Classification of Crops
Booklet No. 227
Agricultural Extension: & Education: AEES-2
II. Classification According to Place of Origin
III. Botanical or Taxonomic Classification
IV. Commercial Classification
V. Economic or Agricultural Classification
VI. Seasonal Classification
VII. Agronomic Classification
VIII. Classification Based on Leaf Morphology
IX. Classification Based on Special Purposes
X. Classification According to Ontogeny
XI. Classification Based on Uses
Farming is no longer a subsidiary occupation. Now with the recent advances in science
and technology, evaluation of crops has become highly scientific. A number of plants have been
thoroughly studied, botanically classified and are being utilized by human being for different
purposes. This booklet describes the types of classification of different crops.
Dr. K.T. Chandy, Agricultural & environmental Education
Before going to any agronomic field operations some basic knowledge about the crops
must be acquired. Classification of different agricultural crops is an acceptable product of
scientific studies and is obviously based on well demarcated characteristics.
A crop is a life grown or harvested for obtaining yield. Several plants are alike with
respect to morphology, anatomy, physiology and requirement of particular type of ecology at
different stages of their growth and development. All these help to generalize similar crop
plants as a class for attaining a better understanding of them. While considering some crops as
a group some exceptions must always be expected.
Classification is of very much importance for a farmer because he can know very clearly
about each and every crop which will indirectly be helpful in his cash return. The classification
will also be helpful in knowing the type of crop to be grown in the field according to the fertility
status and climate.
Crops are grouped in several ways namely, according to the range of cultivation. place
of origin, different characters. etc. They are mentioned in detail here.
ll. Classification According to Place of Origin
A number of crops may be grown anywhere in the world but each crop has its native
place. where its large number of wild relatives are also present. The agro-climatic situation of
the place of origin may provide relevant information about the ideal environment for its
adaptability. The wild relatives or varieties may be used as gene pool for any further
improvement of the crop concerned.
According to the place of origin the crops are grouped into following categories.
A. Native crops
These are the crops which are grown within the geographical limits of their origin. Some
crops of Indian origin are: rice, barley, black gram, mustard, castor, sugarcane, cotton, etc.
B. Exotic crops
These are the crops which are grown beyond or far away from their site of origin. Some
of the crops which are now grown in India, were introduced from other countries are: tobacco,
potato, jute, maize, etc.
III. Botanical or Taxonomic Classification
According to this classification crops are dealt with under the natural orders or the
families under which they come, in a systematic arrangement. In this classification all the plants
referring to one particular family are grouped together. This classification has certain
advantages in understanding of the morphological characters of any particular family. Following
are some crops grouped into families.
A. Poaceae ( Graminae) or grass family
These crops are: rice, wheat, maize, barley, oat, sugarcane, napier, sorghum,
B. Papilionaceae (legumes) or pea family
The crops are: pea, cowpea, pigeon pea, bengal gram, black gram, green gram,
soyabean, guar, groundnut, berseem, sunbemp, lentil, dhaincha, etc.
C. Cruciferae or mustard family
The crops are: mustard, toria, radish, cabbage, cauliflower, knol khol, etc.
D. Cucurbitaceae or gourd family
The crops are: sweet gourd, ash gourd, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, cucumber, pumpkin,
E. Malvaceae or cotton family
The crops are: cotton, lady's finger, etc.
F. Solanaceae or brinjal family
The crops are: potato, tomato, tobacco, brinjal, chilies, etc.
G. Tiliaceae jute family
The crop is jute.
H. Asteraceae (Compositae) or sunflower family
The crops are: sunflower, safflower, niger, etc.
I. Chenopodiaceae or spinach family
The crops are: spinach, beet, sugarbeet, etc.
J. Pedaliaceae or sesamum family
The crop is sesamum.
K. Euphorbiaceae or castor family
The crops are: castor, tapioca, etc.
L. Convolvulaeceae or sweet potato family
The crop is sweet potato.
M. Umbelliferae or coriander family
The crops are: coriander, anise, cumin, carrot, etc.
N. Liliaceae or onion family
The crops are: onion, garlic, etc.
O. Zingiberaceae or ginger family
The crops are: ginger, turmeric, etc.
IV. Commercial Classification
The plant products (usable products) which come into commercial field go under popular
grouping as given below.
A. Food crops
These are the crops which are taken by human beings as staple food. These include:
rice, legumes, wheat, maize, fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, oilseeds, etc.
