Crop Calendar Dataset

This dataset is the result of digitizing and georeferencing existing observations of crop planting and harvesting dates. We then derived climate statistics (e.g., the average temperature at which planting occurs in each region) by merging these crop calendar maps with monthly climatologies from CRU.

This dataset is described in the following publication:

Sacks, W.J., D. Deryng, J.A. Foley, and N. Ramankutty (2010). Crop planting dates: an analysis of global patterns. Global Ecology and Biogeography 19, 607-620. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00551.x.

If you download this dataset, please email Bill Sacks at We are interested to know how our data are being used. We can also keep you informed of any updates to the dataset.

We also recommend that you look at the MIRCA2000 dataset, which contains much of the same crop calendar data as our data set, but in a different format. We suspect that some people will find our data set more useful, while others will find the MIRCA2000 data set to be more useful.

The following sets of files are available:

Readme file: Documentation of the dataset, including caveats that should be kept in mind when using these data.

Crop calendar maps: Gridded maps of planting dates, harvesting dates, etc., for 19 crops. These maps are available at two different resolutions (5 minute and 0.5 degree), and in two different formats (netCDF and ArcINFO ASCII). For each region where we have a crop calendar observation, we have applied that observation to every grid cell in the region (i.e., a simple “paint-by-number” approach).

Map figures (18.1 MB) compressed: Figures showing maps of planting dates, harvesting dates, days between planting and harvest, and a few climatic metrics for each crop, such as the average temperature at which the crop is planted in each region.

Regional climate figures (4.3 MB compressed): One figure for each region-crop combination. These figures show the planting and harvesting dates of that crop in that region, along with annual cycles of temperature, precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration.

Raw data: A spreadsheet with the raw data, giving the planting and harvest dates by region, along with associated climate statistics.

  1. Raw Data
  2. Metadata (column descriptions)
  3. Code lists for data items that correspond to multiple political units
  4. Maps corresponding to code lists

See also: Asheshwor Shrestha has put together a visualization of these data.