India is a big country with an area of 3.287 million km², hence landscape varies by a large amount. Furthermore, India is an agricultural nation. So the vivid landscape allows Indians to grow a large type of crops throughout the year. The main factor that affects the quality of the crop is the soil. India being a large country has different types of soils.
These soils vary by due to different environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and terrain of that area. The terrain is not very similar throughout a land like India, hence soil also varies through the land. Not only by color and texture these soils vary in quality and types of minerals in them too. Therefore, these soils are needed to be classified into different types. This job was taken by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) they started a survey in 1953 and classified soils in India into eight major types. So’here is a list of 8 Different types of soil found in India.
1. Alluvial soils
Alluvial soil is mainly found in states of Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand, where the terrain is plain. Alluvial soil is rich in Potash and Lime but has a very low amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorous. It can grow a large variety of crop like such as wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton, jute etc. This soil is mainly found near river banks because its deposition comes from the Himalayas with means of rivers. Later due to several geographic reasons, this soil has spread all over the land and it has covered 40 percent of the total Indian land. Alongside the aforementioned regions, this soil is also found in Krishna, Godavari, Kaveri, and Mahanadi.
2. Black (or Regur soil)
Black soil is most commonly found in the southern parts of the country and has a large deposition in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and also in the Valleys of Krishna and Godavari. It has Lime, Iron, Magnesia and Alumina, Potash in a large amount but has Phosphorous, Nitrogen and organic matter is very low quantity. It is perfect to grow crops like Cotton, sugarcane, jowar, tobacco, wheat, and rice. It is also known as regur and Black Cotten soil due to its being fit for the growth of cotton. It is formed by the breakdown of Volcanic rocks several million years ago due to various geographic factors.
3. Red and Yellow soils
Red and Yellow soils are found in some highly separated regions. These regions include the eastern and southern part of the Deccan plateau, Orissa, Chattisgarh and southern parts of the plain of middle Ganga. It is rich in Iron and Potash but lacks Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and hummus in quantity. It can grow crops like Wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane, and pulses. Its texture can vary from clayey to sandy. It is the result of geographic actions of metamorphic and igneous rocks. Red soil has a very large deposition in India that is little above 10 percent of the area of the whole nation.
4. Laterite soils
Laterite soil is mainly found in South India alongside some areas of the Northeast too. It includes state like Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, and Orissa. It is rich in Iron oxide and potash that gives it its red color but has a very low amount of Organic matter, Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Calcium. It is used to grow crops like Cashew nuts, tea, coffee, and rubber. Laterite is a soil that has a brick like the texture and that is the reason its name being ‘Laterite’, which comes from the word ‘Later’ which means ‘brick’. This soil is acidic in nature and has a certain property of being hard when it is dry and soft when its wet.
5. Arid and desert soils
Arid and desert soil has its main deposition in the western areas of the country. It includes states such as Western Rajasthan, north Gujarat, and southern Punjab. It is rich in minerals like soluble salts and phosphate. But it has Humus, Nitrogen in very low amount. This soil is not made agriculture due to lack humus so very specific types of crops can survive it, that includes barley, cotton, millets maize and pulses. This soil is sandy in nature and has 90 to 95 percent of sand and rest is clay. This soil is perfect for cacti and shrubs which can grow and survive with a very low amount of moisture.
6. Saline and alkaline soils
Saline and Alkaline soils are unfit for agricultural purposes. It is mainly found in regions of Western Gujarat, deltas of the eastern coast, Sunderban areas of West Bengal, Punjab and Haryana. It has Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium in very high quantity and lacks in Nitrogen and Calcium. As mentioned earlier, it is completely unfit for agriculture. This soil contains the salt deposition that comes from rivers. This soil is rich in un-decomposed contents making it alkaline in nature. This soil is a result of seawater too. Due to different geographic actions the salt of seawater transfers into the soil making it Saline.
7. Peaty and marshy soils
Peaty and Marshy soils are very rare in India and are found in some regions of Kerala which is particularly peaty soil. The marshy soil, in particular, is found in some states such as Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Sunderbans area of West Bengal. These two soils are made up of organic matter and soluble salts, they have a black color and a heavy texture alongside being acidic in nature. These two soils have phosphate and potash in very low amount. This type of soil is not considered very good for crop plantations.
8. Forest and mountain soils
Forests and Mountain soil has depositions in high altitude areas of Himalayas and is found in states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam and in some parts of Kerala too. This soil is rich in organic matter making it perfect for the growth of forests. This soil lacks in potash and phosphorus content. The crops grown on this soil depend upon the other geographic factors like temperature and humidity too. Maize, barley, wheat are grown in high altitude regions and tropical fruits, coffee, tea or spices are grown in regions of Kerala too.