adopts low cost crops.


The Cropping Patters in India underwent several changes with the advent of modern
agricultural technology, especially during the period of the Green Revolution in the late
sixties and early seventies. There is a continuous surge for diversified agriculture in terms of
crops, primarily on economic considerations.

The crop pattern changes, however, are the outcome of the interactive effect of many
factors which can be broadly categorized into the following five groups:

1. Resource related factors

o covering irrigation, rainfall and soil fertility.
2. Technology related factors
o covering not only seed, fertilizer, and water technologies but also those related
to marketing, storage and processing.
3. Household related factors
o covering food and fodder self-sufficiency requirement as well as investment
4. Price related factors
o covering output and input prices as well as trade policies and other economic
policies that affect these prices either directly or indirectly.
5. Institutional and infrastructure related factors
o covering farm size and tenancy arrangements, research, extension and
marketing systems and government regulatory policies.

These factors are not watertight but inter-related.


1. The trend in the land use pattern and cropping pattern over last 50 years in India has
shown increasing use of land for the purpose of cultivation with slight variations.
2. The change in land use pattern and cropping pattern is vastly affected by rapid
urbanization. The higher cultivable area has been achieved by bringing large acreage
of uncultivable land into cultivation.
3. Indian agriculture is increasingly getting influenced more and more by economic
1. This need not be surprising because irrigation expansion, infrastructure
development, penetration of rural markets, development and spread of short
duration and drought resistant crop technologies have all contributed to
minimizing the role of non-economic factors in crop choice of even small
2. The reform initiatives undertaken in the context of the ongoing agricultural
liberalization and globalization policies are also going to further strengthen the
role of price related economic incentives in determining crop composition
both at the micro and macro levels.
3. Such a changing economic environment will also ensure that government price
and trade policies will become still more powerful instruments for directing
area allocation decisions of farmers, aligning thereby the crop pattern changes
in line with the changing demand-supply conditions.
4. In a condition where agricultural growth results more from productivity
improvement than from area expansion, the increasing role that price related
economic incentives play in crop choice can also pave the way for the next
stage of agricultural evolution where growth originates more and more from
value-added production.
4. The major change in cropping pattern that have been observed in India is a
substantial area shift from cereals to non-cereals. Although cereals gained a
marginal increase in area share in the first decade of the Green Revolution, their area
and share declined gradually thereafter.While cereals and pulses have lost area, the
major gainers of this area shift are the non-food grain crops especially oilseeds.
5. As we consider the share of individual crops within cereals, although the share of
cereals as a group has declined, the area share of rice has increased continuously
over all the four periods. Wheat, although having a declining area share until 1986/87,
also gained in its share when the entire period is considered.
6. Thus, the area loss of cereals can be attributed entirely to the declining area share of
coarse cereals, especially sorghum, pearl millet, barely and small millets. It can be
noted that even within coarse cereals, the area share of maize shows a marginal
improvement over the years.
7. Within oilseeds, the crops showing steady improvement in their area share are:
rapeseed and mustard, soybean and sunflower. Among these three oilseeds gaining in
area share, rapeseed and mustard are substantially grown as intercrops with wheat.
8. But, the declining area share of crops especially those with only a marginal change
in their area share need not necessarily imply a decline in the actual area under these
crops. Since the Gross Cropped Area (GCA) is constantly increasing over time, partly
through an expansion of net sown areas as in the initial stages of the Green
Revolution and partly through increasing intensity of cropping mainly by irrigation
expansion, the declining area share can coincide with an increase in absolute increase
in the area under crops.

Emerging Problems in Cropping Patterns

Over the years the emerging scenario in the cropping patted points to the following

1. The dominance of cereal crops in the foodgrains points to the poverty of people. It
meets the demand of the low-income people, in whose case a large proportion of
income is spent on cereals. Even pulses which are the source of protein for this class
of people is not grown on a significant scale. Most of the farmers being marginal and
small are the net purchaser of foodgrains and hardly can afford the high input cost for
raising a successful non-food cashcrop.
2. The predominance of foodgrains group together with the fact that a significant
proportion of agricultural production is concentrated in small farms, leads one to
conclude that much of the cultivation is for self consumption.
3. The fact that large areas remains under foodgrains shows that land productivity has
not increased at par with technological possibilities,
4. Despite significant changes in cropping pattern, the shift towards high valued
commercial crops has been very small. The result is an insignificant impact on the
growth of the crop output.


