Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Haryana. About 70% of the population is depended upon agriculture for their livelihood. Haryana is self-sufficient in food grains production and one of the top contributors of food grains to the Central pool. It contributes 40 to 45 lakh tonnes of food grains to the Central pool which is the second largest. The world famous Basmati rice produced in Haryana finds an easy market abroad. The total food grain production in the year 2001-2002 was 139.27 lakh tonnes. The production of oil seeds for the year 2001-2002 was 6.70 lakh tons. At present about 37.50 lakh hectares is covered under cereal crops like wheat, rice, maize and bajra yielding a total cereal production of 109,60,000 tons. The total number of farm tractors is about 1,96,500.
The state of Haryana has a geographical area of 44.20 lakh hectare. About 86% of the geographical area is cultivable, of which 96% has already been brought under plough. Therefore, there is hardly any scope for bringing additional area under cultivation, except for reclamation of degraded lands affected by water logging, salinity and alkalinity. About 75% of the cultivated area in the state is irrigated, wherein the contribution of tube wells / pumping sets is about 50%. The cropping intensity in the state is nearly 170%.
Haryana has Asia's biggest agricultural University known as Chaudhary Charan Singh Agricultural University (HAU) at Hissar, which has already made a significant contribution in ushering 'Green Revolution'. Haryana together with Punjab is called the 'Grain Bowl' of India. Electricity is supplied on subsidized rates to the agriculture sector. There is a network of canals and an effective lift irrigation system for the arid areas of the state. As a result of the various incentives being provided to the farmers, floriculture and horticulture are fast picking up. An ultra-modern fruit and vegetable market and food processing complex of international standard is being developed at Rai near Delhi to provide marketing and food processing facilities to the farmers and entrepreneurs of the northern region. The main crops of Haryana are Wheat, Rice, Sugarcane, Cotton, Oilseeds, Gram, Barley, Corn, Millet etc. There are two main types of crops in Haryana: Rabi and Kharif.
The major Kharif crops of Haryana are rice, jowar, bajra, maize, cotton, jute, sugarcane, sesame and groundnut. For these crops the ground is prepared in April and May and the seeds are sown at the commencement of rains in June. The crops are ready for harvesting by the beginning of November. The major Rabi crops are wheat, tobacco, gram, linseed, rapeseed and mustard. The ground is prepared by the end of October or the beginning of November and the crops are harvested by March.
The production of some of the main crops and the area under cultivation is as under:
Wheat: 75,54,000 tonnes - 20,64,000 hectares
Rice: 25,45,000 tonnes - 9,10,000 hectares
Cotton: 11,29,000 tonnes - 6,38,000 hectares
Bajra: 6,73,000 tonnes - 5,84,000 hectares
Oil Seeds: 5,80,000 hectares
Gram: 3,10,000 tonnes - 3,55,000 hectares
Dairy farming forms an essential part of Haryana's rural economy. It has been known as the 'milk pail' of India. Dairy products like Milk, Ghee, Butter, Dahi and Paneer are a major part of the diet of Haryana's people. The total milk production in the state is now approaching 33 lakh metric tonnes. Animal husbandry has been taken up as an integral component of diversified agriculture. Haryana has a livestock population of 98.97 lakh. To give farmers good price for their dairy products and to help in marketing, a vast network of of milk producers societies has been set up in the state. About 1500 milk societies are now working. Six milk plants set up in the cooperative sector are now working in Jind, Bhiwani, Ambala, Rohtak, Hissar and Ballabhgarh. One more is being set up in Sirsa.
Asia's best dairy research institute called the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) has been set up in Karnal and it has been now upgraded to the status of 'deemed university'. Embryo transfer technology is being introduced to further improve the quality of livestock as by adopting this technique, a superior female can produce 12 off-springs through multiple ovulation and embryo transfer. The state is regularly supplying eggs, layer-chicks and broilers to the neighboring states of Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. However, it also has its markets in the far away states of Assam and Bihar.
Haryana is the home of the word famous 'Murrah' buffaloes. Buffaloes constitute 45 % of the total livestock population and they contribute 80.5 % of the total milk production. About one lakh 'Murrah' buffaloes are exported every year to other states and abroad. Haryana supplies the bulls of Murrah breed to all parts of India to improve the breed of buffalo stock. The NDRI, Karnal and Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes. Hissar are constantly developing the breed of 'Haryana' cow and 'Murrah' buffaloes. The break up of milk production in the state is as under:
Buffalo Milk: 32,19,000 tonnes
Cow Milk: 7,61,000 tonnes
Goat Milk: 82,000 tonnes
Haryana has 7 Intensive cattle development projects, 620 Veterinary hospitals, 864 Stockman centers, 749 dispensaries, 60 Regional artificial insemination centers and 10 Semen banks.
Horticulture and vegetable farming are now being encouraged in Haryana. At present about 13,000 hectares of orchards of fruits like oranges, malta, kinnoo, mausami, ber (Indian Jujube) and mangoes are being cultivated.
Irrigation canals form the lifeline of agriculture in Haryana. The main irrigation canal of Haryana is the Western Yamuna Canal. It takes off at Tajewala from the river Yamuna. This canal irrigates the districts of Kurukshetra, Karnal, Jind, Sonipat and Rohtak. Another, Gurgaon canal takes off at Okhla, near Delhi from the river Yamuna and is used to irrigate parts of Gurgaon and Faridabad districts. The districts of Bhiwani and Mahendergarh are fed by the Jui canal, Bhiwani canal and the Jawahar Lal Nehru canal. The Bhakra canal which takes off at Nangal from the river Sutluj irrigates the districts of Hissar and Sirsa. The total area irrigated by canal water is 21.40 lakh hectares.
Irrigation facilities in the state have been augmented by providing subsidies on minor irrigation works. The number of tube wells and pumping sets has increased to 5.97 lakh as compared to 27,957 during 1966-67. For judicious use of water, sprinkler irrigation system has been encouraged and now 79,969 sprinkler irrigation sets are functioning in rain fed area of the state.