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Learn Principles of Agronomy — B.SC agriculture
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Based on range of cultivation

a) Garden Crop

Crop plants that is grown on a small scale in gardens such as kitchen garden, flower garden and backyard garden. Especially vegetable crops grown in little area for domestic use and not grown for commercial purposes.

b) Plantation Crops

Crop plants that are grown on large scale. They are mostly not seasonal. They are permanent in nature. Harvesting continues for long period of time from a single planting eg. tea, coffee, coconut etc.

c) Field Crops

Crop plants grown on large scale. They are mostly seasonal in nature eg. rice, wheat, maize etc.

They are concerned with solving basic needs of people.

Classification according to the place of origin

a) Native (local or indigenous): Crops grown within the geographical limits of their origin, eg. rice, barley, buckwheat are Nepalese originated species.

b) Exotic or introduced: Crop grown even beyond their site of origin. eg. tobacco, cowpea, potato are exotic crops of Nepal.

Botanical Classification

Kingdom (Plant)

Division (Spermatophyta)

Sub division (Angiosperm)

Classes a) Monocotyledon and b) Dicotyledon





Sub species


  • Important families of different crops are given below:

a) Graminae (Poaceae) or grass family eg. Rice, wheat, maize etc.

b) Leguminoseae: eg. Pea, cowpea, blackgram etc.

c) Cruciferae: eg. Mustard, radish, cabbage etc.

d) Cucurbitaceae: eg. Bitter gourd, sponge gourd, bottle gourd etc.

e) Malvaceae: eg. Cotton, ladysfinger etc.

f) Solanaceae: eg. Potato, tomato, tobacco, brinjal, chillies etc.

g) Tiliaceae: eg. Jute

h) Compositae: eg. Sunflower, niger

i) Chenopodiaceae: eg. Spinach, beet, sugerbeet etc.

j) Pedaliaceae: eg. Sesamum

k) Convolvulaceae: eg. Sweet potato

l) Euphorbiaceae: eg. Castor

m) Umbelliferae: eg. Coriander, cumin, carrot etc.

n) Liliaceae: eg. Onion, garlic etc.

o) Zingiberaceae: eg Ginger, turmeric

Classification according to Ontogeny

a) Annual crops: Crop plants that complete their life cycles within a season or year eg. Rice, wheat.

b) Biennial crops: Crop plants that complete their lifecycle within two years. First takes vegetative growth and second year completes its life cycle. eg. Cabbage, radish, turnip, carrot etc.

c) Perennial crops: Crop plants that live for three or more years. eg. Sugarcane, napier, ginger, sweet potato etc.

Seasonal classification

Crops are grouped under the seasons based on their major growing field duration. These are:

a) Kharif crops: Grown during June-July to Sept-Oct eg. Rice, maize, groundnut.

b) Rabi crops: Grown during Oct-Nov to Jan-Feb eg. Wheat, mustard, barley, oats.

c) Zaid or summer crops: Grown during Feb-March to May-June eg. Blackgram, green gram, cowpea, sesame etc.

According to suitability of toposequence

i) Crop grown on upland

These crops cannot tolerate water stagnation and crop grown on high land or upland eg. Pigeonpea, groundnut, maize, cotton, bajara etc.

ii) Crops grown on medium land

They require sufficient soil moisture but can not tolerate water stagnation eg. Jute, potato, sugarcane, blackgram, mustard etc.

iii) Crops grown on low land

They require an abundant supply of water and can stand prolonged water logged condition eg. Jute (Corchorus capsularis), rice etc.

According to the suitability of soil textural group

i) Light soil requiring crops:

  • They required sandy to sandy loam soils for effective growth, development and yield of crops eg. Potato, onion, carrot, greengram, sunflower etc.ii) Medium soil texture requiring crops
  • They required medium texture like silty to silty loam types of soil eg. Jute, sugarcane, maize, tobacco, cowpea, berseem etc.

ii) Heavy soil texture requiring crops:

  • They required clay to clay loam soils eg. Rice, wheat, barley, linseed, lentil etc.

