Classification Of Crops According to Important Uses
Though plants are useful in many ways only certain uses are given below.
(a) Catch crops/contingent crop: Catch crops/contingent crops are those crops cultivated to catch the forth coming season. It replaces the main crop that has failed due to biotic or climatic or management hazards. Generally, they are of very short duration, quick growing, harvestable or usable at any time of their field duration and adaptable to the season, soil and management practices. They provide feed, check weed growth, conserve soil, utilized added fertilizer and moisture. e.g., green gram, black gram, cowpea, onion, coriander and bajra.
(b) Restorative crop: Restorative crops are those crops, which provide a good yield along with enrichment or restoration of soil fertility or amelioration of the soils. They fix atmospheric nitrogen in root nodules, shed their leaves during ripening and thus restore soil conditions. e.g., legumes.
(c) Exhaustive crop: Exhaustive crops are those crop plants, which on growing leave the field exhausted because of a more aggressive nature. e.g., gingelly, brinjal, linseed, sunflower etc.
(d) Paira crop/residual crop: Paira crop/residual crops are those crop plants which are sown a few days or weeks before the harvest of the standing mature crops to utilize the residual moisture, without preparatory tillage. The standing crop and the later sown (paira) crop become simultaneous (forming a pair) for a short period. For e.g., rice fallow pulses black gram, lathyrus, lentil etc. Paira crops in succession may constitute relay cropping.
(e) Smother crop: Smother crops are those crop plants which are able to smother or suppress the weed growth by providing suffocation (curtailing movement of air) and obscuration (of the incidental radiation) through their dense foliage developed due to quick growing ability with heavy tillering or branching, planophyllic or procumbent or trailing habits. e.g., barley, mustard, cowpea, etc.
(f) Cover crop: Cover crops are those crop plants, which are able to protect the soil surface from erosion (wind, water or both) through their ground covering foliage and or root mats. e.g., groundnut, black gram, marvel grass, sweet potato.
(g) Nurse crops: A companion crop, which nourishes the main crop by way of nitrogen fixation and or adding the organic matter into the soil. e.g., cowpea intercropped with cereals, glyricidia, tephrosia in tea.
(h) Guard/barrier crop: Guard/barrier crops are those crop plants, which help to protect another crop from trespassing or restrict the speed of wind and thus prevent crop damage. Main crop in the centre surrounded by hardy or thorny crop. e.g., mesta around sugarcane; sorghum around cotton; safflower around gram.
(i) Trap crop: Trap crops are those crop plants grown to trap soil borne harmful parasitic weeds. For e.g., orabanche and striga are trapped by solanaceous and sorghum crops respectively. Nematodes are trapped by solanaceous crops (On uprooting crop plants, nematodes are removed from the soil). Castor in cotton, groundnut act as crop for army worm pest.
(j) Augmenting crop: Augmenting crops are those sub crops sown to supplement the yield of the main crop. e.g., Mustard or cabbage with berseem to augment the forage yield of berseem.
(k) Alley crop: Alley crops are those arable crops, which 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 generally of non-trailing with shade tolerance capacity. For e.g., growing pulses in between the rows of casuarina.
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