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Cropping seasons of India- Kharif & Rabi

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The agricultural crop year in India is from July to June. The Indian cropping season is classified into two main seasons-(i) Kharif and (ii) Rabi based on the monsoon. The kharif cropping season is from July –October during the south-west monsoon and the Rabi cropping season is from October-March (winter). The crops grown between March and June are summer crops. Pakistan and Bangladesh are two other countries that are using the term ‘kharif’ and ‘rabi’ to describe about their cropping patterns. The terms ‘kharif’ and ‘rabi’ originate from Arabic language where Kharif means autumn and Rabi means spring.

The kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, pearl millet/bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereals), arhar (pulses), soyabean, groundnut (oilseeds), cotton etc. The rabi crops include wheat, barley, oats (cereals), chickpea/gram (pulses), linseed, mustard (oilseeds) etc.

In an agricultural year (July-June), the Directorate of Economics & Statistics (DES), Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture releases four Advance Estimates followed by Final Estimates of production of major agricultural crops of the country. First Advance Estimates, released in September when Kharif sowing is generally over, cover only Kharif crops. Second Advance Estimates are released in February next year when rabi sowing is also over. These estimates covering Kharif as well as rabi crops take into account firmed up figures on kharif area coverage along with available data on crop cutting experiments for yield assessment of Kharif crops and tentative figures on area coverage of rabi crops. Third Advance Estimates incorporating revised data on area coverage for rabi crops and better yield estimates of Kharif crops are released in April-May.

Fourth Advance Estimates are released in July-August and by this time fully firmed up data on area as well as yield of Kharif crops and rabi crops are expected to be available with the States. As such, Fourth Advance Estimates are considered to be almost as good as Final Estimates released in next February along with Second Advance Estimates for the subsequent agricultural year. In order to allow sufficient time to States to take into account even the delayed information while finalizing area and yield estimates of various crops, the Final Estimates are released about seven months after the Fourth Advance Estimates and no revision in the State level data is accepted after release of Final Estimates by DES.

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