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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/169

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AGRICULTURE AND CROPS

The South-Western Plains.— This zone contains nine districts. With the exception of the three on the north border of the zone they have a rainfall of from 5 to 10 inches. Of these six arid districts, only one, Montgomery, has any dry cultivation worth mentioning. In the zone as a whole three-fourths of the cultivation is protected by canals or wells, or by both. In the lowlands near the great rivers cultivation depends on the floods brought to the land direct or through small canals which carry water to parts which the natural overflow would not reach. In the uplands vast areas formerly untouched by the plough have been brought under tillage by the help of perennial canals, and the process of reclamation is still going on. The Thai is a large sandy desert which becomes more and more worthless for cultivation as one proceeds southwards. In the north the people have found out of late years that this unpromising sand can not only yield poor kharif crops, but is worth sowing with gram in the spring harvest. The expense is small, and a lucky season means large profits. In Dera Ghazi Khan a large area of "pat" below the hills is dependent for cultivation on torrents. The favourite crop in the embanked fields into which the water is diverted is jowdr.

The South-Eastern Plains.— In the south-eastern Panjab except in Hissar and the native territory on the border of Rajputana, the rainfall is from 20 to 30 inches. In Hissar it amounts to some 15 inches. These are averages; the variations in total amount and distribution over the months of the year are very great. In good seasons the area under dry crops is very large, but the fluctuations in the sown acreage are extraordinary, and the matured is often far below the sown area. The great crops are gram and mixtures of wheat or barley with gram in the spring, and bdjra in the autumn, harvest. Well cultivation is not of much importance