Indian Soil Notes
Soil and Agriculture is an important concept in the SSC CGL geography syllabus. Questions are asked based on the types of soils, types of agriculture found in different parts of India and the types of crops that are grown in different types of soil. Let us start
Types of Soil in India for Agriculture
- India is an Agrarian country & Soil is its prime resource. It plays a vital role in the economy of India as our industries are mainly Agro-based.
- About 65 to 70% of the total population of the country is dependent on agriculture.
Generally, there are six types of soil found in India
- Alluvial Soil
- Regur or Black Soil
- Red Soil
- Laterite Soil
- Desert Soil
- Mountain Soil
1. Alluvial Soil
- Deposition of materials by sea and river is called alluvium and the soil formed due to the deposition of alluvium is called as alluvial soil.
- This type of soil is mainly found in the Indo-Ganga and Brahmaputra plains i.e. the whole northern plain and in some parts of the river basin in the south and some plateau region.
- This soil is also found in the deltas of the Mahanadi, Godavari, Cauvery and Krishna.
- Alluvial soil can be broadly categorised into two types i.e. New alluvial soil and old alluvial soil.
- Old alluvial soils are found in slightly elevated areas far away from the river and are clayey and sticky.
- The new alluvial soil is found in the floodplain of the river and is much more fertile in comparison to the old alluvial soil.
- Crops Grown: Alluvial soil is suitable for the rabi and Kharif crops like cereals, cotton, oilseeds and sugarcane.
2. Regur or Black soil
- The regur or black soils have developed extensively upon the Lava Plateaus of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh mainly Malwa and are formed due to volcanic activities.
- These soils are very fertile and contain a high percentage of lime and a moderate amount of potash.
- The type of soil is especially suited for the cultivation of cotton and is hence sometimes called ‘black cotton soil.’
- Crops Grown: Cotton, Jowar, Wheat, Linseed, Gram, Fruit and Vegetable.
3. Red Soil
- Red soils develop on granite and geneses rocks under low rainfall conditions i.e. due to weathering of the metamorphic rocks.
- These soils are red in colour due to the high concentration of Iron Oxide.
- These soils are friable and medium fertile and found mainly in almost the whole of Tamil Nadu, South-eastern Karnataka, North-eastern and South-eastern Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand the major parts of Orissa, and the Hills and Plateaus of North-east India.
- These soils are deficient in Phosphoric acid, organic matter and nitrogenous material.
- Crops Grown: Wheat, Rice, Millets, Pulses.
4. Laterite Soil
- Laterite is a kind of clayey rock or soil formed under high temperature and high rainfall and with an alternate dry and wet period.
- Laterite and lateritic soils are found in South Maharashtra, the Western Ghats in Kerala and Karnataka, at places in Odisha, small parts of Chottanagpur and in some parts of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and in western West Bengal (particularly in Birbhum district).
- This type of soil is unsuitable for agriculture due to the high content of acidity and inability to retain moisture.
5. Desert soil
This type of soil is found in Rajasthan, Haryana and South Punjab, and is sandy.
- In the absence of sufficient wash by rainwater, soils have become saline and rather unfit for cultivation.
- In spite of that cultivation can be carried on with the help of modern irrigation.
- Wheat, bajra, groundnut, etc. can be grown in this soil.
- This type of soil is rich in Phosphates and Calcium but deficient in Nitrogen and humus.
6. Mountain Soil
- This soil is found in the higher altitudes on the mountain and is called Mountain soil.
- The characteristics of this type of soil are changed according to the altitudes.
- This type of soil is suitable for the cultivation of potatoes, fruits, tea coffee and spices and wheat.
Which Soil is Suitable for Agriculture in India?
Well, different soils have different qualities. For different crops and regions, there are different soils. For example, the new alluvial soil is found in the floodplain of the river and is much more fertile in comparison to the old alluvial. Alluvial soil is suitable for the rabi and Kharif crops like cereals, cotton, oilseeds and sugarcane. Regur or black soil is especially suited for the cultivation of cotton and is hence sometimes called ‘black cotton soil.’ Regur soil is suitable for crops like Cotton, Jowar, Wheat, Linseed, Gram, Fruit and vegetables. Crops Grown in red soil are Wheat, Rice, Millet, and Pulses.
Types of Agriculture in India
There are different types of farming activities performed in India which are as follows:
- Subsistence farming is a type of farming in which nearly all the crops or livestock raised are used to maintain the farmer and farmer’s family leaving little.
- Subsistence farms usually consist of no more than a few acres, and farm technology tends to be primitive and of low yield.
- Mixed farming is an agricultural system in which a farmer conducts different agricultural practices together, such as cash crops and livestock
- The aim is to increase income through different sources and to complement land and labour demands across the year.
- Shifting cultivation means migratory shifting agriculture.
- Under this system, a plot of land is cultivated for a few years and then, when the crop yield declines because of soil exhaustion and the effects of pests and weeds, is deserted for another area.
- Here the ground is again cleared by slash-and-burn methods, and the procedure is repeated.
- Shifting cultivation is predominant in the forest areas of Assam (Known as Jhum), Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh (Podu).
- This is a system of farming in which the farmer uses the limited amount of labour and capital on a relatively large area.
- This type of agriculture is practised in countries where population size is small and the land is enough.
- Per acre yield is low but the overall production is in surplus due to less population.
- Here machines and technology are used in farming.
- This is a system of farming in which the cultivator uses a larger amount of labour and capital in a relatively small area.
- This type of farming is performed in countries where the population to land ratio is high i.e. the population is big and the land is small.
- Annually two or three types of crops are grown over the land.
- Manual labour is used.
- In this type of agriculture, cash crops are mainly cultivated.
- A single crop like rubber, sugarcane, coffee, tea is grown.
- These crops are major items of export.
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