According to the tolerance of problem soils

i) Crop tolerance to acid soils eg. Wet rice, potato, mustard etc.

ii) Crop tolerance to saline soils eg. Wheat, chillies, cucurbits, barley, sesamum etc.

iii) Crop tolerance to alkaline soils eg. Barley, cotton, chickpea, beans, maize, groundnut.

iv) Tolerance to water logged soils eg. Wet rice, dhaincha, napier etc.

v) Tolerance to soil erosions eg. Rice bean, blackgram, groundnut etc.

According to tillage requirements

i) Arable crops: Crops requiring preparatory tillage eg. Potato, radish, berseem, sugarcane, rice, tobacco, maize.

ii) Non-arable crops: Crops that may not be requiring preparatory tillage eg. Cowpea, blackgram, paragrass etc.

According to the depth of root system

i. Shallow rooted crops: Root depth upto 60 cm. eg. Rice, potato, onion, tori etc.

ii. Moderately deep-rooted crops: Root depth upto 90 cm. wheat, groundnut, tobacco, barley, chickpea, cowpea etc.

iii. Deep-rooted crops: Root depth upto 120 cm. eg. maize, cotton, sugarbeet, sweetpotato etc.

iv. Very deep-rooted crops: Root depth more than 120 cm eg. sugarcane, safflower, apple, citrus etc.

According to the tolerance to hazardous weather conditions

1) Frost tolerant crops: eg sugarbeet.

2) Cold tolerant crops: eg. potato, cablage, mustard etc.

3) Drought tolerant crops: cowpea, moong bean, cotton etc.

According to water supply:

1) Irrigated crops: eg. potato, rice, cablage, wheat etc.

2) Rainfed upland crops: eg. jute, maize, fingermillet, upland rice, cotton etc.

3) Rainfed but partial irrigated crops: eg. gram, wheat, mustard etc.

4) Conserved soil moisture crops: eg. tori, barley, lentil etc.

5) Rainfed crops with supplemental irrigation: eg. sugarcane, blackgram, G/gram

6) Rainfed plus flooded crops: eg. deep water rice, sugarcane, dhaincha, jute (C. capsularis).

According to method of sowing or planting

1) Direct seeded crops: eg. upland rice, wheat, mustard, maize, ricebean etc.

2) Planted crops: eg. Sugarcane, potato, sweetpotato, napier etc.

3) Transplanted crops eg. Transplanted rice, tobacco, onion, cablage, cauliflower.

 According to requirements of earthing up

1) Intertilled crops: eg. potato, sweetpotato, groundnut, maize, ginger, turmeric, sugarcane etc.

2) Non -intertilled crops: eg. jowar (fodder), dinanath grass, oats, lentil, linseed etc.

According to length of field duration

1) Very short (upto 75 days) duration crops: eg. green gram, black gram, tori, radish (40 days).

2) Short duration crops (75-100 days): eg. upland rice, potato (early), ladie’s finger, cauliflower, sunnhemp etc.

3) Medium duration crops (100-125 days): wheat, barley, potato (main season), groundnut, tomato etc.

4) Long duration crops (125-150 days): mustard, tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), cumin, cotton, rice bean.

5) Very long duration crops (150 days and above): Sugarcane, sugarbeet, pigeonpea, napier etc.

According to the method of harvesting

1) Reaping (cut on the basal portion of the crop): rice, mustard, sugarcane etc.

2) Uprooting by pulling eg. tori, lentil, linseed, blackgram, radish etc.

3) Uprooting by digging: potato, onion, garlic, ginger, sweetpotato, colocasia, groundnut, carrot etc.

4) Picking: Cotton, brinjal, gourds, maize,chillies etc.

5) Priming: tobacco

6) Cutting: Oats, napier, berseem, amaranthus, spinach etc.

7) Grazing: paragrass, pasture grasses etc.

