Difference Between Kharif Crops and Rabi Crops

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: July 01, 2023


Difference Between Kharif Crops and Rabi Crops

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Agriculture in Asia is climate dependent. Monsoon decides the sowing and harvesting. There are different types of crop patterns known to us based on the season. The onset and the end of the monsoon determine the sowing and harvesting of a crop. Kharif, rabi and zaid are the three cropping seasons. Kharif season is the rainy season. Kharif crops are sown during the onset of monsoon. Rabi crops are sown at the end of the monsoon. It is during the winter season. Zaid is the summer season. Zaid crops are grown between kharif and rabi crops. Not only the sowing and harvesting but also the market price depends on the crops’ seasons. Do you know what crops are grown during the kharif and rabi seasons? Read this article to learn more.

Kharif crops vs Rabi crops

The term “kharif crops”, also referred to as “monsoon crops”, refers to the crops raised in Asia from June to September. These are grown at the beginning of the monsoon season. The southwest monsoon allows these crops to be sown as soon as the first rains arrive. The output of Kharif crops is largely determined by the timing and extent of rainfall.

Kharif crops require heat and water. Kharif crops include maize, rice, sugarcane, cotton, groundnuts, and turmeric, to name a few.

‘Rabi’ is an Arabic word that means spring. Rabi crops are planted at the start of winter and harvested in the spring.

These are sown in late October or early November when the rainy season comes to an end.

Since rabi crops are grown in the dry season, timely irrigation is necessary for their growth. Wheat, peas, oats, barley, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and various seeds like mustard, sunflower, and coriander are the principal rabi crops.

Difference between Kharif crops and Rabi crops in tabular form

ParametersKharif cropRabi crop
MeaningAutumn seasonSpring season
Also known asMonsoon cropsWinter crops
Sown duringBeginning of the monsoonEnd of the monsoon
MonthsApril or MaySeptember or October
HarvestingDuring winterDuring summer
 Depend on IrrigationDoes not require muchDepends on irrigation
WaterLot of waterModerate water
 WeatherHot and humidCold
ExampleRice, bajra, cottonWheat, potato, peas.

What are Kharif crops?

The kharif crops, often known as monsoon crops or fall crops, are grown and harvested during the monsoon season in the Indian subcontinent, which lasts from June to November. In some areas of the Indian subcontinent, the monsoon season can start as early as May, and crops are harvested from the third week of September to the end of October. Kharif crops need a lot of rain.

Kharif is translated in Arabic to “autumn”. The Kharif period is the time between the sowing season during the monsoon and the harvesting season just before autumn.

The Kharif season can begin as early as May and last as late as January, depending on the crop and location. In India, the season begins in June and lasts till October. Typically, kharif crops are sown at the start of the first rains of the southwest monsoon, and harvested at the end of the monsoon.

These crops are reliant on both the amount and timing of rainfall. Entire produce goes down the drain by too much, too little, or by rain at the wrong time.

Examples of kharif crops:

Cereal crops: rice, jowar, maize

Fruit crops: apples, bananas, coconut, dates, figs and guava

Seed crops: cotton, green gram, groundnut and mungbean

Vegetables: tomato, brinjal and chilli.


India is both the world’s second-largest producer of rice and its top export source. One of the nations producing this crop is India. It is a tropical plant that thrives in hot, humid weather, rice is the staple food crop.

Rice is grown in regions that are rain-fed. It is essentially a kharif crop in India. Rice requires a minimum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and a maximum rainfall of 100 centimetres.

In locations which receive significantly less rainfall, rice is also cultivated by irrigation. Silt, loam, and gravel are just a few of the several types of soils on which rice can grow. It may survive in both acidic and alkaline soils. Surplus rainwater is allowed to trickle through the rice fields in the plain areas. Rice is grown on terraces cut into the slopes in hilly locations.


An Important pulse crop is a green gram. This is a highly abundant source of protein. It is fairly widespread in India and Central Asia. All three seasons are appropriate for its cultivation. Warm and damp conditions are ideal for growing green grams. Moderate downpours and temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius are both necessary. On the other hand, heavy rain and overcast skies are bad for the crop.


A Kharif crop, cotton Is harvested between October and January after being sown between June and July. Cottonseed cake, which is made by crushing the seed, is used to manufacture cottonseed oil and livestock feed.

Cotton is a crop that requires a lot of water, and uses about 6% of the irrigation water in the country. Cultivation of cotton is done in deep, friable, well-drained soil. Cotton cannot be grown in sandy, salty, or waterlogged soils. The best time to sow is between April and mid-May. Cotton is a key component of the Indian textile industry, which is crucial to the economic progress of our nation. Approximately, 5% of the nation’s GDP is generated by this industry.