B. Feed crops
These are the crops which are consumed by the animals or cattle as their food. These
are: oats, rice straw, napier grass, beans, Sorghum, berseem, maize, lucerne, stylo, etc.
C. Industrial or cash crops
These are the crops which gives good return in cash when sold in market. These are:
cotton, soyabean, cashewnut, sugarcane, potato, groundnut, tobacco. spices, sesame,
sunflower, castor, coconut, safflower, cardomom, chilies, etc.
D. Food adjuncts
These crops form a grouping which has no distinct demarcation between the food crops
and industrial or commercial crops. These crops include spices, condiments. beverages and
Now-a-days due to input rich cultivation in the agriculture, every farmer needs more and
more output from his field which can give him more cash in market. So slowly the crops are
coming one by one into this category.
V. Economic or Agricultural Classification
This classification is based on the uses of the crops. They are as follows.
Cereals are the cultivated grasses grown for their edible starchy grains. In general, the
larger grains used as staple food are: wheat, maize, rice, Sorghum, barley, etc.
These are small grain cereals which are of minor importance as food. But in our country
millets also play important role as food crop. They are: bajra, kauni, ragi, shyama, etc.
C. Oil seed crops
These are rich in fatty acids, and are used to extract vegetable oil to meet various
requirements. They are: mustard, safflower, rape seed, castor, rai, linseed, sesame, groundnut,
sunflower, soyabean, coconut, etc.
These are also major food crop which are rich in protein. They are: green gram. cowpea,
black gram, pigeon pea, bengal gram, soybean, pea. lentil, lathyrus, etc.
E. Feed or forage crops.
These are vegetative matter, either used fresh or preserved as feed for animals. It
includes hay, silage, pasturage and fodder. They are: berseem, cowpea, jowar, lucerne, maize,
napier grass, oats, field bean, etc.
G. Sugar and starch crops
These crops are grown to produce sugar and starch. They are: sugarcane, tapioca,
sugarbeet, asparagus, potato, sweet potato, etc.
H. Spices and condiments
These crops or their produce are used to develop flavour, taste and add zest and
sometimes colour to fresh or preserved food. They are: ginger, chillies, garlic, onion, fenugreek
anise, cumin, asafoetida, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, etc.
I. Drug crops
These are the crops used to prepare medicines. The number of medicinal herbs found in
our country is about 1500. These medicinal herbs are used for disease cure. They are: Indian
acalypha, cinchona, cassia. neem, cardamom, tulsi, pine, lodh, castor, henna, mint, emlecha,
tobacco, long pepper, etc.
These are the crops which products are used for stimulating, numbing, drosing and
relishing effects. They are: tobacco, anise, ganja, opium, etc.
These are the crops whose products are used for mild, agreeable and stimulating liquors
meant for drinking. They are; tea, coffee, cocoa, etc.
L. Plantation crops
These are the crops grown on a large scale agricultural unit for heavy output. It can be
an artificially reforested area by planting or direct seeding. They are: rubber, coconut. coffee,
areca palm, tea, oil palm, etc.
M. Fruit crops
These are the crops which are rich and valuable sources of food. Several vitamins are
found in different fruits. Important fruits grown in our country are: mango, guava, apple, litchi,
jackfruit, banana, loquat, etc.
N. Vegetable crops
These are the crops which are important for human diet and are rich in vitamins and
minerals. They are: lady's finger, brinjal, tomato, chilli, snakegourd, amaranth, pointed gourd,
fenugreek, sitaphal, knol-khol, onion, Pea, garlic, green pepper, lettuce, watermelon,
O. Ornamental plants
These are the plants which include flowers, shrubs, ornamental foliage plants, cacti and
others. Some of the ornamental plants are: petunia, jasmine, rose, chrysanthemum, cup flower,
candytuft, dianthus, balsam, canna, amaryllas, chinese bell flower, cacti, china rose, gulmohar,
bouganvillea, night queen, morning glory, mary flower tree, dahlia, etc.
P. Fibre crops
These crops are grown to get fibre to make clothes, ropes, mattress and gunny bags.
They are: jute, mesta, cotton, sunhemp, flax, etc.
VI. Seasonal Classification
There are several crops which are grown in different seasons of the year. Such seasons
are most prominent in the plains in contrast to coastal and mountainous regions and in areas
receiving monsoonal rains. These are the crops grouped under the seasons.
