Rabi and Kharif crops | Major seasonal crops

India is a vast country with different climatic zones. On top of that, most areas in India have a large difference in temperature and amount of precipitation depending on the season. It becomes essential to sow crops depending on the season to acquire maximum produce. Rabi and Kharif crops are the two major seasonal crops in India. In a nutshell, Rabi crops are winter crops and Kharif are monsoon crops.

Rabi and Kharif crops

Rabi crops

These crops are sown in winter, generally during mid-November, but the timings can change depending on the region. The harvesting is done in April or May. Rabi crops require less water than Kharif crops. There is a high risk of crop failure if unusually high rain occurs during winter. Some of the common rabi crops are wheat, mustard, barley, etc.

Kharif crops

Kharif crops are sown during the monsoon season. These crops require more water than rabi crops. Some of the common Kharif crops are rice, corn (maize), cotton, etc. The harvesting of these crops is done from September to November.

Rabi and Kharif crops

Apart from Rabi and Kharif crops, Zaid is the third seasonal crop that is grown in the summer season from March to June. Watermelon, cucumber, and pumpkin are some common Zaid crops.

(Also read: Top 10 cleanest cities in India (2024) – Swachh Survekshan)

Some major seasonal crops in India


Wheat, the main cereal crop in North India is a rabi crop. Its seed can germinate in the temperature range of 3.5 ℃ to 35 ℃, though the ideal range is 15 ℃ to 25 ℃. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana are the main wheat-producing states in India. The southern and northeastern states do not produce much wheat.

Wheat in India
Wheat field


Rice is a major crop almost in the entire world. Its seeds are best suited to grow in hot and humid climates in temperatures ranging from 21 ℃ to 37 ℃. It is a Kharif crop in India. West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha are the largest rice-producing states of India.

Rice in India
Paddy field


Maize is the third most important food crop in India. It is a Kharif crop. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra are the largest producers of maize.

Maize in India
Maize crop in India


Mustard is a major oilseed crop in India. It is a rabi crop that grows in temperature range of 20 ℃ to 30 ℃. Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh are the major producers of mustard in India.

Mustard in India
A mustard field in India

Some interesting facts

  • Both Rabi and Kharif are Arabic words. Rabi means spring and Kharif mean autumn in Arabic.
  • India is the second-largest producer of rice in the world after China.
  • India is the largest producer of sugarcane in the world followed by Brazil (2022 data).
  • Some studies suggest that the cultivation of rice first started in South India.

Quick question

What is the national tree of India?

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Answer to quick question

The banyan tree is the national tree of India.

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