What are Cropping Patterns?

Physical, social, and economic considerations all influence a farmer's crop production decision. They may plant a variety of crops on their farms and rotate a specific crop combination throughout time.

Farmers choose crops for cultivation based on a variety of criteria including physical, social, and economic considerations. They may plant a variety of crops on their farms and rotate a specific crop combination throughout time. However, it is worth noting that the best farming techniques always include certain cropping patterns and cropping systems to increase productivity and maintain soil fertility.

Cropping Pattern

A cropping pattern refers to the proportion of land under cultivation of various crops at different points of your time. This indicates the time and arrangement of crops during a particular acreage. Changing cropping pattern would cause:

  • Change within the proportion of land under different crops.

  • Change in space sequence and time of crops.

The cropping pattern in India is mostly determined by the average rainfall, temperature, climate, technology, and the type of soil used for agriculture. The different patterns of cropping are practised to obtain the maximum yield.

A cropping pattern that evolves across time and space, is a dynamic idea. It can be defined as the percentage of land covered by diverse crops at any given period. In other terms, it is a yearly pattern of sowing and fallowing on a certain region. Cropping patterns in India are influenced by rainfall, climate, temperature, soil type, and technology.

Cropping Patterns in India can be depicted by using the primary crops as the base crop and all other possible alternative crops as alternative crops. It is critical to recognise crops and their agro-climatic conditions to categorise them. Wheat, barley, and oats, for example, are grouped.

The soil types and climatic characteristics that govern the entire agro-ecological setting for sustenance and the acceptability of a crop or set of crops for production dictate Indian agriculture. In India, there are three distinct agricultural seasons: Kharif, Rabi, and Zaid. The Southwest Monsoon kicked off the Kharif season, allowing for the production of tropical crops such as rice, cotton, jute, jowar, bajra, and tur. The Rabi season begins in October-November with the arrival of winter and concludes in March-April. Zaid is a short-term summer farming season that begins after Rabi crops have been harvested.

Types of Cropping Pattern

The major cropping pattern types include the following:

1. Monocropping: Growing one agricultural species at a time in agricultural land is the meaning of monocropping. Monocropping can reduce the fertility of the soil and destroy its structure of the soil. Chemical fertilizers are required to upgrade production. This practice allows the spread of pests and diseases. Monocropping and monoculture convey the same meaning.

2. Mixed Cropping: When two or more crops are grown on an equivalent land simultaneously, it's referred to as mixed cropping. For example, growing wheat and gram on an equivalent land at an equivalent time is mixed cropping. The practice of this method helps to minimize the risk of the failure of one of the crops and provides insurance against the crop failure due to abnormal weather conditions. The crops that are grown together should have a different maturation time and different water requirements. One tall and one dwarf crop should be grown together. The nutrients required by one crop should be but those required by the opposite. One of the crops should have deep roots and the other one should be shallow. Satisfying all these criteria can lead to a successful mixed cropping pattern.

Advantages of Mixed Cropping

  • The crop yield increases.

  • The pest infestation is minimized.

  • Reduction in the risk of crop failure.

  • The soil is utilized properly.

  • More than one sort of crop is often harvested at an equivalent time.

3. Intercropping: Intercropping is the practice of growing quite one crop on an equivalent field at an equivalent time during a definite row pattern. After one row of the most crop, three rows of intercrops are often grown. This increases productivity per unit area.

Intercropping can be of Different Types

  • Row Intercropping: When the crops are arranged in alternate rows it is called row intercropping. It helps in the maximum utilization of the available land space and the suppression of weeds during the early stages of the main crop.

  • Strip Intercropping: When two or more crops are grown in wide strips so that the two crops are often managed separately, it's referred to as farming. However, the crops are close enough to interact.

  • Relay Intercropping: It is a type of intercropping, in which a second crop is cultivated only when the already existing crop has flowered but not been harvested.

For example Rice-Cauliflower-Onion-Summer gourds.

Advantages of Intercropping

  • The fertility of the soil is maintained.

  • The spread of diseases and pests is controlled.

  • Optimum utilization of resources.

  • The time and the land utilized for growing more than one crop are saved.

  • Maximum utilization of nutrients present in the soil.

  • Maize and soybean, bajra, and lobea are a number of the crops grown as intercrops.

Crop Rotation

In this pattern, different crops are grown on equivalent land in pre-planned succession. The crops are classified based on the time they are rotated one-year rotation, two-year rotation, and three-year rotation, depending upon their duration. Legumes are included within the crop rotation program to extend soil fertility. The crops which require a high fertility level are often grown after the legumes. The crops which require low inputs are often grown after the crops that need high inputs.

How are the Crops selected for Rotation?

  • While selecting the crops for rotation, the subsequent criteria should be adopted:

  • Enough moisture should be available.

  • Availability of fertilizers, manpower, and machine power.

  • Marketing and processing facilities.

  • Availability of nutrients in the soil.

  • The crop duration- short or long.

Advantages of Crop Rotation

  • The soil fertility is maintained for a protracted period.

  • The growth of weeds and pests is prevented.

  • A lot of chemical fertilizers are not required.