A. Kharif season crops
These are the crops which are grown during the monsoons, from June-July to
September-October. They are: rice, urd, maize, moong, castor, sunflower, groundnut, safflower,
jute, watermelon, jawor, bajra, etc.
B. Rabi season crops
These crops are grown during October-November to January - February. While growing
these crops, the moisture conserved during monsoon period are used for rabi crops. The
important crops are: wheat, lentil, mustard, berseem, potato, cabbage, bengal gram, cauliflower,
pea, oats, linseed, barley, etc.
C. Zaid or summer crops
These are the crops which are grown during February –March to May -June. They are:
black gram, sesame, green gram, cowpea. etc.
Vll. Agronomic Classifications
These are the crops in which cultural requirements are same due to their agro-botanical
or morpho-agronomical characters. Their further classification is based as follows.
A. According to suitability of topo-sequence
This classification is done according to the situation of land or field.
I. Crops grown in highland
These are the cops which cannot tolerate the stagnation of water. They are: arhar,
cotton, sunnhemp, sesame, maize, napier grass, jowar, dinanath grass, bajra, etc.
2. Crops grown in medium land
These crops require sufficient moisture for growth but cannot tolerate water stagnation.
They are: jute, bengal gram, potato, black gram, sugarcane, barley, upland rice, oats, ragi,
mustard, wheat, etc.
3. Crops grown in low land
These crops require abundant supply of water for growth and can stand prolonged
waterlogged conditions. They are: rice, para grass, dhaincha, jute, etc.
B. According to suitability of the textural groups of soils
This classification has been done on the basis of texture of soil on which the crop is
grown. They are as follows.
1. Crops of sandy to loam soils or light soils
The crops grown on this type of soils are: potato, turnip, sweet potato, green gram,
sugarbeet, black gram, onion, sunflower, carrot. jowar, bajra, etc.
2. Crops of silty to silty loam soils or medium soils
The crops grown on this type of soils are: jute, bengal gram, sugarcane, pea, maize,
pigeon pea, cotton, berseem, mustard, lucerne, tobacco, cowpea, etc.
3. Crops of clay to clay loam soils or heavy soils
The crops grown on this type of soils are: rice, wheat, guinea grass, barley, anjan grass,
linseed, marvel grass, lentil, chickling pea, etc.
C. According to the tolerance to the problem soils
This classification is based on the basis of tolerance of the crops to problem soils.
1. Crops tolerant to acidic soils
These are the crops which are tolerant to acid soils. They are: wet-rice, potato, mustard,
2. Crops tolerant to saline soils
These are the crops which are tolerant to saline soils. They are: chilies, jowar, cucurbits,
sesamum, wheat. guar, barley, bajra, etc.
3. Crops tolerant to alkaline soils
These are the crops which are tolerant to alkaline soil. They are: barley, berseem,
cotton, groundnut. chickpea, maize, pea, etc.
4, Crops tolerant to waterlogged soils
These are the crops which are tolerant to waterlogged conditions. Small or little water
stagnation does not affect their life cycle. They are: wet-rice, guinea grass, dhaincha, para
grass, napier grass, etc.
5. Crops tolerant to soil erosion
These are the crops which can be grown on low fertility soils because the top fertile layer
of soil is eroded by wind or water. They are: marvel grass, bean, groundnut. moth bean, black
D. According to tillage requirement
This classification is based on whether the crops need tillage practices or not.
1. Arable crops
These are the crops which require preparation tillage. They are: potato, rice, radish,
tobacco, berseem, maize, sugarcane, etc.
2. Non-arable crops
These are the crops that may not be requiring preparatory tillage. They are: black gram,
para grass, cowpea, etc.
E. According to the depth of root system
This type of classification is based on the depth of penetration root penetration of crops
in the soil.
1. Shallow rooted crops
These are the crops whose roots do not penetrate deeper in the soil. They are: rice,
toria, potato, onion, etc.
2. Moderately deep rooted crops
These are the crops whose roots go deeper in the soil than the shallow rooted crops.
They are wheat, tobacco, groundnut, barley, castor, chickpea, cowpea, berseem, etc.
3. Deep-rooted crops
The roots of these crops grow deeper than moderately deep - rooted crops. They are:
maize, sugarbeet, cotton, sweet potato, jowar, etc.
