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I am writing an article and want to simplify the content by avoiding repeating a long sentence to represent a waiting period between 2 consecutive harvests.

What is the terminology of the waiting period between two successive harvests?

Any activities are allowed during the waiting period, whether the plant is growing, or anything else.

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Would you please post an example sentence so we can see the exact context of your request? – zpletan Apr 28 '12 at 15:44
You might simply say, "inter-harvest period" or something to that effect. – zpletan Apr 28 '12 at 15:58
We call that a year. – tchrist Apr 28 '12 at 16:01
@zpletan: inter-harvest period sounds good and understandable. – kiss my armpit Apr 28 '12 at 16:05
If anything (at all) can happen, why call it 'waiting' period? – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 16:33
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I will weigh in with the answer that seems correct to me: there is no such word. That is, if you are referring to the period between the end of one harvest and the start of the next, which would include plowing, leaving it to lay for the winter, cultivating, planting, and growing.

Of the alternatives given, fallow, crop rotation, and intercropping are all different concepts already associated with farming. The growing season starts after planting, so does not cover the time between harvest and planting, and really refers to the period of time during which crops may be grown for a particular climate/environment. While cycle time seems to fit ok, it would properly refer to the period from the start of one harvest to the start of the other (and even then, only for a six sigma farmer :)).

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+1. (I was liking this answer anyway, but six sigma farmer really reeled me in.) – J.R. Apr 29 '12 at 10:00
Interesting... six sigma farmer turned me off this answer. – JLG Apr 29 '12 at 12:28
I think this is the correct answer to the question as currently posed. Since OP doesn't want to impose any constraints on what actually happens between one harvest and the next, it could include not only the "growing season" itself, but soil preparation, sowing, fields lying fallow for any amount of time, etc. Not to mention monsoon season/24-hour darkness in some regions, plus delays while the farmer negotiates a loan for more seed corn, etc., etc. – FumbleFingers Apr 29 '12 at 16:37

The period between planting and harvest is called the growing season.

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Obviously OP is referring to the time from reaping to the next planting, when no growing (or any activity for that matter) takes place. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 16:01
@Kris No he clearly says that growing may be taking place. – z7sg Ѫ Apr 28 '12 at 16:08
Oh that edit came in too late, maybe? In any case, growing is only one of the possibilities -- and for only a part of the period in question, right? – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 16:14
@Kris Yes, I think there simply isn't a commonly used word for the whole period. – z7sg Ѫ Apr 28 '12 at 16:18

The farmers and ranchers I know refer to the time between crops as fallow period, fallow season, or fallow crop. Between crops farmers will plow the fields and leave them unseeded for a time, usually a few months to a year. This is so that the land can recover the fertility lost, especially following a more hearty crop. This is also likely why there is time between harvests - the land is laying fallow.

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That is the harvest to planting, not harvest to harvest, period. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 16:58
@Kris There is not a clear-cut, common use non-archaic word or phrase that indicates the time from harvest-to-harvest. And if there was, most farmers and ranchers wouldn't use it. They might use growing season(s) if it's an annual crop. But there are crops, like hay, that can be harvested multiple times in a season. If you want refer to the time between harvests there's not going to be a good word for that because it's not a useful measurement of time. If you're referring to the time between crops, which is a useful indicator, you can use fallow period or some variation thereof. – Jed Oliver Apr 28 '12 at 17:25
This is clearly not the time when "the plant may be growing", right? – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 17:27
I was the first to answer this question and had fallow time as my answer. I deleted my answer, because as @Kris points out the OP added the stipulation (after I answered) that plants could be growing during this time. Farmers definitely do not grow plants in the fallow time. – JLG Apr 28 '12 at 17:42
Clover (or more often, legumes/beans) are often grown on a fallow field even if only to be ploughed in - their role is to "fix" nitrogen into the soil for use by future cash crops. – FumbleFingers Apr 28 '12 at 21:06

Technically there must be a proper term, but I might loosely call it the intercrop (-period).

I know, this is also used in the sense of a minor crop between two main crops. You therefore, can add the '-period' suffix to clarify.

[Edit-1] per Op's Edit-1:
The period from one harvest to the next is probably called a season in plain language.

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Intercrop already means something entirely different. – z7sg Ѫ Apr 28 '12 at 16:12
@z7sg which is already stated in my answer. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 16:21

Suppose multiple crops are grown on the same field, crop rotation period describes the inter-harvest time adequately.

But if only the same crop is grown every year, there is no crop rotation, so a year is the inter-harvest time. In this case I do not understand why you need a separate word.

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Because we need a single term for both cases, maybe. – Kris Apr 28 '12 at 16:37

Cycle time will work, particularly if you parenthetically or appositively define it; for example, for rice one might write:

In tropical climates, the cycle time (from harvest to harvest) is often six months, or in Vietnam and the Mekong Delta, four months.

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Or maybe say harvest cycle? – J.R. Apr 29 '12 at 9:58

I believe he is talking about the period between one harvest and the next. For example: sugarcane crops for the production of sugar or ethanol. After the harvest period (twice a year in Brazil) there is a gap in the production of ethanol when prices normally rise. It is called in this case, the "off season", although some refer to it as inter-harvest period.

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Hi Cesar, welcome to ELU! "off-season" and "inter-harvest period" are great answers in my opinion. As you seem to be speaking from experience, do you know of any references available online that corroborate these phrases? – erich May 6 '15 at 23:43

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