Uttar Pradesh is a northern State and located between 23°52'N and 31°28'N latitudes and 77°3' and 84°39'E longitudes. Garlanded by the Ganga and Yamuna, the two auspicious rivers of Indian mythology, Uttar Pradesh is surrounded by Bihar in the East, Madhya Pradesh in the South, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana in the west and Uttaranchal in the north and Nepal touch the northern borders of Uttar Pradesh. For administrative purposes it is divided into 19 divisions. There are 123950 villages and 753 cities spread across 83 districts. The population of Uttar Pradesh in 2001 was 166052859 comprising of 87466301 males and 78586558 females. It formed 16.16% of India’s population. Population density in the State was 689/km2.
The State of Uttar Pradesh falls under three agro-climatic zones viz. Agro Climatic Zone–IV: Middle Gangetic Plains region Agro Climatic Zone–V: Upper Gangetic Plains region and Agro Climatic Zone–VIII: Central Plateau and Hills region.
The Agro-climatic zone IV is further divided into three sub-zone
(i) North Eastern Plains Zone of Uttar Pradesh- This sub-zone covers the districts of Baharaich, Gonda, Balrampur, Basti, Gorakhpur, Sidharth Nagar, Maharajgunj, Kushinagar and Deoria. Rainfall is quite high at about 1,210 mm, the climate is moist sub-humid to dry sub-humid. 73% of the land area is cultivated and about half of the cultivated land is irrigated. Tube wells are the major source of irrigation.
(ii) Eastern Plain Zone of Uttar Pradesh- Azamgarh, Mau, Balia, Faizabad, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Sant Ravidas Nagar and Varanasi districts fall under this sub zone. Rainfall is adequate with a normal of 1,025 mm. The climate is dry sub-humid to moist sub-humid. Over 70% of the land is cultivated and more than 80% of the cultivated area is irrigated.
(iii) Vindhyan Zone of Uttar Pradesh - Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts of Uttar Pradesh are the Vindhyan sub-zone of the Middle Gangetic Plain zone. Rainfall is adequate at about 1,134 mm; the climate is similar to the other parts of the eastern plains of Uttar Pradesh. However, the region has a very high forest cover of about 40% of the land. Less than a third of this land is cultivated and only a third of this is irrigated.
The Agro-climatic zone- V is among the larger and very thickly populated agro-climatic zones. It covers 32 districts of Uttar Pradesh. A large part of the geographical area is cultivated and is well irrigated. This is the most developed region of the State of Uttar Pradesh. Over 70% of the area is sown and nearly 65% of this is irrigated. The zone is characterized by semi-arid and sub-humid conditions. The mean Annual rainfall varies between 700 and 1,000 mm. There are three sub-zones under this agro-climatic zone.
(i) Central Plains - Allahabad, Fatehpur, Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, Rae- Bareili, Unnao, Lucknow, Bara Banki, Sitapur, Hardoi, Kheri and Pilibhit districts fall under this sub-zone. The region receives on an average 979 mm of rainfall; the climate ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid and the soil is alluvium calcareous sandy loam. About 62% of the land is cultivated of which 56% is irrigated.
(ii)North-Western Plains -This sub-zone covers the districts of Shahjahanpur, Bareilly, Rampur, Moradabad, Bijnor, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Bulandshar of Uttar Pradesh. This region has the highest land productivity in the State. About 70% land is under agriculture and another 5% land is under forest cover. 76% of the net sown area is irrigated. Tube wells are the predominant source of irrigation. The zone receives, on an average 907 mm rainfall, the climate is dry sub-humid to semi-arid and the soil is loam to sandy loam.
(iii)South-Western Plains- In spite of a relatively high proportion of arable and irrigated cropped area, land productivity in the southwestern plains of Uttar Pradesh is low. This is largely on account of cultivation of low value crops principally wheat and bajra. The region covers the districts of Badaun, Aligarh, Mathura, Agra, Etah, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Etawah, Kanpur Dehat and Kanpur. The climate is semi-arid and the soil type is alluvium calcareous clay. The region receives about 721 mm of rainfall. More than 74% of the net sown area is irrigated and over 69% land is cultivated.
