Indian Soil

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research classified Indian soils into the nine categories.

1. Alluvial Soils:

These soils cover I5 lakh square kilometers from the Sutlej plains in the west to the Lower Ganga. Brahmaputra valley is in the east and along east and west coasts in the coastal plains. In the north Indian plains, alluvial soils are derived from debris brought by the rivers from the Himalayas. The coastal alluvial soil is of tidal origin. The desert alluvium or losses is brought by wind erosion. They are best agricultural soils because they contain a variety of salts derived from Himalayan rocks. They are light and porous, easily tillable, rich in potash and poor in nitrogen.

2. Black Soil or Regur Soils:

This soil covers 5 lakh sq km in Maharashtra, parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and
Gujarat. During dry seasons the Black soils shrink and develop big cracks. Black soils are rich in Iron, carbonates of Magnesium, Calcium and in alumina. Poor in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and organic matter. Black soil is good for cotton and sugarcane.

3.Red Soil:

These are extensively found covering Tamil Nadu, Southern Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka. Madhya Pradesh, South Bihar and Western Orissa. Red soils are derived from weathering of old crystalline and metamorphic rocks under dry conditions, and are red due to the presence of iron oxides. Red soils are poor in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and organic matter.

4. Laterite Soils:

These soil covers parts of Western Ghats in Kerala, Coastal Orissa, Coastal areas of West Bengal and Eastern Ghats and areas of high rainfall in North-East and Bihar. These are typical soils of tropics and are end product of decomposition with high rainfall and leaches away calcium and silica leaving behind iron with silica. Laterite Soils are poor in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and organic matter.

5. Forest Soils:

These soils cover areas between 3000m. and 3100m height in the coniferous region. These are dark soils, rich in decomposed organic matter, hut low in pH. Hilly areas of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, sub-Himalayan tract and Coorg in Karnataka. It is formed by the deposition of organic matter derived from forests.

6. Mountain Soils:

These soils are spread over altitudes between 2000m and 3000 m. These Soils are Shallow, salty loam, well drained, stony and moderately acidic. The carbon-nitrogen ratio is wide. Mountain soils are used for forestry and growing potatoes and sub-tropical fruits.

7. Desert Soils:

These soils cover 1.4 lakh sq.kms. Thar desert alone accounts for 1 lakh sq.kms. and the rest is spread over Southern Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana and where annual rainfall is less than 50 cm. Desert soils are derived from adjoining rocks and the coastal regions. They are sandy, coarse and alkaline, rich in soluble salts. Therefore, these are actually fertile soils, water being the only limiting factor for agricultural purposes.

8. Saline and Alkaline Soils:

These soils cover acid and semi-acid regions of the northern plains and almost the whole of Maharashtra. The salt from the Himalayas or those derived from the weathering of Deccan rocks get mixed with underground water and during the dry period, come up to the surface through capillary action. These are salts of calcium, magnesium and sodium.

9. Peaty Soils:

These soils cover the high rainfall areas of West Bengal, Orissa and Kerala. Peaty soils areas remain submerged during the monsoon and experience accumulation of original matter with large quantities of soluble salts, such as ferrous and aluminium sulphates which can be at times, toxic for plants.

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