Types of Soil in India | What are the 6 Major Types of Soil Classified by ICAR ? The soil is the name for the top layer of earth. Typically, soil is softer than the rocky layers beneath it. It is also usually of a black or brown hue. It is made up of smaller particles, which clump together when wet. The soil is nutritious and rich in minerals – and as such plants need it to survive. The committee appointed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), classified the Indian soil in the following main groups:
- Alluvial Soils
- Black Soils
- Red Soils
- Laterite Soils
- Mountain Soils
- Desert Soils
Let us discuss one by one !!
Check 6 Major Types of Soil Classified by ICAR
1. Alluvial soil
Materials deposited by rivers, winds, glaciers and sea waves are called alluvium and soils made up of alluvium are alluvial soils. In India alluvial soils are mainly found on the Indo-Ganga Brahmaputra Plains, Coastal Plains and the broad river valleys of South India. They are also found along the river basins of some plateau and mountain regions.
In the Indo-Ganga plain, two other types of alluvium are found. The old alluviums are clayey and sticky, have a darker color, contain nodules of lime concretions and are found to lie on slightly elevated lands. The new alluviums are lighter in color and occur in the deltas and the flood plains.
In comparison to the old alluvial soil, the new alluvial soils are very fertile. The alluvial soil is regarded as the best soil of India for its high fertility and the rich harvest, it gives rice, wheat, sugarcane, jute oilseeds and pulses are the main crops grown on this soil.
Crops grows in alluvial soil
Rice, Wheat, Sugarcane, Jute oilseeds, and pulses are the main crop grown on this soil.
2. Black Soils:
These soils are made up of volcanic rocks and lava-flow. It is concentrated over Deccan Lava Track which includes parts of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It consists of Lime, Iron, Magnesium and also Potash but lacks in Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Organic matter.
- The black soil has been formed thousands of years ago, due to the solidification of volcanic lava.
- This soil is made up of extremely fine clayey material.
- The black soil is well-known for its capacity to hold moisture.
- This soil is rich in calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, potash, and lime, but poor in phosphoric content.
- During the rainy season, the black soil becomes sticky and is difficult to tell as the plow gets stuck in the mud.
- During the hot dry season, the surface of this soil develops cracks.
- These cracks help in the aeration of the soil.
- Actually, the black soil should be tilled immediately after the first or the pre-monsoon showers.
Crops grows in Black soil
Black cotton soil Sugarcane, wheat, and groundnut were also grown.
3. Red Soils:
These are derived from weathering of ancient metamorphic rocks of Deccan Plateau. Its redness is due to iron composition. When iron content is lower it is yellow or brown. They cover almost the whole of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and parts of Orissa.
Crops grows in red soil
Wheat, rice, millets, gram, pulses, oilseeds, and cotton grew here.
4. Laterite and Lateritic soils
Laterite is a kind of clayey rock or soil formed under high temperature and high rainfall. By further modification, laterite is converted into red colored lateritic soils charged with iron nodules. Laterite and lateritic soils are found in South Maharashtra, the Western Ghats in Kerala and Karnataka, at places on the Eastern Ghat, in some parts of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and in western West Bengal (particularly in Birbhum district). These soils are generally infertile. Some plants like tea, coffee, coconut, areca nut, etc. are grown in this soil.
Crops grows on laterite soil
Laterite soil grew plants like tea, coffee, coconut, areca nut, etc.
5. Mountain soil
Soils are varied in mountains. Alluvium is found at the valley floor, brown soil, rich in organic matter, in an altitudinal zone lying between about 700-1800 m. Further up podzol soils, gray in color and acidic in reaction, are found associated with coniferous vegetation. In the Alpine forest belts, the soils are thin and darker in color. This type of soil is suitable for the cultivation of potatoes, fruits, tea coffee and spices and wheat.
Crops grows in mountain soil
Mountain soil produced the crop is wheat, maize, barley and temperate fruits. This soil is especially suitable for producing plantation crops, such as tea, coffee, spices and tropical fruits in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
6. Desert Soil
The desert soil is found mostly in the arid and semi-arid regions, receiving less than 50 cm of annual rainfall. Such regions are mostly found in Rajasthan and the adjoining areas of Haryana and Punjab. The Rann of Kachchh in Gujarat is an extension of this region.
- The sand in the desert areas is partly of local origin and partly being blown in from the Indus Valley.
- It includes even the wind-blown loess.
- The desert soil has sand (90 to 95 percent) and clay (5 to 10 percent).
- In some regions, this soil has a high percentage of soluble salts but lacks in organic matter.
- The nitrogen content is low, but the phosphate content is as high as in normal alluvial soil.
Crops grows on Desert soil
Desert soil can produce a variety of crops, such as wheat, millets, barley, maize, pulses, cotton, etc. Shortage of water in the arid regions is the primary limiting factor for agriculture.
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