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

They are:

Indian Soils

  • 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.


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


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


  • 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 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)

  • 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.



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


  • 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.


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


  • 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.


It is generally found in forests and hilly areas.

  • Himalayas Range Southern Hills of Peninsula.


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


  • 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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