4. Very deep rooted crops
The roots of these crops grow very deep into soil and their area of absorption is larger.
They are: sugarcane, lucerne, safflower, pigeonpea, etc.
F. According to tolerance to inclement weather
This classification is based on tolerance of crops to different unfavourable weather
1. Frost tolerant crops
These are the crops which tolerate frost attack. They are: sugarbeet, beet, etc.
2. Drought tolerant crops
These are the crops which tolerate drought conditions. Mostly this type of crops are
grown in water scarce areas like arid or semi-arid regions. They are: bajra, cotton, jowar, chilies,
barley, sesame, safflower, castor, etc.
3. Cold tolerant crops
These are the crops which can tolerate cold attacks. They are: potato, cabbage,
G. According to water supply
According to the supply of water to a particular crop, they are classified as follows.
1. Irrigated crops
These are the crops which need irrigation frequently. They are: boro rice, wheat,
2. Rainfed upland crops
These are the crops which are grown on bill slopes without a irrigation facility, totally
dependent on rains. They are: jute, cotton, maize, castor, ragi, cow-pea, upland rice, guinea
grass, pigeon pea, dinanath grass, etc.
3. Rainfed but partial irrigated crops
These are the crops which are grown under rainfed conditions, but sometimes, in
absence of rain, they are irrigated. They are: bengal gram, jowar, wbeat, bajra, mustard, etc.
4. Residual or conserved soil moisture crops
These are the crops which are grown when the moisture is conserved in soil during
monsoon period. They are: toria, safflower, bajra, lentil, barley, linseed, etc.
5. Rainfed crops with supplementary irrigation,
These are the crops which are grown in rain fed conditions but regularly supplemented
by irrigation. They are: kharif rice, black gram, sugarcane, green gram, etc.
6. Rainfed plus flooded crops
These are the crops grown when field is flooded with rainwater. They are: deep water
rice, sugarcane, tidal wet land rice, dhaincha, Jute, etc.
H. According to method of sowing or planting .
This classification is done on the basis of whether the crops are seed sown or
transplanted or planted. They are as follows.
1. Direct seeded crops
These are the crops in which seeds are sown directly in the field either by broadcasting method
or in line. They are: upland rice, peas, wheat, beans, mustard, onion, maize, berseem, jowar,
stylo, bajra, groundnut, etc.
2. Planted crops
These are crops which are planted in the field. They are: sugarcane, napier grass,
potato, guinea grass, sweet potato, para grass, etc.
3. Transplanted crops
These are the crops which are transplanted to main field after raising seedlings in the
nursery. They are: transplanted rice, cauliflower, tobacco, bajra, onion, ragi, brinjal, etc.
I. According to requirements of earthing up.
This classification is based on the intertillage requirement specially earthing up of a crop.
They are as follows.
1. Intertilled crops
These are the crops which are intertilled in the field. They are: potato, maize, sweet
potato, sugarcane, groundnut, turmeric, napier grass, ginger, etc.
2. Non-intertilled crops
These are the crops which are not intertilled in the field. They are: iowa, (fodder), lentil,
para grass, linseed, oats, etc.
J. According to length of field duration
Under this classification, the crops are classified according to their maturity in days,
which they take from sowing to harvesting.
1. Very short duration crops (upto 75 days)
These crops take very short time to mature. They are: green gram, maize, black gram,
radish, toria, spinach, beet, etc.
2. Short duration crops (75-100 days)
These crops are 75-100 days to yield or mature. They are: upland rice, cauliflower,
potato (early), sunhemp, lady's finger, sunflower, etc.
3. Medium duration crops (160 -125 days)
Such a crop takes 100 -125 days to mature or to complete its life cycle. They are: rape
seed, groundnut, wheat, bengal gram, jowar, soyabean, bajra, sesame, barley, cabbage, potato
(main), tomato, guar, tobacco (rustica), onion, boro rice, jute
4. Long duration crops (125-150 days)
These crops take 125-150 days to mature. They are: mustard, cotton, tobacco
(tabacum), rice, bean, cumin, berseem, kharif rice, cumin, mesta. etc.
5. Very long duration crops (150 days and above)
These are the crops which take more than 150 days to mature or yield. They are:
sugarcane, pigeon pea, sugarbeet, napier, castor, para grass, guinea grass, castor, etc.
K. According to method of harvesting
This classification is according to different methods of harvesting applied in crops.
