Soils and
Soil And Agriculture
Soils and
Soils In India
Soils and
Alluvial Soils
These soils cover 15 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 loess is brought by wind erosion.
They are best agricultural soils because they contain a variety of salts derived from Himalayan rocks.
Soils and
Black Soil or Regur Soils
These soils cover 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.
Soils and
Red Soils
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.
Soils and
Laterite Soils
These soils cover 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 .
When high rainfall leaches away calcium and silica leaving behind iron with silica Laterite soils are poor in nitrogen, Phosphorus, potassium, calcium and organic matter.
Soils and
Forest Soils
These soils cover areas between 3000 m. and 3100 m. height in the coniferous region.
These are dark soils, rich in decomposed organic matter, but 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.
Soils and
Mountain Soils
These soils are spread over altitudes between 2000 m 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 anti growing potatoes and sub-tropical fruits.
Soils and
Desert Solis
These soils cover 1.4 lakh sq. kms.
Thar desert alone accounts for 1 lakh sq. kms. and 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.
Soils and
Saline and Alkaline Soils
These soils cover acid and semi-acid regions of the northern plains and almost the whole of Maharashtra.
The salts from the Himalayas or those derived from the weathering of Deccan rocks get mixed with underground water and during dry period, come up to the surface through capillary action.
These are salts of calcium magnesium and sodium.
Soils and
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.
Soils and
Soils and
Indian Agriculture
Agriculture has been the backbone of Indian economy since its independence and in colonial era also.
Agriculture accounts for 14.1% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) at constant (2004-05) prices in 2011-12.
About 58.2 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.
Agriculture output, however, is influenced by good or bad monsoon conditions; as nearly 35 per cent of total cropped area is dependent on rainfall.
Agriculture recorded more than 4% growth in 2006-07 and 2007-08, while it was 2.4% during the 10th plan period and 3.6% during the 11th plan period.
Soils and
Harvesting Season
There are three main mop seasons:
  • namely
  • Kharif
  • Rabi
  • Summer

Major Kharif crops are rice, jowar, bajara, maize, cotton, sugarcane and groundnut.
Major rabi crops are wheat, jowar, barley, gram, linseed rapeseed and mustard.
Rice, maize and groundnut are grown in summer season also.
Soils and
Land Utilisation
Land utilisation statistics are available for 93.1 per cent of total geographical area of 3.287.3 lakh hectares.
According to land use statistics available from States, area under forests had increased from 404.8 lakh hectares in 1950-51 to 726.4 lakh hectares in 2005-2006.
Net sown area increased from 1,187. 5 lakh to 1,646. 7 lakh hectares during the same period.
Broad cropping pattern indicates that though foodgrains, their relative share came down item 76.7 per cent during 1950-51 to 65.3 per cent during 2005-06.
Soils and
Green Revolution
During the introduction period of first Green Revolution, India gained the international acclaim by producing the high yield variety and quality seeds.
During second Green Revolution in 1984-85, by expansion in supplies at inputs and services to the farmers, extension and better management a massive increase at production was shown.
The highly notable and encouraging feature of this second Green Revolution is that it witnessed tremendous progress in Eastern and Central States including West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh where the growth rate had been relatively very low.
Soils and
Foodgrain Production
The production of foodgrains in 2012-13 was at a record high of 257.13 million tones.
The production of foodgrains is estimated at 264.38 million tones as 1per 3rd Advance Estimates for 2013-14.
Soils and
Crop Groups
Soils and
Kharif Crops
These crops are also called the summer crops.
They are sown before the onset of the rainy season from May to July and harvested after the rains in September and October.
Rice and millets are major kharif crops of India.
Soils and
Rabi Crops
Rabi Crops Also called winter crops.
They are sown in the beginning of the winter season from October to December and harvested before the summer season from February to April.
Wheat, barley and oilseeds (mustard) are Rabi crops.
Soils and
Zaid Crops
These crops are grown in the short periods after the harvest of the Kharif and Rabi crops before the next major season, they are short-term crops.
The crops sown in February to April and harvested by June and July are called the Zaid Rabi crops.
Green vegetables are main crops of this season.
Similarly after the harvest of the kharif crops in September are grown some crops to be harvested before sowing the Rabi crops in November and December, they are called Zaid kharif crops.
Oil seeds and some pulses are commonly grown in this season.
Soils and
Food Crops
This category includes crops which serve as food for man and all food grains and pulses and most oilseeds are included here.
This category is divisible into subgroups like food grains, pulses, oil seeds and beverages and so on.
Soils and
Food Grains
These are grains consumed in various forms by man.
The most important food grains in India are rice, wheat maize Jowar and bajra.
Soils and
Pulses & Oilseeds
The important pulses grown in India include gram, mung, urad and masur.
They are also grain crops but they also used in the form of pulses and do not constitute the staple food at the people.
Crops that yield seeds from which oil is expelled include mustard, rape seed, toria, groundnut, linseed and caster.
Soils and
Beverages & Subsistence Crops
The most important beverage crops of India are tea and coffee.
Subsistence Crops includes crops that farmers grow primarily for their own consumption.
Only a small starting of the total produce enters the market if at all it does.
Cultivation of rice in West Bengal is an example of subsistence cropping.
Soils and
Commercial Crops
As against subsistence crops, commercial crops are grown mainly for the market and only a small portion of the product is consumed by the farmers themselves.
Cotton and sugarcane are important commercial crops.
These are also called cash crops.
Soils and
Plantation Crops
In case of some crops, the crop is planted once and then it provides yield or harvest for a number of years.
Such plantations are managed like an industry.
Many such crops are tree crops.
The most important examples of Plantation crops in India are tea, coffee, rubber, coconut and spices.
Soils and
This category includes crops like pepper, cardamom, red chillies and turmeric.
They are generally grown as Cash Crops.
Some of them are also plantation crops.
Soils and
Fibre Crops
These crops are also generally grown as cash crops.
They yield fibres that are used for making textiles or Packaging material etc.
The most important fibre crops of India are jute and cotton.
Soils and
Fodder Crops
These are crops harvested generally when green and used as cattle fodder.
Berseem is one example of Such a crop.
Some fodder crops yield grain if they are allowed to mature as is the case with jowar.
Although, it is customary to divide crops in various categories, these categories are not mutually exclusive and many of the crops can be assigned to more than one category depending on the basis of such a classification.
Soils and
Types of Cultivation
Soils and
Cultivation Systems in India
Depending on environment, different types of cultivation systems operate in India.
Most of the cultivation in India is of sedentary type.
The same land is cultivated year after year under this system.
This practice is opposite of shifting cultivation which implies abandoning land after a few years in favour of a new patch of land.
This latter practice is common in tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and the northeastern region.
Soils and
Intensive Farming
Most of Indian farming is of intensive type.
This is primarily a result of high pressure of population on land.
Another important fact about farming in the country is that it lays a great emphasis on cultivation of food grains.
Rice and wheat are the chief food gains raised in India.
The greater emphasis on food grain cultivation is also an indicator of high pressure of population on land and intensive character of farming.
Soils and