The All India Survey Committee, which was established in 1953 by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), has divided soils of India into eight different types which are as follows:
1) Alluvial Soil:
Alluvial soil is mostly found in the plains of Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and more. It is highly fertile and high in potash and lime, but it is deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus. Its color can be light grey or ash grey.
Alluvial soil is a depositional soil as it is deposited by rivers and streams. The new alluvium soil is known as Khadar and old alluvium is termed as Bangar. Alluvial soil is suitable for the cultivation of Rabi and Kharif crops such as wheat, maize, rice, pulses, sugarcane, oilseed, cotton, jute etc.
2) Black Soil (Regur Soil):
Black soil is mostly found in the Deccan plateau of the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, etc., and in the valleys of Krishna and Godavari rivers.
It is rich in lime, potash, iron, and magnesia and deficient in nitrogen, phosphates and organic matter. Its color ranges from light black to deep black.
It is a mature soil which has high water retaining capacity and is the best soil for cotton cultivation, also suitable for the cultivation for cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, wheat, rice and more.
3) Laterite Soil:
Its name is derived from a Latin word ‘laterite’ which means brick. It is very soft when wet and very hard when dry. It is found in the regions of high rainfall and high temperature such as in the Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, and Orissa, etc., and is formed by leaching.
Laterite soil is high in aluminum and iron oxide, but deficient in nitrogen, phosphate, organic matter, humus, and lime. Its color is red as it is rich in iron oxide. This soil is suitable for the cultivation of rice, ragi, cashew, rubber, and sugarcane.
4) Red Soil:
Red is mainly found in the regions of low rainfall, e.g. eastern and southern part of the Deccan plateau, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, etc. It is rich in iron and potash but has a low amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, lime, magnesia, and humus.
Its color is red due to the presence of Ferric oxide. It is good for the cultivation of wheat, rice, cotton, pulses, potato and sugarcane and more.
5) Desert (Arid Soil):
Desert or Arid soil is found mostly in the regions with arid or semi-arid conditions and is mainly deposited by the winds. It is high in salt and phosphate, but deficient in humus, nitrogen, and moisture.
It has a sandy texture and its color ranges from red to brown. Desert soil is suitable for the drought resistant and salt tolerant crops which include barley, cotton, millets, maize, and pulses.
6) Saline and Alkaline Soil:
It is mostly found in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh and in some regions of Gujarat. It is rich in Potassium, sodium, and magnesium but deficient in nitrogen and calcium. It is not suitable for agriculture.
7) Forest and Mountain Soil:
Forest and mountain soil is mostly found in the Himalayas on the hills slopes by forests. It is also found on Eastern and the Western Ghats and in some regions of the peninsular plateau. This soil is formed by the deposition of organic matter during forest growth.
It is rich in humus but deficient in phosphorus, potash, and lime. It is suitable for the cultivation of tea, coffee, spices and tropical fruits in the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu; and for the cultivation of wheat, maize, barley, and temperate fruits in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, and Jammu and Kashmir.
8) Peaty and Marshy Soil:
These types of soil are found in the humid regions where rainfall and humidity are high and vegetation is dense. As vegetation is dense, the soil is formed by the accumulation of dead organic matter and thus it is rich in humus and organic content.
These soils are black in color and heavy and acidic in nature. Peat and marshy soils are mostly found in the coastal areas of Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Sunderbans of West Bengal, and Uttaranchal. As these soils are acidic or saline and deficient in potash and phosphate they are not suitable for agriculture.
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