Harvesting of these crops are done by sickles. They are: rice, mustard, wheat,
2. Uprooting by pulling
These crops are uprooted from ground along with roots for harvesting. They are: faria,
bengal gram, lentil, lathyrus, linseed, black gram, radish, cabbage, etc.
3. Uprooting by digging
These crops are uprooted by digging the stems or tubers. They are: potato, sweet
potato, onion, colocasia, garlic, turmeric, ginger, groundnut, sugarbeet, carrot, etc.
In this group either the bolls or fruits are picked by hand. They are: cotton, gourds,
brinjal, melons, tomato, maize, chilies, cowpea, green gram, fruits, etc.
Priming is done only in tobacco.
These crops are harvested by cutting. They are: oats, berseem, napier, amaranth,
L. According to post-harvest or pre-processing requirements
Some crops require special care before they are used or sold. Their further classification
is as follows.
It is done in: tobacco, mustard, sesame, etc.
Mostly the fibre crops are stripped to extract fibre. They are: jute, flax, mesta, sunhemp,
It is done only in cotton crop.
This is a special care which is done to dry the harvested crop.
The crops are: turmeric, chilies, etc.
This is done to take out kernels from the shells. The crops are: groundnut, maize,
6. Grading and sorting
This process is mostly applied for grading and sorting of the produce to get more
income. This process is carried out in: potato, wheat, rice, fibre crops, tobacco and other crops.
VIII, Classification Based on Leaf Morphology
The criterion behind this classification is to sort out the crops according to their leaf type.
They are as follows.
A. Broad leaved crops
Under this group the crops are: mustard, cotton. pea, jute, potato, berseem, tobacco,
B. Narrow leaved crops
Under this group the crops are: rice, paragrass, wheat, onion, sugarcane, garlic, napier
grass, ginger, turmeric, asparagus etc.
IX. Classification Based on Special Purposes
These are the crops which are grown with the intention of serving the purposes in
addition to obtaining yield to meet a particular purpose. They are further classified on the basis
of the purposes they serve.
1. Catch crops or emergency crops
These crops are cultivated to 'catch' the forthcoming season. They replace a main crop
that has failed due to biotic or climatic or management hazards. They provide livestock feed at a
difficult time of year, check weed growth, conserve soil, utilize added fertilizer and moisture.
They are generally of short duration, quick growing, fast bulking, harvestable at any time of
their field duration and adaptable to the season, soil and cultural practices. Examples of such
crops are green gram, bajra, black gram, spinach, cowpea. radish, coriander, onion, etc.
2. Restorative crops
These are the crops which provide a good harvest along with enrichment or restoration
of the soil. They fix atmospheric nitrogen with the help of bacteria found in their root nodules,
shed their leaves during ripening and thus restore soil condition. They are: soyabean, alfalfa,
berseem, green gram, cowpea, blackgram, clover, etc.
3. Exhaustive crops
These are the crops when sown, exhausts the important nutrients for plant growth
present in the field. They are: sesame, linseed, brinjal, etc.
4. Para crops
These are the crops which are sown few days or few weeks before the harvesting of
standing mature crop. They are grown on residual moisture without preparatory tillage. The
standing crop and the para-crop becomes simultaneous for a brief period and for the rest of the
duration they remain as single crops. They are: black gram in aus paddy, lathyrus in aman
paddy, and sweet gourd in potato.
5. Smother crops
These are the crops which are able to suppress the population and growth of weeds by
creating suffocation (reducing movement of air) and obstruction (of the incidential radiation) by
their dense foliage developed due to quick growing ability with heavy tillering or branching. They
are: barley, cowpea, mustard, sweet gourd, etc.
6. Cover crops
These crops protect the soil surface from erosion (wind, water or both) through their
foliage or root mats. They are: groundnut, lathysus spp., maryel grass, sweet potato, black
gram, para grass, rice, bean, etc.
7. Nurse crops
These crops help in obtaining nourishment for other crops by provding shade and acting
as climbing sticks. For example, rai in peas, jowar in cowpea, and Glyricidia crotolaria in tea.
Shade loving plants (sciophytes) such as turmeric, ginger and corn are nourished by tall
crops such as pigeon pea, castor and climbing vegetables such as cucumber, litle gourd,
ashgourd and beans.
