Soil and Agriculture

Types of Soils in India 

1) Black (Regur Soils):

  • These types of Soils are mainly found in Deccan plateau – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Valleys of Krishna and Godavari rivers.
  • These soils are formed by sedimentation of volcanic rocks and Lava flow.
  • These soils are rich in minerals like Potassium, Magnesium, Lime and Iron.
  • Phosphorous, Nitrogen and Organic matter are deficient in Black soils.
  • These soils are suitable for growing of crops like Sugarcane, Jowar, Cotton, tobacco, wheat, rice etc.

2) Alluvial Soils:

  • These types of Soils are mainly found in Great Northern plains like states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand and in Lower valleys of Narmada and Tapi rivers.
  • They are formed by deposition of river sediments into the plains.
  • They are rich in humus content hence are very fertile.
  • These soils get renewed every year.
  • They are also rich in minerals like Potassium and Lime.
  • They are deficient in Nitrogen and Phosphorous content.
  • Crops such as wheat, rice, sugarcane, jute, cotton are grown in these types of soils.

3) Red Soils:

  • These soils are found in whole of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Konkan region of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and parts of Orissa.
  • These are formed by sedimentation of old metamorphic rocks.
  • The red colour is because of the Iron content in these soils. If Iron content is lower, then it is also green or yellow coloured.
  • These are rich in Iron and Potassium.
  • Humus, Nitrogen and phosphorous are deficient in these soils.
  • These soils are suitable for growing of pulses, wheat, rice, sugarcane, etc.

4) Laterite Soils:

  • These soils are present in states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh Tamil Nadu and hilly areas of Orissa and Assam.
  • This type of Soil formation is because of the high intensity leaching.
  • They are rich in Iron Oxide and Potash.
  • Organic matter, phosphate, calcium and Nitrogen are deficient.
  • These are suitable for growing of crops like Cashew nuts, Tea, Coffee, Rubber, etc.

5) Forest and Mountain Soils:

  • These types of soils are found in hilly regions covered with forests like Himalayan slopes, valleys and on higher hills of southern peninsula.
  • They are formed due to deposition of organic matter derived out of forest growth.
  • These are generally brown coloured soils
  • They are deficient in lime, phosphorous and potassium but are very rich in Humus content
  • These are Suitable for growing of Tea, Coffee, Spices and Tropical fruits

6) Arid and Desert Soils:

  • These soils are present in the arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.
  • Sand cover in these regions inhibits the soil growth
  • The high presence of phosphate and nitrates makes these soils fertile, but only in the areas where moisture (rainfall) is present.
  • Drought resistant and Salt tolerant crops like millet, maize, barley, cotton and pulses can be grown in these soils.

7) Saline and Alkaline Soils:

  • These soils are found in drier regions of Haryana, UP, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
  • They are formed because of the deposition of salts transported by rivers, which percolates to the sub soils of the plains.
  • These types of Soils are infertile due to high quantities of Salt content.
  • The infertility of the soil makes it unfit for agriculture.

Kharif Crops of India

Sown in summers between May & July, & harvested after the rains, in September & October.
Eg: Rice, Jowar, Bajra, Maize, Cotton, Jute, Sugarcane, Tobacco, Groundnut, Pulses, etc.

Rabi Crops of India

Sown at the beginning of winter & harvested before the onset of the summer season, between Feb & April.
Eg: Wheat, barley, oilseeds, gram, potatoes, etc.

Zaid Crops

They are raised between April & June.
E.g. : Melon, watermelon, cucumber, toris, leafy & other vegetables.
Cash Crops of India (Commercial Crops)
Grown mainly for the market, only a small portion of the product is consumed by the farmers themselves (cotton,
sugarcane etc.)

  • Sugarcane In                UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka
  • Cotton In                      Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh
  • Jute & Mesta In          WB, Bihar, Asom
  • Tea In                            Asom, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh
  • Coffee In                       Kamalaka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu
  • Rubber In                     Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
  • Tobacco In                   Gujaral, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
  • Silk In                           Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir,Andhra Pradesh. In India all 4 varieties of silk are available: Mulberry, tussar, eri & muga. Mulberry is the main variety, while tussar is  mainly found in Bihar.


Shifting type of cultivation practiced in the hill slopes of Asom, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram & Nagaland. In this, the trees are felled & set on fire. The ash of the burnt trees & the other vegetation adds to the fertility of soil. This land is used for 2-3 years till the soil gets exhausted & the jhum is abandoned.

Top Crop Producing States of India

Food Grains

(1) West Bengal
(2) Uttar Pradesh
(3) Andhra Pradesh
(4) Punjab
(1) Uttar Pradesh
(2) Punjab
(3) Haryana
(4) Madhya Pradesh
(1) Rajasthan
(2) Gujarat
(3) Maharashtra
(1) Maharashtra
(2) Karnataka
(3) Madhya Pradesh
(1) Andhra Pradesh
(2) Karnataka
(3) Rajasthan
(1) Madhya Pradesh
(2) Uttar Pradesh
(3) Maharashtra
(4) Rajasthan
Overall total food grains:
(1) Utter Pradesh
(2) Punjab
(3) Madhya Pradesh

Cash Crops

(1) Uttar Pradesh
(2) Maharashtra
(3) Karnataka
(4) Tamilnadu
(1) Gujarat
(2) Maharashtra
(3) Telangana
(4) Karnataka
(1) Karnataka
(2) Kerala
(3) Tamilnadu
(4) Andhra Pradesh
(1) Assam
(2) West Bengal
(3) Himachal Pradesh
(1) Karnataka
(2) Andhra Pradesh
(3) West Bengal
(1) Kerala
(2) Tamilnadu
(3) Karnataka
(1) Andhra Pradesh
(2) Karnataka
(3) Gujarat

Oil Seed

(1) Gujarat
(2) Andhra Pradesh
(3) Tamilnadu
Soya bean:
(1) Madhya Pradesh
(2) Maharashtra
(3) Rajasthan
(1) Rajasthan
(2) U.P.
(3) Haryana
(1) Karnataka
(2) Andhra Pradesh
(3) Maharashtra
Overall total oil seeds:
(1) Madhya Pradesh
(2) Maharashtra
(3) Rajasthan

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