(Last Updated on : 27/06/2011)
Indian Soil is among the most wide-ranging component in the geography of India. The inhabitants of India largely count on the soil of the country for their survival. Soil is but a layer of decaying organic matter and broken rock particles on the earth surface, which is necessary for plant growth. Soil bears all vital nutrients which help in the development and growth of trees and plants. Soils are of different types, and each of them differs in their texture and nature. Several powers of nature, like running water and wind and alteration of temperature, add to the development of soil. Organic and chemical alterations taking place within the soil layer are likewise very essential. The soil may be economized by superior agricultural practices, reducing persistence of grazing and afforestation.
Types of Soil in India
Indian soils are mainly divided into four broad groups. These Indian soil types consist of, Alluvial soil
, Red soil, Regur soil
or Black soil and Laterite soil.
Alluvial soil is formed by accumulated sediments transferred by the rivers and rapids, thus it is amongst the most fertile soils. They generally lack humus and nitrogen and loaded with potassium. They form around the lower courses of most rivers and particularly all over the Indo-Gangetic Plains. This soil covers an area of 15 lakh square kilometres in India and mainly contributes in the development of agriculture.
Red soils lack nitrogenous material, phosphoric acid and organic matter and are rich in iron. It is formed by the breakdown of igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks. It is mainly seen in the district of Periyar and Salem in the state of Tamil Nadu
. In India, red soil is also found in several other regions including Madhya Pradesh
, Southern Karnataka
, Eastern Rajasthan
, West Bengal and other states of North-East.
Regur soils are black in colour and are also known as black soils. Since they are perfect for growing cotton, they are also called cotton soils, in addition to their local terminology of regur soils. These soils are most characteristic of the Deccan trap (Basalt) region, spread over the
Laterite soil is rich in aluminium and iron, formed in wet and hot tropical areas. Almost all laterites are rusty-red due to the presence of iron oxides. It is prepared by the long lasting and intensive weathering of the parent rock. Lateritic soils are also abundant in area along the edge of the plateau in the east, covering small parts of the states of Tamil Nadu
and a small portion of the Chota Nagpur Plateau
in the north and Meghalaya
Other than these, two other soil types are also found in the Indian subcontinent, which are Desert soil
and Mountain soil.
Desert soils are basically of sandy texture. Desert soils are generally of brown, light brown or reddish colour. Due to the arid conditions, leaching of soil is almost absent in the desert soils and thus evaporation is quite rapid. Rajasthan
Desert is covered with sand at most of the places.
Mountain soils are mainly found in hill slopes and are formed by deposition of organic matter from woodlands and forests. Mountains soils are mostly found in the Himalayan regions, Sikkim
, Arunachal Pradesh
and also in the Peninsula, Eastern Ghats and the summits of Sahyadris.
Cotton grows very well in drier regions of `black cotton soil` of the Deccan Plateau
. Normally, the major producers of cotton are Maharashtra
. Cotton also grows well in the Indian soil of the states like Punjab
, Tamil Nadu
and Madhya Pradesh
. Wheat grows well on the loamy soils of Northern plains covering Punjab
and western parts of Uttar Pradesh
, in that order. It also grows well in the black soils of the Madhya Pradesh
state. Wheat also thrives in the soils of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan
The basic Indian food crop is Rice
and there are various types of Indian soil that suits Rice cultivation and this crop is grown in several regions in India. India alone has about 45 million hectares of area which produces on an average 93 million metric tons of rice since 2001. Cultivation of rice is carried into almost all regions of India having abundant moisture and required warmth necessary for its growth, primarily in subtropical region. Rice is grown in India in various kinds of soil. It is grown in such varied soil conditions that it is difficult to point out the Indian soil on which it cannot be grown. The Indian soil having good water retention capacity and good amount of clay and organic matter are considered ideal for rice cultivation. Indian soils having a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5 are also best for rice cultivation. Over the years sugar has turned into a substantial ingredient of regular food intake. India boasts the largest surface area under sugarcane and its production is also the highest in the world. Amongst the Indian soils, sugarcane grows best in a well-drained productive soil, and abundance of fertilizers, manure, with hot, and humid climate and rainfall of approximately 100 centimeters. Similarly, different crops grow at its best in different soils.