April 01, 2015

Soil resources in Andhra Pradesh, Characteristics, Region and Types of Soils


Soils are formed by the combination of weathered rock materials with humus. Soil is an important resource to an agricultural country like India. Soils form from the basis of human needs like food, clothing, etc. The prosperity of a country depends generally on the soils of that country.

There following are the soil types in Andhra Pradesh. They are Red Soils, Black Cotton Soils, Alluvial Soils and Laterite Soils.


Red soils spread over a larger area of the state. They are light and have water retaining capacity. They are very less fertile. Red soils are found in Telangana and Rayalaseema, a large area of Nellore and Visakhapatnam districts, and parts of East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts. Uplands crops like groundnut, horse gram etc., are grown in these soils. In the areas where irrigation facilities are available Cotton, Tobacco and various varieties of fruits are also grown in Red soils.


These soils can absorb and retain water for longer duration. Black cotton soils are found in the Godavari valley from Adilabad district to Khammam district, Mahaboobnagar, Nizamabad, Medak, Nalagonda, Ranga Reddy districts, Rayalaseema districts and parts of West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts. Cotton is the chief crop grown these soils. Crops like Jowar, Bajra, Korra, Tobaco, Tumeric, Chillies, Sugar-can, Paddy, Plantain etc., are also grown in the irrigated areas.


Alluvial soils are formed with sand and Alluvium brought by river. These soils are spread over the deltas of Krishna, Godavari and Penna. These are very fertile soils. Paddy, Sugar-cane, Plantain, Guava, Lemon and Oranges are grown in these soils.


These soils are found in Zaheerabad area of Medak districts and in parts of Nellore, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts. These soils are less fertile. Mango, Cashew and Tamarind trees are mainly grown in laterite soils. Turmeric and Potatoes are also grown.

In addition to the above soils, Sandy soils are found along the coastal areas of the state. Casuarina and Cashew groves are extensively grown in these sandy soils.

A brief details about Soils in India

1 Red soil
a) Formed by Weathering of crystalline and metamorphic rocks.
b) Mixture of clay and sand.
Large parts of T.N, Karnataka, North East Andhra, M.P & Orissa.
a) Red in color because of its high Iron-oxide (FeO) content.
b) Deficient in Nitrogen, Lime, Phosphoric acid and humus.
c) Rich in Potash.
Wheat, Rice, Millet, Pulses (needs fertilizer and irrigation).
2 Black Cotton Soil (or) Regur Soil
a) Is of volcanic origin
b) Lava soil due to disintegration of basalt, formed in the area where it has formed.
c) It is also classified as Cheen ozem
Occurs mainly in Deccan trap covering large areas in Maharashtra, Gujarat, M.P, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu.
a) Deep, fine grained
b) Varying in colour from black to chestnut brown.
c) Rich in Iron, Potash, Lime, Calcium, Alumina, Carbonates & Humus.
d) Moisture retentive, very sticky when wet.
e) Forms deep cracks when dry.
Cotton, Jowar, Wheat, Sugarcane, Linseed, Gram, Fruit & vegetable.
3 Red Soil
a) Formed by weathering of crystalline and metamorphic rocks.
b) Mixture of clay and sand.
Large parts of T.N. Karnataka, North East Andhra, M.P & Orissa.
a) Red in colour because of its high Iron-Oxide (FeO) content.
b) Deficient in nitrogen, lime, phosphoric acid and humus.
c) Rich in Potash.
Wheat, Rice, Millets, Pulses, (needs fertilizer and irrigation)
4 Laterite Soil
Formed due to weathering of lateritic rocks in low temperatures and heavy rainfall with alternating dry & wet period.
Karnataka, Summits of the Western and Eastern Ghats Malwa Plateau, Goa & Kerala.
a) Red in colour because of its high Iron-Oxide (FeO) content.
b) Poor in Nitrogen & Lime, rich in Iron.
c) High content of acidity and inability of retain moisture.
Unsuitable for agriculture due to high content of acidity and inability to retain moisture. Cashew and tropical grow well on it.
5 Arid & Desert Soil
NW India. Covers entire area west of the Aravalis in Rajasthan & parts of Haryana, Punjab & Gujarat.
Rich in Phosphates but poor in Nitrogen.
Fertile if irrigated. e.g: Ganga Nagar area of Rajasthan (Wheat basket of Rajasthan).
6 Saline & Alkaline Soil
It is also called as Reh, Kallar or usar
Arid and Semi-Arid areas of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
a) Soils have effervescence of Sodium, Magnesium, Calcium.
b) Salinity is usually confined to the upper layers and the soil can be reclaimed by improving drainage.
c) Alkalinity is removed by application of Gypsum.
Infertile, requires Soil-reclamation.
7 Forest Soil
In forest and hilly areas.
Himalayan Range, Southern hills of Peninsula.
Rich in organic matter.
a) In some places it shows sign of Podzolisation.
b) Deficient in Potash, Phosphorus & Lime.
c) Needs continued use of fertilizers for good yields.
Plantation Crops like tea, coffee, spices and tropical fruits.
8 Peaty and other Organic Soil
Peaty Soil - Found in Kottayam and Alleppey district of Kerala.
Marshy Soil - Coastal areas of Orissa, W.B, T.N, North Bihar & Almora (U.P).
a) High accumulation or Organic matter & small amount of soluble salts.
b) Deficient in Phosphorus & Potash.
Not conductive to cultivation.

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