Climate and Soil Requirements for Successful Kharif Crop Cultivation


Kharif, the monsoon crop, is the crop most widely grown in India. They are sown with the onset of monsoons, which approach from the southwest direction, and are harvested much before the winter season sets in. Success in growing crops is largely a function of prevailing atmospheric conditions and suitability towards the soil. Following the discussion will be very important climate and soil requirements of crops and outlook in regional diversity.

Introduction to Kharif Crops

Generally, Kharif crops include that entire group of crops grown after the first shower of rains in the Indian season, usually sown in the months from June to September. Such crops are generally rice, maize, millets, pulses, cotton, oilseeds, etc.

This southwest monsoon is the premier source of water that is required for the satisfactory growth of the said crops for that season over the Indian subcontinent.

Climate Requirements

Broadly, vital points of the Kharif season are subjected to climatic conditions in relation to the success of crop cultivation. Key climate requirements for the Kharif crop:

a. Rainfall:

Kharif crops depend greatly on moisture in most of its stages of growth; therefore, they need sufficient and well-distributed rainfall. In fact, the south-west monsoon, from which kharif cultivation gets its rainfall, comes from the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

b. Temperature:

– They normally require warm temperatures for germination and growth. Though it tolerates a hot climate and can grow in temperatures rising to summer peaks of even 38-40°C, the most ideal temperature range usually varies with different crops but most thrive at temperatures of between 25°C to 35°C.

c. Sunlight:

• Sunlight is one of the major needs in photosynthesis. The process requires plants to change light energy into chemical energy to facilitate plant growth. Normally, kharif crops need plenty of sunlight for full growth and development under otherwise favorable growing conditions.

d. Humidity:

Higher levels of humidity during the Kharif season help in maintaining the soil moisture content conducive to good growth of the crop. Excessive humidity brings about diseases and even fungal infections to certain crops.

Soil Requirements

The type and quality of soil, along with the climatic condition, are to remain major prerequisites for successful cultivation of kharif crops. Soils with major requirements for Kharif crops are:

a. Well-Drained Soil:

Generally, kharif crops like well-drained soils in which water can percolate easily to the ground. Waterlogged soils can lead to root rot and other water-related diseases.

b. Loamy or Sandy Loam Soil:

Loamy soils are a mixture of sand, silt, and clay, hence most suited for any Kharif crop. It has good drainage characteristics, in the sense of allowing excess water to drain, at the same time withstanding water-holding capacity and aeration. Sandy loam soils: loamy soils with a little more sand content in them, therefore pretty good for crops like maize and pulses.

c. pH Level:

Soil pH ranges determine the availability of a host of nutrients to the plant. Most Kharif crops are adapted to a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Soil testing should be encouraged to know the status level of pH and other nutrients in the soil.

d. Fertility:

It is the major source of nutrient supply for essential nutrients of Kharif crops. Organic matter can be added to the soil structure, holding capacity of water in soils, and retaining nutrients in soils. In most cases, farmers supplement soils with organic manures or fertilizers that improve soil fertility.

Crop Outlook for Different Regions

The climate and soil suitability is not similar all over India; that paves the way to one growing a specific crop in a definite region of the country. Now, we shall explore the crop outlook of some major regions.

a. North India:

• Rice is a dominant crop in states such as Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, due to the availability of fertile alluvial soils and good irrigation facilities. Maize, pulses, and cotton are also grown in this region.

b. South India:

• Always regarded as regions with rice, pulses, millet, and oilseed cultivation were Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. The rainfall here is good during the southwest monsoon, as it supports the cultivation of this crop.

c. East India:

West Bengal, Odisha, and Bihar are the major areas of rice cultivation, where paddy is sown to a larger extent during the Kharif season. These states are also producing pulses, oilseeds, and jute.

d. West India:

States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan have produced a variety of Kharif crops. Along with the cultivation of millets, pulses, and oilseeds, cotton is a major crop that is cultivated in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Cultivation Practices for Kharif Crops

The successful cultivation of Kharif crops depends on the adoption of the best practices pertaining to the crop and the region. Some of the common practices are followed below:

a. Timely Sowing: Kharif crops should be sown early enough to coincide with the setting in of the monsoon, which would ensure proper germination and growth. Sowing at a delayed period can cause a loss of yield.

b. Proper Irrigation: In some areas where rainfall is not so regular, the farmer will have to irrigate Kharif crops so that there is even soil moisture.

c. Weed Control: The weeds, the same as pests, compete with the crop plant for nutrients, water, and sunlight. The only control to prevent losses is with timely use of manual or mechanical methods.

d. Monitoring Crop Health : The farmer himself can monitor Kharif crop health by the use of modern technology like satellite imaging, drones, or even mobile phone applications. This will enable timely intervention on the part of the farmer since pest and disease attacks can be detected at the early stages.


The growing of the Kharif crop succeeds well under favorable climatic conditions and suitable types of soils. The proper development of kharif crops needs adequate moisture, higher temperature, well-drained soils, and proper fertility of the soil for growth. Thus, understanding specific requirements with appropriate cultivation practices would assure maximum yields and secure food for the nation from Kharif crops. Considering that India over-depends on Kharif crop cultivation and with the advancement of technology towards the tracking of crop health using several other new-age gadgets, it indeed has a very major role to play in the years to come. With this, the farmers will be able to minimize the risk attached to this, come up with an optimum mechanism of input, and carry forward with the sustainable and profitable Kharif crop cultivation.

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