8. Guard or barrier crops
These crops help to protect another crop from wind storms etc. They are: safflower in
gram, and Saccharum munjo around the crop fields situated on the banks of torrential rivers.
9. Brake crops
These are the crops which are grown to break the continuity of the agro-ecological
situation of the field under multiple cropping systems. The inclusion of such crops in the
cropping system helps to reduce the inoculum of soil-borne harmful biotic agents such as
weeds, pests, pathogens and parasites. It also improves soil conditions for crop growth. The
examples are: Growing potato or oilseeds in continous cereals cropping systems. Rice-wheat,
Rice- Maize, breaks the continuity of a large number of pests due to variations in host ranges
and changing of agrocological situation.
10. Trap crops
These crops are grown to trap soil borne harmful biotic agents, parasitic weeds like,
orobanche and striga that are trapped by solanaceous and sorghum crops respectively. These
weed seeds germinate when they come in contact with roots of these crops. Therefore, the
destruction of these crops reduces the inoculum of such parasitic weeds. Similarly nematodes
are trapped by some solanaceous crops. On uprooting crop plants, nematodes are pulled out
from the field.
11. Mulch crops
These crops are grown to conserve soil moisture from base ground by their thick and
dense foliage. They are: cowpea, colocasia, etc.
12. Sod or Turf crops
These crops belong to the grass family and have sod type tillers with matted foliage and
roots close to the soil surface. They are grown to conserve soil from erosion particularly in non-
arable areas. They are: marvel grass, doob grass (Cynodon dactylon), etc.
13. Cleaning crops
These are the crops whose agronomic practices make the field clean from weeds and
stubbles. They are: potato, turmeric, groundnut, colocasia, ginger, etc.
14. Fouling crops
These are the crops whose cultural practices allow the infestation of weeds intensively.
For example, maize, cotton and direct seeded upland rice have low coverage over the ground at
their earlier stages of growth and wider spacing and slow growth at the beginning.
15. Cash crops
These are the crops grown for sale to earn hard cash. They are: jute, cotton, tobacco,
16. Ware crops
These crops are grown for temporary storing as intact in ware houses for future use or
sale. They are in general, fleshy fruits or roots of higher values. For example, potato, carrot,
17. Truck crops
These crops are grown to market afresh. These are made available to consumers in
fresh state. They are: lady's finger, spinach, brinial. radish, berseem, etc.
18. Cole crops
These are cold weather crops belonging to crucifereae family. They are capable of
withstanding considerable frost. The examples of these crops are: cabbage, brussels sprouts,
cauliflower, knolkhol, etc.
19. Silage crops
These are the crops grown to preserve in pits in a succulent condition by a process of
natural fermentation for feeding livestock during off-seasons. They are: maize, cowpea, bajra,
berseem, jowar, lucerne, etc.
20. Soiling crops
These crops are grown to harvest in green and fed fresh to livestock in stalls. They are:
berseem, rice-bean, oats, napier grass, etc.
21. Lay crops
These crops are grown in combination with other crops for immediate or future feeding
to livestocks. The examples are marvel grass + berseem, dinanath grass + cowpea, and
berseem + mustard.
22. Green manuring crops
These crops are grown to be incorporated afresh into soil to increase the fertility of the
soil. They are: dhaincha, subabool, sunnhemp, lucerne, clyricidia, berseem, etc.
23. Mixed crops
These consist of two or more crops that are grown simultaneously in the same field
without preserving their identity with respect to field area. Seeds of these crops may be mixed
together before sowing and broadcast irregularly or drilled in rows. They may be harvested
together or separately. For example, pea + rai, towar + cowpea, wheat + mustard, linseed +
toria, gram + safflower, berseem + mustard, and maize + cowpea
These consists 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
time may be quite different but they are usually simultaneously for a significant part of their
growing periods. They are: sesame -black gram, wheat -mustard, pigeon pea + groundnut, rice
+ pigeon pea, sorghum + pigeon pea, and berseem + mustard.
25. Companion crops
These are the crops within intercrop situations when subsidiary crops are usually of a
shorter duration in a long duration main crop i.e. the main crop gets the company of a short
duration crop for a certain period at the early stages of its growth. The examples are potato,
onion and spinach in autumn sugarcane, lady's finger and amaranthus in spring sugarcane,
radish in potato, and green gram in Napier grass.