Cropping pattern presently in vogue in India is cereal biased and fails in assuring balanced
food security. The cropping pattern does not depict a picture of diversified agriculture
despite some commercialization and technological progress.

Other associated aspects of the present cropping pattern are increased use of chemical
fertilizers and pesticides, increase in water demand, and duplication of forest areas which are
discussed below.

1. Increase in Use of Fertilizers and Pesticide

Higher production of foodgrains has resulted from inorganic fertiliser and pesticides
application. The higher chemical fertiliser and pesticide application has led to toxicity in
Area where pesticides use has been increasing vigorously has seen insurgency among the
insects and pests, led to disturbance in bio-system.

2. Increase in Water Demand

In the last fifty years, the net sown area has been increased from 118 to 142 million ha. The
increase in net sown area and increase in cropping intensity in turn increased the demand for
water sources for irrigation. This increased demand is causing depletion of water resources.
Competing sectors are being deprived of required water as agriculture consumes as high as
70% of total water use. The intensive cropping pattern is always in need of higher irrigation
supply. This in turn pushes for development of sources of irrigation. The higher requirement
of water deplete the ground water level. Increased demand for irrigation in turn requires
major, medium and minor irrigation projects, which are highly expensive. The construction
of irrigation projects many times faces bureaucratic hurdles and opposition from local
residents because irrigation projects cause various social and environmental problems.

3. Depletion of Forest Areas

The present cropping pattern emphasised on bringing more and more land under agriculture
thereby depleting the forestland. There has been an increase in the agricultural area through
deforestation during the thirty year period 1950-81. The area under field crops rose from
118.7 mha to 142.9 mha by bringing an additional 24 mha under crop through deforestation
of private and rural forests or older fruit orchards. The land use pattern has moved towards
higher food production leaving the forestry neglected.

4. Use of Hybrid & High Yielding Varieties

Increased use of hybrid & high yielding varieties have resulted in the extinction of local
varieties which were known for higher nutritional levels. This has led to awareness on the
importance of adopting natural and organic farming techniques. However, the scale in which
such practice are operated needs to be enhanced in order to make a real dent into system. It
must be noted that these very methods were also the ones which contributed to realisation of
GR benefits. A balance between traditional practices and modern methods need to be


Gradually new concepts on multiple-cropping have started coming in and now there has been
some accumulation of useful scientific information. The information is based on analytical
work on different crop combinations and sequential growth of the crops. In this respect,
cultivated areas in the country can be broadly classified into three categories based on rainfall
1. Area where annual rainfall is above 1150 mm

Most of the areas in Assam, Kerala, Orissa and West Bengal can be included in the first
category. Basic problems in these areas pertain to limited irrigation and poor drainage. Most
of the farmers are engaged in rice cultivation.
2. Area where rainfall ranges from 750-1150 mm
Large parts of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh fall in the second category and
occupy about one third of the total cultivated area in the country. In these areas there is large
potential for creating minor irrigation facilities.
3. Area where rainfall is below 750 mm

The third category also occupies nearly one third of the cultivated area, comprising parts of
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. In these areas, unless major and
medium irrigation facilities are provided, there is little hope for raising cropping intensity to a
substantial extent.

It is clear that there are innumerable micro variations in the cropping patterns, which cannot
be described in this note, some broad contours of farming emerge. The most important
element of farming in India is the production of grains and the dominant food-chain is grain-

On this basis, the country may be divided broadly into five agricultural regions.

1. The rice region extending from the eastern part to include a very large part of the
northeastern and the south-eastern India, with another strip along the western coast.
2. The wheat region, occupying most of the northern, western and central India.
3. The millet-sorghum region, comprising Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the Deccan
Plateau in the centre of the Indian Peninsula.
4. The temperate Himalayan region of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh
and some adjoining areas. Here potatoes are as important as cereal crops (which are
mainly maize and rice), and the tree-fruits form a large part of agricultural production.
5. The plantation crops region of Assam and the hills of southern India where good
quality tea is produced.

