Agriculture Corner

Special Purpose Crops in Agriculture


In agriculture field, specifically in agronomy, there are various crops that are grown with a special purpose under certain circumstances. As these crops have to serve a special purpose, so they are termed as special purpose crops. These special purpose crops crops have great importance in agriculture not only because they provide food for consumption to both humans and livestock, but also they help farmers to safeguard their economic benefits.

Generally, 7 crops are included in special purpose crops classification. These are;

  1. Green Manure Crops
  2. Silage Crops
  3. Catch Crops
  4. Soilage Crops or Green Chop Crops
  5. Relay Crops
  6. Companion Crops
  7. Cover Crops

Green Manure Crops

These kinds of crops are grown to increase the fertility of soil. These crops are grown and then mix in the soil during ploughing. Sometime these are grown, cut and left in the ground for an prolonged period prior to applying tillage operations.


Brassica, Vetch, Clover, Alfalfa.

Silage Crops

These are the crops grown for livestock and dairy consumption. The crops are grown, cut and preserved as silage. They are cut in succulent condition and through partial fermentation, silage is made. The advantage is continuous supply of fodder to animals during dry periods or when green fodder is not available.


Grasses, Miaze, Oat.

Catch Crops

These are also called as critical crops as they are grown to fill in the space in case when main crop failed due to any reason or sowing of major crop is delayed for some reason. They are grown to cover economic less to some extent.


Sorghum and Maize for Fodder

Soilage Crops or Green Chop Crops

These are green fodder crops for the livestock and dairy animals. The Soilage crops are grown and harvested in green form and still succulent. These are fed directly to the animals in the farm.



Relay Crops

It is a crop that is planted as a second crop in the agriculture fields, however after the first crop has achieved its reproductive growth but is not ready to harvest.


The sowing of Sugarcane in Sugar Beet is an example of relay cropping.

Companion Crops

Companion crops are those crops in agriculture that are grown together. Like green legumes is grown mix with grasses. The objective is to increase the forage production as well as its quality. As these are grown together, so they are termed as companion crops.


Maize – Red Beans (Lobia) and Barley-Oat

Cover Crops

These crops are grown with the objective to keep the soil safe from erosion. these are planted to cover the ground so that water and wind erosion don’t harm the soil plus it also safeguard nutrient loss by leaching. These are mostly spreading in nature plants i.e. the plant grown and cover large area of ground.


Mash, Mong Bean, Grasses.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, February 27). Special Purpose Crops in Agriculture[Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

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