26. Parallel crops
Sometimes two or more crops are grown simultaneously but they do not have inter
competitive effects. They are: maize + cowpea, sorghum + pigeon pea
27. Mono or sole crops
These crops are grown as pure or solid stands. They are: transplanted rice, jute,
tobacco, oats, etc.
28. Plant crop or first harvest crop of stub crop
In perennials or multicut crop plants this refers to the first harvest after sowing or
planting of the crop. They are: sugarcane, napier grass, cotton, pigeonpea, berseem, oats, etc.
29. Ratoon crop or stubble crop or coppice
These are the perennial or multicut crops from which subsequent harvests are taken
from the regrowth of the rootstocks, stubble and stumps, after the firstt harvest. These crops
generally reduce the cost of cultivation. They also reduce the crop cycle, period, produce a
higher yield per unit time and often require less; input. They are: sugarcane, jowar, napier grass,
bajra, berseem, oats, rice, guineagrass, etc.
30. Seed crops
These are the crops which are grown for seed production. Therefore, these crops
require special care and management to maintain the satisfactory genetic identity and purity of
the crop variety and a healthy crop. 'They are: seed crop of jute, oats, potato, berseem,
cabbage, cowpea, cauliflower, tobacco. etc.
31. Leaf crops
These crops are grown to harvest leaves to get cash. They are:
tobacco, spinach, sisal, etc.
32. Fuel crops
These crops are grown to obtain fife wood or solid fuel as a by-product along with their
economic yield. They are: jute, cotton, sugarcane, mustard, pigeonpea, sesame, etc.
33. Energy crops
These crops are grown to obtain liquid energy such as ethanol and alcohol. They are:
sugarcane, maize, potato, tapioca, etc.
34. Outer or border crops
These crops are grown on the border areas of the plot or field of another crop. The
examples are safflower on border of potato, radish on barley border or onion on the border of
cabbage or cauliflower, and mesta in border of sugarcane.
35. Riparian crops
These crops are grown along irrigation and drainage channels. They protect the soil
from eroding. They are: water bind weed, dhaincha, Pepper wort, bhabar or babui, para grass,
36. A venue crop
These are the crops which are grown along the roads and fences. They are: pigeonpea.
glyricidia, sisal, tephrosia, etc.
37. Contour crops
These are the crops grown on or along the contour lines to protect the land from erosion.
For example, marvel grass, dinanath grass, setaria, anjan grass, etc.
38. Strip crops
Strip crops are of different types which are described below.
a. Erosion permitting crops
These crops when grown permit erosion, and they require shaping for arable farming. On sloppy
lands they are sown along the slope. They are: maize, toria, bajra, etc.
b. Erosion resisting crops
These crops are grown to check soil erosion. They are grown across the slope of the land.
These crops have good canopy to retard the raindrop velocity. They are: marvel grass,
horsegram, green gram, kidneybean, black gram, etc.
c. Contour strip crops
These crops are grown in strips of suitable width across the slopes (bi or multi directional) on
the level or contour lines alternating with erosion restricting crops particularly where land
shaping is not needed. They are: jowar, groundnut, pigeonpea, marvel grass, etc.
d. Field strip crops
These crops are grown on farm lands in more or less parallel strips across fairly uniform slopes
but not on exact contours. They are: maize, bajra, pigeonpea, green gram, guar, sesame, jowar,
e. Wind strip crops
These are tlle crops (tall crops) that are grown with short crops in alternately arranged straight
and long but relatively narrow, parallel strips laid right across the direction of the prevailing wind
regardless of the land contour. They are: tall crops -maize, pigeonpea, jowar, safflower, bajra,
mustard. Short crops -potato, groundnut, green gram, bengal gram, etc.
f. Permanent buffer strip crops
These crops are legumes, grass, bush or shrubs that are grown on a permanent or temporary
basis on the strips that are established to take care of critically steep or highly eroded slopes in
fields under contour strip cropping. They are: subabul, Panicum repens, babul, guinea grass,
Cassia, Prosopis, Glyricidia, cemona grass, etc.
39. Augmenting crops
These are the crops which are sown to supplement the yield of the main crop. The
example is Japanese mustard with berseem.
40. Alley crops
These crops are grown mainly to hasten soil fertility restoration. enhance soil productivity
and reduce soil erosion. They are slightly shade loving and non-trailing. For example sweet
potato, black gram, turmeric and ginger in between the rows of Eucalyptus, subabool and
X. Classification According to Ontogeny
Crops coming under this category complete their life cycle after passing through
progressive stages of development. They are further divided as follows.