There is an important production of high-quality coffee in the hills of the western peninsular
India. Rubber is mostly grown in Kerala and parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There are
some large estates, but most of the growers would come under the category of small holders.
Sugarcane, which in many countries is a plantation crop, is almost entirely grown by small
holders in India.

There had been substantial investments in major irrigation works in the colonial days. The
post-Independence era saw many multi-purpose irrigation works. Lately, interest in the
medium and minor irrigation works has increased, especially after the drought of 1966. Thus,
at present, an all-India irrigation potential of 59 mha has been created and is expected to
increase up 110 m ha by 2025. Irrigation, especially the minor works, has provided a base for

The All-India Coordinated Crops-Improvement Projects run cooperatively by the Indian

Council of Agricultural Research and the agricultural universities have generated short-
season, photo-period-insensitive high-yielding varieties of various crops suitable for a high
intensity of cropping. The adaptability of these varieties on the farmers fields has been
demonstrated in the National Demonstration Programme spread all over the country.

The various developmental and the educative programmes, especially the High Yielding
Varieties Programme, have also resulted in newer cropping patterns involving intensive
cropping. The area of rice has increased in Punjab and Haryana. Similarly, wheat is now
grown in West Bengal and to some extent in the southern states of the country. All these
factors have led to the present cropping patterns, which are getting more and more intensive
both in respect of the number of crops grown per year and in respect of the intensity of inputs
utilized in the production of these crops.

Three important features of cropping pattern of India

1. Predominance of food grains crops,

2. Slight shift towards commercial crops, and
3. Noticeable increase in some individual crops.

Taking the major crops into consideration we can present a broad picture in the Cropping
pattern in India. The major pattern follows two distinct groups: Kharif (monsoon crops) and
Rabi (post-monsoon crops). The kharif crop includes rice, sorghum, bajra, maize, ragi,
groundnut, cotton, etc.
Concept of Base Crop

The crop occupying the highest percentage of the sown area of the region is taken as the base
crop. All other possible alternative crops which are sown in the region either as substitute for
the base crop in the same season or as the crop which fit in with the rotation in the subsequent
seasons, are considered as the pattern.

The Kharif Season Cropping Patterns

The kharif season cropping patted comprises mainly rice and non-rice-based crops.

a) Rice based cropping pattern- 30

Rice is the best crop in this category and 9% of the area in India comes under rice-based
cropping pattern. Nearly 45% of the total rice area in India receives 30 cm per month of
rainfall during at least two months (July-August) of the south western monsoon and much
less during other months. In contrast to these parts, the easter and southern regions,
comprising Assam, West Bengal, Coastal Orissa, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil
Nadu and Kerala which receive 10-20 cm per month, also come under this cropping pattern.
On the all India basis, about 30 rice-based cropping pattern have been identified in different

b) Kharif cereals other than the rice-based cropping pattern-

Maize, jowar, bajra form the main kharif cereals. Ragi and small millets come next, these are
grown in limited area. Maize is grown in high rainfall areas, jowar in medium rainfall areas
and Bajra in low rainfall areas. The extent of the area under these crops during south westem
monsoon season is: maize(5.6 ha), jowar (11 ha) and bajra 12.4 ha. Ragi is a kharif cereal
(2.4mha) and is mainly concentrated in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andha Pradesh. These
states account for more than 60% of the total area under this crop.

c) Maize-based cropping pattern- 12

The largest areas under kharif maize are : Uttar Pradesh(14 mha), Madhya Pradesh (0.58
mha) and Punjab (0.57 mha). In the four states namely Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal
Pradesh and A.P, the area under maize ranges from 0.24 to 0.28 ha in each, whereas other
states have much less area under it. On the all India basis, about 12 Maize based cropping
pattern have been identified.

d) Kharif jowar-based cropping pattern- 17

The area under Kharif jowar in lndia is highest in Maharashtra (7.5 ha) closely followed by
Madhya Pradesh 2.3 mha. In each of the states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and
Gujarat, the area under this crop is between 1 and 1.4 ha. Johar is mainly grown in areas
having rainfall range from 10 to 20 cm per month, least for 3 to 4 months of the southeastern
monsoon. On the all India basis. 17 major cropping patterns have been identified under this

e) Bajra-based cropping pattern- 20

The area under bajra crop is about 12.4 mha. Rajasthan has about two-third of the total area.
Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh together have over 4.6 mha, constituting the
remaining one-third area under the bajra crop. On all India basis 20 major cropping patterns
have been identified with basra as base crop.