Compared to the Rabi season, the Kharif season is when maize is grown in India. The crop is harvested in December after being sowed from June through August. The important states for this Kharif crop are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. As the crop with the highest genetic yield potential, maize is referred to as the queen of cereals. In poultry, it is also utilised as animal feed. It is primarily a kharif crop which is grown all over India. Maize is the third significant cereal crop after rice and wheat. Maize can be grown on loamy sand and clayey loam soils. However, soils with high water holding capacity and good organic matter content are better for increased productivity. It is preferable to stay away from low-lying fields with poor drainage and fields with higher salinity since this crop is vulnerable to moisture stress, and salinity stress. Therefore, fields with adequate drainage should be chosen for growing maize. Since they need less fertile soil and pesticides, maize can be grown in any soil.

What are rabi crops?

Winter crops, often referred to as rabi crops or rabi harvest, are crops that are planted in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the winter and harvested in the spring. The word “spring” is derived from the Arabic word “rabi”, which is used on the Indian subcontinent, where the spring harvest occurs. The best time to sow rabi crops is in November after the monsoon season has ended. The harvesting season starts in April and ends in May. Either irrigation is used, or rainwater is used to grow the crops. Winter rains ruin the rabi crops.

Due to an unusual lack of western disturbances over northwest and central India, rabi crops are under threat. The lack of rainfall and moisture in the area makes it difficult to produce wheat during the winter.


Cereals: wheat, barley and oat


Mentioned fruits are harvested in the rabi season.

Bananas, mango, orange and mulberries.


Chickpea, pigeon pea and urad dal.

Seed plants:

Mustard, sunflower, coriander and cumin.


Carrot, cauliflower, pea, onion and potato.

One of the significant commercial crops grown in India is tobacco. The third-largest tobacco producer in the world is India. Variations in edaphic, climatic/weather and management have a significant impact on tobacco. In India, tobacco is cultivated in a very diverse climatic environment, from the coast to elevations of up to 3,000 feet. In the South, the crop is grown throughout the winter months of October through March. Rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, wind, and sunlight are significant environmental variables that affect the tobacco plant’s development, flowering, and metabolism. Cloudy and drizzly conditions are ideal for the best yield and quality. During the South-West monsoon, rains are intense and uneven in India for a brief time. Crops are cultivated throughout the winter months of October to March because, except for Hunsur, atmospheric temperatures are greater than the optimal level.


The best wheat is grown in regions that benefit from chilly, damp weather for the growing season, followed by dry, warm weather. Though the seeds can germinate in the temperature range of 3.5 to 35 c, the recommended temperature range for wheat seed germination is 20 to 25 c. Growing wheat is not recommended in warm, humid climates.

In India, wheat is grown on a range of soils. Loamy texture and good water-holding capacity are most suited for growing wheat. Wheat is vulnerable to water logging, hence heavy soils with poor structure and drainage are not recommended. Wheat can be cultivated successfully on lighter soils if the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients is increased.


Oats are grown during the Rabi season. It is both a valuable fodder crop and a cereal crop. It is believed that oats are best suited to cold and dry climates.

It grows well In environments with temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius and

80 to 100 mm of rainfall. All types of soil are suitable for growing oats, but loam soil is preferred. Oats can be sown until the first week of December, depending on the weather, even though November is the best month for sowing them for the most yield. They are harvested after 4-5 months of sowing, or in early April.


Subtropical climates are ideal for growing mustard. Mustard survives in a dry, chilly climate, it is typically grown during the Rabi season. 10°C to 25°C are the ideal temperatures for mustard crops. This crop cannot survive frost. The mustard crop begins to flower in November to February after the mustard seed is sown during the Rabi season, which runs from October to November. Typically, the harvesting season lasts from February until March. Different types of mustard seed, including black mustard, white mustard, and brown Indian mustard, are offered both whole and ground.

Main differences between kharif and rabi crops in points

1. Kharif crops are also called monsoon crops, and rabi crops are called winter crops.

2. Rabi translates into spring, whereas kharif translates into autumn.

3. Sowing of kharif crops is done at the beginning of the monsoon, and rabi crops at the end of the monsoon.

4. Sowing time of rabi crops is from September through October. Kharif crops are sown from April through May.

5. Harvesting of kharif and rabi is done during summer and winter respectively.

6. September is the best month for harvesting the kharif crop, and April is for harvesting the rabi crop.

7. Cultivation of the kharif crop depends on rainfall, and the rabi crop depends on irrigation.

8. Kharif crops are thirsty crops, whereas rabi crops are not.

9. Flowering of kharif crops requires longer nights, and rabi crops require longer days.

10. Rabi crops can grow in a cold climate, and kharif crops are grown ingot and humid climate.


India has an agricultural economy. Agriculture contributes largely to the GDP of the country. Rabi and Kharif crops are the main crops of India. A said crop is grown in between the rabi and Kharif crops as an intermediary crop. Rice, maize, and cotton are the main Kharif crops. Wheat and oats are the main rabi crops.  The southwest monsoon decides the growing of crops in India.  The onset of monsoon decides the destiny of kharif crops. Winter rains may ruin rabi crops. Kharif crops are mainly rain fed and rabi crops depend on irrigation. Kharif crops are may survive rains all through the growing season, whereas  rabi crops survives cold climate.


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"Difference Between Kharif Crops and Rabi Crops." Diffzy.com, 2023. Tue. 28 Nov. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-kharif-crops-and-rabi-crops>.

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