A. Annual crops
These are the crops which complete their life cycle in a season or year. They are: rice,
mustard, wheat, tobacco, Maize, green gram, etc.
B. Biennial crops
These are the crops which complete their life cycle in two years. First year growth is
purely vegetative with top growth usually confined to rosette of leaves. The tap root is often
fleshy and serves as a food storage organ. During second year it produces a flower stalk from
the crowd. After producing seed, the plant dies. They are: sugarbeet, turnip, carrot, radish,
C. Perennial crops
These are the crops which complete their life cycle in more than three years. For
example, sugarcane, garlic, napier grass, onion, sweet potato, ginger, etc.
XI. Classification Based on Uses
Under this classification, the crops are classified according to the type of uses, i.e. how it
is used either as cereals, pulses or millets, etc.
These are the crops which is consumed as food grains. They are: rice, wheat, barley,
These are the crops which are used as food grains supporting the cereals. They are also
used as fodder for animals. They are: pearl millet, maize, barnyard millet, bulrush millet,
common millet, finger millet, great millet, sorghum, stalian millet. kodo millet, little millet, torpedo
These are the crops which are rich in protein and are used for preparation of dal, besan,
etc. They are: black gram, chickling, vetch, cowpea, field pea, bengal gram, green gram, horse
gram, kidney bean, lentil, pigeon pea, etc.
These are the crops which are grown for the production of oil. They are: black mustard,
brown sarson, castor, coconut, groundnut, yellow sarson, Indian mustard, Indian rape, linseed,
niger, rocket salad, safflower, sesame, soyabean, sunflower, white mustard. etc.
E. Fibre crops
These are the crop whose fibre are used for cloth making, gunny bags, ropes etc. They
are: cotton, brown hemp, deccan hemp, jute, rozelle, sunnhemp, sisal hemp, etc.
F. Sugar and starch crops
These are the crops from which sugar and starch are made. They are: sugarcane,
G. Fodder crops
These are the crops which are used as fodder for animals. These are also used for
conserving soil and green manuring. They are: bermuda grass, blue panic, bur clover, carpet
legume, elephant grass, egyptian clover, guinea grass, hubam clover, Indian clover, johnson
grass, kudzu vine, lucerne, paragrass, persian clover, rbodes grass, soyabean, star grass,
sudan grass, sunflower, teosinte, tropical kudzu, velvet bean, canary grass, etc.
H. Vegetable Crops
These are the crops which are important for the supply of different nutrients in human
diet. They are: ash gourd, beet root, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, brinjal, broad bean, cabbage,
cauliflower, carrot, cluster bean, cowpea, cucumber, double bean, drumstick, elephant ear,
elephant foot, french bean, pea, knolkbol, Indian bean, lady's finger, lettuce, lima bean, little
gourd, musk melon, onion, potato, pumpkin, radish, red pumpkin, ridge gourd, snake gourd,
spinach, sword bean, sweet potato, tomato, turnip, velvet bean, water melon, yam, etc.
I. Fruit crops
These crops also play an important role in human diet by supplying vitamins and
nutrients. They are: apple, apricot, avocado, banana, bullock's heart, cape gooseberry, cashew,
citrus, custard apple, date palm, fig, grape fruit, grape vine, guava, jack fruit, jujube, lemon,
litchi, loquat, mango, mangosteen, papaya, peach, pear, mulberry, pineapple, plus,
pomegranate, raspberry, sapota, orange, mandarin, strawberry, sweet lime, sweet orange, etc.
J. Condiments and spices
These are the crops which are used as masala or spices in cooking. They are: annise,
aromatic cardamom, betel vine, black mustard, black pepper, cardamom, chili, coriander, cumin,
pennels, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, Indian mustard, large cardamon, long pepper, mint, nutmeg,
turmeric, white mustard, etc.
K. Drug, Dyes and narcotics
These are the crops whose products are used in various ways, i.e. drugs, dyes and
narcotics. They are: Indian hemp, indigo, poppy, pyrethrum, safflower, tobacco, blonde psyllium,
Indian privet, etc.
L. Plantation crops
These are the crops which are grown on large unit area of agricultural land to get
maximum output. They are: areca palm, cinchona, coconut, coffee, cacao, para rubber, tea, etc.