f) Groundnut based cropping pattern- 9

Groundnut is sown over an area of about 7.2 mha mostly in five groundnut producing states:
Gujarat (24.4%) , Andhra Pradesh, (20.2%), Tamil Nadu (35.5%), Maharashtra (12.2%) and
Karnataka (12%). Five other states, viz, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan
and Orissa together have about 17.3% of the total area under groundnut as base crop. On the
all-India level, about nine major groundnut based Cropping pattern have been identified.

g) Cotton-based cropping pattern- 16

Cotton is grown over 7.6 mha in India. Maharashtra shares 36%(2.8mha), follows by Gujarat
with 21% (1.6 mha), Karnataka with 13% (1 mha) and Madhya Pradesh with 9%(.6mha) of
the area.Together these four states account for about 80% of area under cotton. The other
cotton growing states are Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Rajasthan. On
the all India basis about 16 broad cotton-based cropping patterns have been identified.

Rabi-season Cropping Patterns

The major cropping patterns prevalent in India during the rabi season are: i) Wheat and gram
based cropping pattern, and ii) jowar-based cropping pattern.

a) Wheat and gram based cropping patterns-19; 7

These two crops are grown under identical climate and can often be substituted for each
other. On the all-India level, about 19 cropping patterns have been identified with wheat and
7 cropping patterns with gram. The core of the wheat region responsible for 70 per cent of the
area and 76 per cent of production comprises Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya
Pradesh flanked by Rajasthan and Gujarat in the Western region and Bihar and West Bengal
in the Eastern region.
b) Rabi-Jowar based cropping patterns- 13

On the all India level about 13 cropping patterns have been identified with the rabi jowar.
Maharashtra has the largest number of these cropping patterns wherein starting with the
exclusive rabi jowar, bajra, pulses, oilseeds and tobacco are grown as alternative crops.


A farming systems that are capable of maintaining their productivity and usefulness to
society indefinitely and must be resource-conserving, socially supportive, commercially
competitive, and environmentally sound.

Sustainable agriculture means, an integrated system of plant and animal production practices
having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

1. satisfy human food and fiber needs;

2. enhance environmental quality and the natural resource based upon which the
agricultural economy depends;
3. make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and
integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
4. sustain the economic viability of farm operations;
5. enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.


1. Production cost is low

2. Over all risk of the farmer is reduced
3. Pollution of water is avoided
4. Very little or no pesticide residue is ensured
5. Ensures both short and long term profitability


1. Since sustainable agriculture uses least quantum of inputs, naturally the output (yield)
may also be less.

Major components of sustainable agricultural system

1. Soil and water conservation to prevent degradation of soil productivity

2. Efficient use of limited irrigation water without leading to problems of soil salinity,
alkalinity and high ground water table
3. Crop rotations that mitigate weed, disease and insect problems, increase soil
productivity and minimise soil erosion
4. Integrated nutrient management that reduces the need for chemical fertilizers
improves the soil health and minimise environmental pollution by conjunctive use of
organics, in-organics and bio-fertilizers.
5. Integrated pest management that reduces the need for agrochemicals by crop
rotation, weather monitoring, use of resistant cultivar, planting time and biological
pest control.
6. Management system to control weed by preventive measures, tillage, timely inter
cultivation and crop rotation to improve plant health.

Integrated farming system is a holistic method of combining several enterprises like cropping
system, dairying, piggery, poultry, fishery, bee keeping, etc in a harmonious way as to
complement each other.

The objective is efficient resource utilisation and maximisation of profit in such a way so
as to cause least damage to soil and environment.

Benefits of IFS

1. Higher Productivity
2. Profitability
3. Sustainability
4. Balanced food
5. Recycling reduces pollution
6. Money round the year
7. Employment generation
8. Increase input efficiency
9. Standard of living of the farmer increased
10. Better utilisation of land, labour, time and resources