What is the crop

A crop is a plant or animal product that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence.[1] Crop may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture or aquaculture. A crop may include macroscopic fungus (e.g. mushrooms), or alga (algaculture).

Most crops are harvested as food for humans or fodder for livestock. Some crops are gathered from the wild (including intensive gathering, e.g. ginseng).

Important non-food crops include horticulture, floriculture and industrial crops. Horticulture crops include plants used for other crops (e.g. fruit trees). Floriculture crops include bedding plants, houseplants, flowering garden and pot plants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers. Industrial crops are produced for clothing (fiber crops), biofuel (energy crops, algae fuel), or medicine (medicinal plants).

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What are Crops?
Crops are plants grown by the farmers. Agriculture plays a very important role in the Indian economy. It is the backbone of our country. 70% of the Indian population depends on agriculture for food and money. It is the major occupation in the rural areas. The cultivation of crops depends primarily on the weather and soil conditions.

Types of Crops
The crops are of the following types depending upon the season in which they are grown:

Kharif Crops
The crops which are grown in the monsoon season in the month of June-September are known as Kharif crops. For eg., maize, millet, and cotton.

The seeds are sown at the beginning of monsoon season and harvested at the end of the monsoon season, usually in the month of October-November.

Such crops require a lot of water and hot weather for proper growth.

Rabi Crops
The name “Rabi” means “spring” – a word derived from Arabic.

The crops that are grown in the winter season and harvested in the spring, i.e., from the month of October to March are called Rabi crops.

Wheat, gram, and mustard are some of the Rabi crops.

Various agricultural practices are carried out to produce new crop varieties.

Such crops require a warm climate for the germination and maturation of seeds. They, however, require a cold climate for their growth.

Zaid Crops
Such crops are grown between the Kharif and Rabi seasons, i.e., between March and June.

These crops mature early.

Cucumber, pumpkin, bitter gourd, and watermelon are zaid crops.

Factors Affecting Crop Production
The factors affecting the production of crops include:

Internal or Genetic Factors
The genetic makeup decides crop growth and production. Breeders incorporate maximum desirable characters in the crops to obtain a new hybrid variety. The desirable characters include:

Early maturity

High yielding ability

Resistance to drought, flood, and salinity

Tolerance to insect and diseases

Resistance to lodging

The chemical composition of grains

Quality of grains and straw

These characters are transmitted from one generation to another.

External or Environmental Factors
The external factors include:





Climatic Factors



Atmospheric Humidity

Solar radiation

Wind Velocity

Atmospheric Gases

Edaphic Factors

The growth of the plants depends upon the type of soil on which they are grown. These are known as edaphic factors and include the following:

Soil Moisture

Soil Air

Soil Temperature

Soil Mineral Matter

Soil Organic Matter

Soil Organisms

Soil Reactions

Biotic Factors

Plants and animals are biotic factors that affect crop production. Even pests impact crop production, often with negative implications.

Socio-economic Factors

The number of human resources available for cultivation.

The inclination of society towards cultivation.

Appropriate choice of crops.

Breeding varieties for increased yield or pest resistance by human inventions.

Cash Crops
A cash crop is the one that is cultivated to be sold in the market to earn profits from the sale.

Most of the crops grown today worldwide are cash crops cultivated for selling in the national and international markets.

Most of the cash crops grown in the developing nations are sold to the developed nations for a better price.

Several cash crops such as opium, cannabis, poppies, coca are sold in the black market.

Food Crops
The crops that are grown to feed the human population are known as food crops. There are a number of food crops grown in the country.

Rice: It is the staple food crop in a majority of regions in the country. Rice is a Kharif crop that requires high temperature, heavy rainfall and high humidity for proper growth. The areas with less rainfall use irrigation for rice cultivation.

Wheat: It is the most important cereal crop in the north and north-western parts of the country. It is a rabi crop that requires 50-75 cm of annual rainfall.

Millets: The important millets grown in the country include jowar, bajra and ragi. They are highly nutritious and are known as coarse grains. It grows in the regions which experience rainfall throughout the year.

Maize: This Kharif crop is used as both food and fodder. It grows well in alluvial soil. It is grown in the rabi season in the Bihar state.

Pulses: India is the largest consumer and producer of pulses in the world. Pulses can survive even in dry conditions. These are leguminous crops and help in improving soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen.

The human population depends upon crops for their food production. Therefore, the crops should be cultivated using proper production techniques and agriculture implements.

Also Read: Food Crops

For more details on Crops and related topics, visit the BYJU’S Biology website or download the BYJU’S app for further reference.

Related Links:-

Protection from Weeds
Crop Production
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a crop?
A crop is a plant grown by the farmers which can be consumed by animals and humans. Grains, vegetables and fruits are some of the crops grown by the farmers.

How are the crops classified?
The crops can be classified as:

Food crops- wheat, rice, maize, millets, pulses
Cash crops- sugarcane, tobacco, jute, cotton, oilseeds
Horticulture crops- Fruits and vegetables
Plantation crops- tea, coffee, coconut, rubber
What are Kharif crops?
Kharif crops are the crops that are grown at the end of monsoon or at the beginning of the winter season. For eg., rice, maize, sorghum, millets, etc.

What are rabi crops?
Rabi crops are grown in the winter season in the month of November to April. For eg., wheat, barley, gram, mustard.

How are the crops classified based on the season in which they are grown?
The crops can be classified into three types depending upon their growing season:

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