Indian Council of Agricultural Research [ICAR] divides Indian soils into eight groups.

They are:

Indian Soils

ALLUVIAL SOIL

They represent the river in residual alluvium brought from Indus and tributaries – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej Ganga and its tributaries, of which are Yamuna, Gandak, Ghaghara, Kosi etc. and the Brahmaputra.

Regions

Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan coastal Gujarat, Brahmaputra valley & coastal strip of Peninsular India.

Characteristics

  • Found to a depth of 500m
  • Yellow in colour.
  • Rich in Potash, Humus & Lime
  • Deficient in nitrogen, tends to be phosphoric
  • Coarse to fine texture.
  • Bhangar: older alluvium , calcareous clay
  • Khadar: newer alluvium, clayey * loamy, found in lower beds in the valley
  • In the Deccan coastal strip soil gets darker as the river flows over the black regur soil some of which they carry away.

Crop Grown

Suitable for Kharif & Rabi Crops like cereals, cotton, oilseed & sugarcane. The lower Ganga-Brahmaputra Valley is useful for jute cultivation.

BLACK COTTON SOIL OR REGUR SOIL

  • Is of volcanic origin
  • Lava soil due to disintegration of basalt, formed in area where it has formed.
  • Also classified as Chernozem

Region

Occurs mainly in Deccan trap covering large areas in Maharashtra, Gujarat M.P., Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu.

Characteristics

  • Deep, fine grained
  • Varying in colour from black to chestnut brown
  • Rich in Iron, Potash, Lime, Calcium, Alumina, Carbonates & Humus.
  • Moisture retentive, very sticky when met.
  • Forms deep cracks when dry.

Crops Grown

Cotton, Jowar, Wheat, Sugarcane, Linseed, Gram, Fruit & Vegetable.

RED SOIL

Formed by weathering of crystalline and metamorphic rocks. Mixture of clay and sand.

Region

Large parts of TN, Karnataka, North East Andhra, M.P. & Orissa.

Characteristics

  • Red in colour because of its high Iron oxide (FeO) Content.
  • Deficient in nitrogen lime, Phosphoric acid and humus.
  • Rich in potash.
  • When fertilizers are added soil becomes productive.

Crops Grown

Wheat, Rice, Millets, Pulses, (needs fertilizer & irrigation)

LATERITE SOIL

Formed due to weathering of lateritic rocks in low temperatures and heavy rainfall with alternating dry & wet period.

Regions

Karnataka, Summits of the Western and Eastern Ghats, Malwa Plateau, Goa & Kerala.

Characteristics

  • Red in colour with a high content of iron oxides.
  • Poor in Nitrogen & Lime, rich in Iron.
  • High Content of acidity & inability to retain moisture.

Crops Grown

Unsuitable for Agriculture due to high content of acidity and inability to retain moisture. Cashew and Tapioca grow well on it.

ARID & DESERT SOIL

Region

  • NW India. Covers entire area west of the Aravalis in Rajasthan & parts of Haryana, Punjab & Gujarat.

Characteristics

  • Rich in phosphates but poor in Nitrogen.

Crops Grown

  • Fertile if irrigates e.g. Ganga nagar area of Rajasthan ( Wheat basket of Rajasthan).

Saline & Alkaline Soil

Also called Reh, Kallar or usar.

Region

  • Arid and Semi-Arid areas of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Characteristics

  • Soils have effervescence of Sodium, Magnesium Calcium.
  • Salinity is usually confined to the upper Layers and the soil can be reclaimed by Improving Drainage.
  • Alkalinity is removed by application of Gypsum.

Crops Grown

  • Infertile, requires Soil – reclamation.

FOREST SOIL

It is generally found in forests and hilly areas.

Regions

  • Himalayas Range Southern Hills of Peninsula.

Characteristics

  • Rich in organic matter.
  • In some places it shows sign of Podzolisation.
  • Deficient in Potash, Phosphorus & Lime.
  • Needs continued use of fertilisers for good yields.
  • Crops Grown : Plantation Crops like tea, coffee, Spices and tropical fruits.

PEATY AND ORGANIC SOIL

Region

Peaty soil is found in Kottayam and Alleyppy District of Kerala.

Characteristics

  • High accumulation of Organic Matter & small amount of soluble salts.
  • Deficient in Phosphorous & Potash.

Crops Grown

Not Conductive to cultivation.

So these were the 8 Indian Soils or Soils found in India.

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