EFFICIENT CROPPING ZONES
The present concept of cropping pattern defines it as the proportion of area under various crops at a particular time in a given area. But this concept has got some limitations.
• The unit of classification is political and administrative. The scientific and natural features such as soil and climate did not figure with greater emphasis.
• The cropping pattern was determined by the spread of crop expressed as percentage of the total area of important crops. It is not necessary that spread and cropping efficiency will go together.
• Though the cropping pattern has been evolved after centuries of experience, in national perspective it is not necessarily the most efficient use of land and other resources.
• No cropping pattern can hold good for all times. It has to change with the improvement in technology and economic factors e.g., sugarcane and cotton average shrinks when the prices are more favourable for grain crops and vice-versa. Therefore, a new concept has been evolved which refers to both time and space sequence of crops. It includes the identification of the most efficient crops of the region, which is considered a homogeneous soil and climatic belt, the rotation in which the crop best fits in, and the intensity of cropping. So the cropping pattern has been scientifically defined as yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops or crops and fallow in a given area (Palaniappan, 1985). According to the new concept, the most efficient crops will be identified in a homogeneous region and put in the yearly sequence (rotation) where they fit best and the space (area) of those crops, which are inefficient, will be reduced and area of efficient crops will be increased.
This way, by knowing the temporal and spatial arrangement of crops in a region, we can identify the cropping pattern followed in the region. For the purpose of planning the cropping pattern, it is necessary to divide the country into homogeneous regions on some well-defined basis. There can be a number of physical, climatological and agronomic criteria, e.g., climatic index and soil groups, as both are fixed entities and can be better criteria than the political units. It is necessary to know whether crops grown are most suitable for the region; an analysis of productivity and efficiency of various crops in different regions becomes imperative.
This could be done with the help of relative yield index (RYI) and relative spread index (RSI) of the crop.
Efficient Crop Zone:
It is the zone/area where the productivity of a crop is higher and also stable due to prevalence of optimum condition for crop growth and yield.
1. Rice zone: About 49% of the area is under rainfed and 51% under irrigated. In India, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are the potential zone for irrigated/low land rice. North-eastern part of the country (Assam, West Bengal, Tiripura, Meghalaya, Orissa and Bihar is the potential area for upland/rainfed rice. Semi dry rice is commonly cultivated in Chengelput and Ramanad districts.
2. Wheat zone: Efficient wheat zones are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Higher production of wheat is from Uttar Pradesh, but Punjab recorded the highest average productivity. Nearly 85% of the wheat is grown under irrigated condition and the remaining 15% under rainfed condition.
3. Sorghum zone: Nearly 94% of sorghum is grown under rainfed condition. In India, potential zone for rainfed sorghum are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Irrigated sorghum is raised to lesser extent in southern part of India.
4. Maize zone: In India, 85% of area is under rainfed. Efficient zones are Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The average productivity is high in Karnataka. Area under maize is in increasing trend in Western zone of Tamil Nadu (Coimbatore and Erode), North Western zone and Southern zone. In Tamil Nadu, it is mainly grown as irrigated crop during December–January, and July–August months for higher yield. During September–October, it is grown as rainfed crop.
5. Bajra zone: More than 95% of the area is under rainfed condition. It is cultivated in drought prone low rainfall areas and in shallow soils. The potential area is North-western part of India (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Part of Uttar Pradesh). Rajasthan is the potential area for bajra. In Tamil Nadu, it is largely grown in North-eastern, Western and Southern zones.
6. Finger millet (ragi): It is an important coarse cereal in Karnataka. It is extensively grown in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and in hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu, it is largely grown as rainfed crop in Dharmapuri District. It is also grown as irrigated crop in Villupuram, Chengelput, Coimbatore and Erode districts.
7. Pulse zone: India is the largest producer and consumer of pulses in the world and accounts 33% of world area and 22% of world production. Nearly 90% of pulses are grown under rainfed condition. In India, potential production of pulses is from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Karnataka. In Tamil Nadu, Cauvery delta zone is the efficient area for the production of rice fallow pulses viz., green gram and black gram. The other areas/zone are North-western zone, Western and Southern zones.
Chickpea: Efficient zones are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu, it is cultivated in Western zone.
Red gram (pigeon pea): Efficient zones are Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu, it is cultivated in Southern zone, Western zone and North-western zone.
Green gram: Efficient areas are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu, it is cultivated in Cauvery Delta zone, Southern zone and Western zone.
Black gram: Efficient zones are in India are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa. In Tamil Nadu, it is cultivated in Cauvery Delta zone and Southern zone.
Horse gram: Efficient zones are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In Tamil Nadu, it is cultivated in North-western zone and Western zone.
8. Forage crops: Efficient areas are Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat. In Tamil Nadu, it is largely cultivated in North-western and Southern zones.
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