Under the Zone-VIII, the sub-zone Bundelkhand (Uttar Pradesh) includes five districts from South-central Uttar Pradesh, viz. Jalaun, hansi, Lalitpur, Hamirpur and Banda. It receives about 900 mm of rainfall. A little over 60% of the area is cultivated, but compared to other parts of Uttar Pradesh, the sub-zone has less developed irrigation facilities. Only about 25% of the cultivated area is irrigated as against a State average of nearly 60%. Soil erosion is high and land productivity is low.
The climate of Uttar Pradesh is predominantly subtropical, but weather conditions change significantly with location and seasons. Depending on the elevation, the average temperatures vary from 12.5–17.5 °C (55–64 °F) in January to 27.5–32.5 °C (82–91 °F) in May and June. Rainfall in the State ranges from 1,000–2,000 mm (39–79 in) in the east to 600–1,000 mm (24–39 in) in the west. About 90% of the rainfall occurs during the southwest Monsoon, lasting from about June to September. With most of the rainfall concentrated during this four-month period, floods are a recurring problem and cause heavy damage to crops, life, and property, particularly in the eastern part of the state, where the Himalayan-origin rivers flow with a very low north-south gradient. In the Himalayan region of the State, annual snowfall averaging 3 to 5 metres (10 to 15 feet) is common between December and March. Periodic failure of monsoons results in drought conditions and crop failure.
The total geographical area of Uttar Pradesh is 29.44 million hectare and the area under forest 1657023 hectare. The cultivable area is 24170403 hectare (82.1%of total geographical area) and the net area sown is 16573478 hectare (68.5% of cultivable area). The gross cropped area is 25.415 million hectare and the area sown more than once is 8.841 million hectare with the cropping intensity of 153.54 %. The net irrigated area is 13.313 million hectare (By canals- 25.18 %, by tubewells- 66.94% and by others – 7.88%). The gross irrigated area is 19.218 million hectare and the percentage of net irrigated sown area is 80.3%. The total number of land holdings are 224.57 lakhs out of which 175.07 lakh (78.0%) are marginal farmers, 31.03 lakh (13.8%) small farmers and 18.47 lakh (8.22%) farmers hold land above 2 hectare.
The soils in the region falling under Agro-climatic zone IV are alluvium-derived soils mostly khaddar (recent alluvium) and hangar (old alluvium). In some area the soil is highly calcareous. The soils are loamy and high in organic matter content. Rice, maize, pigeon pea, moong bean crops are common in kharif season. In post-rainy (rabi) season wheat, lentil, Bengal gram, pea, and sesame and at some places groundnut is grown on residual soil moisture with one or two supplemental irrigation. The important cash crops of the region are sugarcane, potato, tobacco, chillies, turmeric and coriander with supplemental irrigation. Rice–wheat cropping system is more predominant.
The dominant soil landscapes, representing the northern plains, constitute gently to very gently sloping lands. In some area the soil is highly calcareous. The soils in general are neutral in reaction and have moderate clay and low organic carbon content. Traditionally rain fed and irrigated agriculture is common. The main crops grown are rice, maize, pigeon pea, sorghum, pearl millet, moong beans during kharif and wheat, Bengal gram, green peas, rapeseed and mustard and lentil during rabi season. Sugarcane is the main cash crop. Rice–wheat cropping system is more predominant.
The farm power availability in the State during the year 2001 was 1.75 kW/ha. The State although highly populated, should progressively adopt power farming for timely and precise field operation at reduced costs and to maximize utilization efficiencies of costly inputs and for conservation of natural resources. Precision land levelling and use of efficient irrigation equipment for economizing in water requirements of crops including diversification of crops suiting to water availability are important issues in the region. Gradual increasing in farm power availability from the present level of 1.75 kW/ha to about 2 kW/ ha by 2020 is necessary for timely farm operations. Mechanization of most of the agricultural operations through custom hiring of high capacity equipment is required so that marginal, small and medium categories of farmers can also take the advantage of mechanization. Crop residue management for feed, fodder and energy is also important. It is presumed that by 2020, about 70% of the tillage, land leveling, sowing/planting, irrigation and threshing of all the important crops will be fully mechanized and other operations for different types of crops will be mechanized upto about 25–30%. In U.P. sale of tractors is maximum. Last year maximum number of tractors about 73,000 tractors were sold in U.P. About more than 50 laser land leveler are being used on custom hire basis.