Crops can be classified in several different ways, including by season of sowing, by the origin of the plants, or most commonly by the crop’s utility.

Let’s take a closer look at the six ways crops are classified according to the purpose of growing that they serve, as well as some of the most popular crops within each group.

6 Major Types of Crops

1. Food Crops

Food crops are grown for human consumption, and it’s very likely that you have already eaten one of these crops today. Food crops can further be grouped as follows:

  • Cereals: Cereals act as a great source of carbohydrates and include wheat, corn, rice, barley, and millet
  • Seeds: Edible seeds include grains, legumes, and nuts, which are all rich in healthy fat
  • Pulses: Pulses include peas, gram, and lentils with each containing a good amount of protein
  • Fruits: Fruits are high in minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates and provide an excellent source of energy. Apples, bananas, cherries, oranges, mangoes, watermelon, grapes are all fruit crops – and we’re sure that you can think of many others too
  • Vegetables: Vegetables act as a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber Some of the most popular vegetable crops include potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and broccoli. As with fruit crops, we’re sure that many others come to mind
  • Herbs & Spices: Herbs are the leaves of the plant, while spices come from the roots, bark, and seeds. These include cinnamon, oregano, and black pepper

2. Feed Crops

Feed crops are grown for animal feed, primarily for livestock. You can see cattle, pigs, sheep, and many other animals we eat graze these crops in fields.

Feed crops may be classified as either temporary or permanent crops, with the former cultivated and harvested like any other crop, and the latter grown intensively with multiple cuttings per year.

Feed crops include alfalfa, barley, clover, and grasses that help farmers meet.

3. Fiber Crops

Fiber crops don’t have anything to do with food but are instead grown to produce fibers for textiles, ropes, and fillers. These fibers include cotton, kenaf, jute, hemp, and are used in clothes, bedding, and many household items.

Fiber crops are naturally strong due to having a large concentration of cellulose, though may also be chemically modified.

4. Oilseed Crops

Oilseed crops are grown for their use in both the manufacturing and food industries. The crops have oil that is contained within the seeds, which can then be extracted and used as fuel or for culinary purposes.

Major world oilseed crops include soybean, sunflower, canola, peanut, coconut, and oil palm.

5. Ornamental Crops

Ornamental crops are grown for decorative purposes. They are commonly found in home decoration, landscape design, and gardens –  and include houseplants, cut-flowers, and displays.

6. Industrial Crops

Industrial crops, also known as nonfood crops and aren’t sold directly for consumption because they need to be industrially processed prior to final use. They include oils, waxes, resins, rubbers, gums, fibers, dye, latexes, sugars, starches, proteins, and energy production.

Industrial crops include hemp, lavender, linseed, maize, and tobacco.