Rice cropping pattern in India vary widely from region to region and to a lesser extent from one year to another year depending on a wide range of soil and climatic conditions.
Some of the rice based cropping patterns being followed in the country are as follows :
- Rice-Rice-Cereals (other than rice)
- Rice-Fish farming system
This is most suitable for areas having high rainfall and assured irrigation facilities in summer months, particularly, in soils which have high water holding capacity and low rate of infiltration. In some canal irrigated areas of Tamil Nadu, a cropping pattern of 300% intensity is followed. In such areas three crops of rice are grown in a year.
Rice-Rice-Cereals (other than rice)
This cropping pattern is being followed in the areas where the water is not adequate for taking rice crop in summer. The alternate cereal crops to rice being grown are Ragi, Maize and Jowar.
In the areas where, there is a water scarcity to take up cereal crops other than rice in summer, the short duration pulse crops are being raised.
This cropping pattern is being followed by the farmers of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. After harvesting of rice crop, groundnut is grown in summer.
This crop rotation has become dominant cropping pattern in the Northern parts of the country.
In this sequence of cropping pattern, after harvesting of wheat green gram and cowpea as fodder are grown in the alluvial soil belt of Northern states. Besides, cowpea is grown in red and yellow soils of Orissa and black gram is grown in the black soils.
Rice-wheat cropping pattern is the most common and largest one. The Rice-wheat cropping pattern is being practiced in the Indo-Gangetic plains of India since long time.
Rice-Fish farming system
The field with sufficient water retaining capacity for a long period and free from heavy flooding are suitable for rice-fish farming system. This system is being followed by the small and marginal poor farmers in rain fed lowland rice areas.