  • The physical and chemical nature of the soil remains unchanged.

Factors Affecting Different Cropping Patterns

The factors that affect the different types of cropping patterns are:

  • The cropping patterns help to determine the level of agricultural production. This reflects the agricultural economy of any region.

  • The cropping patterns are suffering from changes in agrarian policy, availability of agricultural inputs, improvement in technology.

  • Hence the cropping patterns are important in improving the fertility of the soil, by increasing the yield of the crops. It ensures crop protection and the availability of nutrients to the crops.


Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of a country. To have a good economy following the different cropping patterns is important, and the cultivation is affected by various factors. Thus we can conclude that economic factors play a major role in the determination of the cropping pattern in Indian agriculture. Even though the Indian farmers are poverty-stricken, the cropping system can be changed by their motivation.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Cropping Patterns

1. What is the Meaning of the Cropping Pattern?

Cropping pattern meaning is as follows, the portion of land which is under cultivation at different intervals of time. The cropping pattern in India is mostly determined by certain parameters such as average rainfall, temperature, climate, technology, and the type of soil used for agriculture. The different patterns of cropping are practised to obtain the maximum yield.

2. Define Monocropping or Monocrop Agriculture. What are the Effects of Monocropping?

The monocropping definition is as follows, growing of one species at a time in the agricultural land.

The Advantages Include:

  • It allows the specialized production of crops.

  • It helps to promote technological advances that take place in the agricultural field.

  • It increases the efficiency of soil.

  • It is very easy to manage.

The Disadvantages of the Monocropping System Include:

  • It increases the problem of pests.

  • It degrades the soil.

  • It pollutes the environment by the higher utilization of chemicals and pesticides.

  • It affects biodiversity.

3. What are the factors affecting crop rotation and what is the importance of crop rotation?

Crop rotation should cycle soil-improving crops over the entire farm in a regular sequence as allowed by soil, climatic, and economic conditions. Cropping intensity on dryland is typically only 100%. In a few areas on partial lands, two crops are periodically planted in a favourable season (monoculture is usual in dryland agriculture). Enhancing cropping intensity is one strategy for increasing crop productivity. Sequence and double cropping increase cropping intensity, but intercropping may also be an effective technique for improving productivity per unit area.

Crop rotation planning factors to consider include:

1. Crop type and duration on the soil.

On the farm, there are two types of livestock.

3. Infestation with pests and diseases

4. Agricultural produce prices and availability

5. The labour cost.

Crop rotation has a lot of benefits.

1. Crop rotation improves and maintains soil fertility in several ways.

2. Prevent the accumulation of pests, weeds, and soil diseases.

3. Control of soil erosion.

4. Maintains a balanced, year-round work schedule.

5. Avoid or reduce peak periods (requirements of irrigation water)

6. Maintain a consistent level of moisture from one season to the next.

4. What are the different types of cropping?

Different types of cropping are-

Mixed Cropping

Mixed cropping occurs when two or more crops are cultivated on the same piece of land at the same time. Mixed cropping, for example, is when wheat and gram are grown on the same piece of land at the same time. This approach reduces the danger of one of the crops failing and protects against crop failure due to extreme weather.


Intercropping is the practice of planting many crops in a specified row arrangement on the same land at the same time. Three rows of intercrops can be planted after one row of the main crop. This boosts production per square foot.

5. What are the advantages of mixed cropping and intercropping?

The advantages of mixed cropping are-

  • Crop yields are increasing.

  • The pest invasion is kept to a minimum.

  • Reduced likelihood of crop failure.

  • The dirt is adequately utilised.

  • At the same time, more than one type of crop can be harvested.

The advantages of intercropping are-

  • The soil's fertility is maintained.

  • Diseases and pests are kept under control.

  • Optimal resource usage.

  • Growing more than one crop saves both space and time.

  • The maximum amount of nutrients in the soil is used.

  • Intercropping crops include maize and soybean, as well as bajra and lobea.

6. What is crop rotation? How are crops selected for rotation?

Different crops are cultivated in the same area in a pre-planned succession in this arrangement. Depending on their duration, the crops are categorised as one-year rotation, two-year rotation, or three-year rotation.

To improve soil fertility, legumes are used in the crop rotation scheme. After the legumes, crops that require a high degree of fertility (wheat) can be planted. Those that require modest inputs can be planted after crops that demand a lot of them.

The following criteria should be used when choosing crops for rotation:

  • A sufficient amount of moisture should be provided.

  • Fertilizers, manpower, and machine power are all available.

  • Facilities for marketing and processing

  • Nutrient availability in the soil.

  • The length of the crop (short or long).

7. What is the importance of crop rotation?

Crop rotation helps to keep soil structure and nutrient levels in check, as well as keep soil-borne pests out of the garden.

Because the same nutrients are used year after year when a single crop is planted in the same spot, the soil structure slowly deteriorates. After a few years, the soil becomes unhealthy, as those nutrients are depleted. Insect pests that feed on a single crop and spend their larval stage in the soil, on the other hand, become more prolific as long as their food source is available. As the population of these pests grows, it becomes more difficult to control them.

Learn through videos