According to post harvest but pre processing requirements

1) Curing: tobacco, mustard, sesame etc.

2) Stripping: jute, sunnhemp, flax etc.

3) Shelling: groundnut, maize, sunflower etc.

4) Ginning: cotton

5) Seasoning: Turmeric, chillies etc.

6) Grading and storing: Potato, rice, wheat, fibre crops, tobacco etc.

Classification based on serving special purpose

Crop plants, which are grown with the intension of serving special purposes in addition to obtaining yield or to meet a particular purposes.

a) Catch crops: Catch crops are cultivated to catch the forthing season. They replace as main crop that has failed due to biotic or climatic or management hazards and utilize the remaining period of the season. They are generally of very short duration, quick growing or usable at any time. eg. green gram, blackgram. cowpea, coriander, onion etc.

b) Restorative crops: Crops which provide a good harvest along with enrichment of the soil. eg. legumes. They fix atmospheric N in root nodules, shed their leaves during ripening and restore soil condition.

c) Paira crops or relay crops: Crops which are grown a few days or weeks before the harvesting of the standing mature crop. These crops are grown on residual moisture without preparatory tillage. eg. lentil or khesari broadcasted in paddy field, fingermillet transplanted in  maize field.

d) Smother crops: Those crops which are able to suppress the population and growth of weeds by providing suffocation (curtailing movement of air) and obscuration (of the incidental radiation) by their dense foliage due to quick growing ability with heavy tillering and branching. Eg barley, mustard, cowpea etc.

e) Cover crops: Those crop plants which are able to protect the soil surface from erosion (wind, water or both) through their ground covering foliage or root mats eg. groundnut, marvel grass, black gram, rice bean, sweet potato etc.

f) Nurse crops: Crops plants which help in the nourishment of other crops by providing shade and acting as climbing sticks eg. rai crop in peas, crotolaria in tea.

g) Trap Crops: Crops plants, which are grown to trap soil borne harmful biotic agents such as parasitic weeds, orobanche and striga that are trapped by solanaceous and sorghum crops respectively. These weed seeds germinate when they came in contact with roots of these crops.

h) Mulch crops: Crops plants which are grown to conserve soil moisture from bare ground by their thick and multilayered foliage eg. cowpea.

i) Sod crops: These plants are grown to conserve soil from erosion particularly in non-arable areas. eg. Cynodon doctylon (Dubo grass), marvel grass.

j) Cash crops: These crops plants are grown for sale to earn hard cash eg. Jute, cotton and sugarcane etc.

k) Silage crops: These crops plants are grown to preserve in silo pit in a succulent condition by a process of natural fermentation for feeding livestock during lean months.

l) Green manuring crops: These crops plants are grown to be incorporated it into the soil fresh to increase the fertility of the soil eg. Dhaincha, sunnhemp etc.

m) Mixed crops: these crops consist of two or more crops that are grown simultaneously in the same field without preserving their identity with respect to field area. Seed of these crops may be mixed together before sowing and broadcasted irregularly or may be sown at the same time and grown with the same management practices eg. maize + cowpea, wheat + mustard.

n) Intercrops: These consist of two or more crops that are grown simultaneously in alternate rows in the same field. The crops are not necessarily sown at exactly the same time and their harvest times may be quite different but they are usually simultaneous for a significant part of their growing periods eg. sugarcane + wheat, maize + soybean.

o) Mono or sole crop: Crops, which are grown as pure or solid stands are called mono crops. eg. transplanted rice, jute, tobacco etc.

p) Ratoon crop: This refers to the subsequent harvests taken from the regrowth of the root stocks, stubbles and stumps after the first harvest eg. sugarcane, napier, berseem, oats etc.

q) Alley crops: When arable crops are grown in alleys formed by trees or shrubs, established mainly to hasten soil fertility restoration, enhance soil productivity and reduce soil erosion they are known as alley crops eg. Eucalyptus, Cassia, Subabool etc.

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