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Soil and Crops - A Detailed Summary

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Soil and Crops - An Introduction

Earth is made up of various elements that contribute to the whole ecosystem. The main elements of nature on which our survival depends are water, land, air, and soil.

Water is used for drinking purposes, land for habitats, air for oxygen, and soil for the consumption of food through agriculture.

Agriculture plays a very important role in the Indian Economy as it is the backbone of our country. Nearly 70% of the Indian population depends on agriculture for food and money.

In order to obtain sustainable food crops, it is very important to maintain the good quality of the soil. Soil plays a crucial role in providing nutrients to the plants, storing and filtering rainwater, providing water to various crops, and preventing pollution.

What is Soil?

  • Soil is the surface material composed of various organic matters, minerals, and microorganisms that is found on the uppermost layer of the earth’s crust.

  • They provide structural support to the plants that are used in the agricultural processes and are also the prime source of various nutrients, minerals, and water.

  • Soils differ in their chemical and physical properties depending on the climate and regions they are found in.

  • Each soil has unique properties which are favourable for various practices such as agriculture.

  • The physical characteristics of soil include texture, colour, structure, porosity, etc.

Types of Soils

There are different types of soil found in various parts of the country. They are as follows:

  • Black Cotton Soil

  • Laterite Soil

  • Mountainous or Forest Soil

  • Arid or Desert Soil

  • Alluvial Soil

  • Peaty and Marshy Soil

  • Saline and Alkaline Soil

What are Crops?

  • Crops are plants that are cultivated and harvested by the farmers during the agricultural process.

  • The cultivation of crops depends mainly on climate conditions and soil.

Types of Crops

There are different types of crops grown depending on the type of conditions and regions they are grown in.

Kharif Crops

  • These crops are grown in the monsoon season as they require a lot of water and hot weather for proper growth.

  • The seeds are sown at the beginning of the monsoon season and harvested later at the end of the season.

  • Examples include maize, cotton, millets, etc.

Rabi Crops

  • These crops are grown in the winter season. The word rabi means spring which is why the crops are later harvested in the spring season.

  • Examples include mustard, gram, and wheat.

Zaid Crops

  • Some crops' ideal conditions are different from different crops and require a warm climate for the germination and maturation of seeds but require a cold climate for growth.

  • These crops are grown between Kharif and Rabi seasons and are called Zaid Crops.

  • Examples - Watermelon, bitter gourd, pumpkin, and cucumber.

Cash Crops

  • The crops which are cultivated to be sold in the market to earn money are called cash crops.

  • These crops are sold in national and international markets.

  • Examples of cash crops are coffee, cotton, sugarcane, cocoa, etc.

Food Crops

  • The crops that are grown for consumption by the human population are called food crops.

  • There are a variety of food crops grown in our country.

  • Most of the staple food of the Indian population consists of food crops which are as follows:

  • Rice - It is a Kharif crop and the staple food of the majority of regions in the country. It requires heavy rainfall, high temperature, and humidity to assure proper growth.

  • Wheat - It is a rabi crop, the most important crop for the people in the north and north-western parts.

  • Pulses - India is known as the largest consumer and producer of pulses. Pulses can also be grown in dry conditions.

  • Millets - Millets include crops like jowar, bajra, and ragi. These crops are found in regions with continuous rainfall for a year.

Crops Grown in Different Types of Soil

Types of Soil

Suitable Crops

Alluvial Soils

The crops that are grown in alluvial soil are tobacco, rice, wheat, bajra, chickpea, soybean, cotton, mustard, groundnut, sesame, barley, maize, oilseeds, etc.

Black Soil

There is always a question regarding which soil is ideal for growing cotton. Black soil or cotton soil is good in moisture and hence is very suitable for growing cotton.

The other crops which can be grown in black soil are sugarcane, wheat, jawar, rice, citrus fruits, sunflower, linseed, etc.

Red and Yellow Soil

The crops suitable for red and yellow soil are maize, groundnut, rice, fruits like mango, orange, vegetables, potato, and pulses.

Laterite Soil

Laterite soil is useful for growing coffee, rubber, coconut, wheat cultivation, cotton, cashew, and rice cultivation.

Forest Soil

Crops grown in forest soil are tea, spices, barley, tropical fruits, wheat, maize, and coffee.

Interesting Facts

  • Soil has the property of storing water beneath it and it is known that soil holds about 0.1% of the earth's soil.

  • There are three different layers of soil, mainly subsoil, topsoil, and the parent rock.

Important Questions

1. How many types of soil are found in India?

Ans: There are seven types of soil that are found in India; they are black Cotton Soil, Laterite Soil, Mountainous or Forest Soil, Arid or Desert Soil, Alluvial Soil, Peaty, and Marshy Soil, and Saline and Alkaline Soil

2. How is soil formed in nature?

Ans: Soil is formed by natural processes such as wind, temperature, and rain. The parent rock is first disintegrated and eroded by rains, followed by cracking and freezing and the top layer we will get is soil.

Key Features

  • Soil particles can be found in various sizes such as coarse, fine soil, grave soil, and clay soil.

  • Crops can also be used as a clothing material, as cotton cloths are made of cotton.

  • Crops are useful in many ways but they can also be used to control soil erosion.

Last updated date: 27th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Soil and Crops - A Detailed Summary

1. What is Soil Erosion?

Soil Erosion is a type of naturally occurring process which degrades the soil and makes them infertile. The top portion of the soil is loosened or washed away due to wind or water during cyclones and floods. There are various causes of soil erosion such as agricultural processes, grazing, heavy rainfall, mining, construction work, etc. Due to soil erosion, various other problems arise such as air pollution, deforestation, and clogging of water in rivers, and streams.

2. Give characteristics and features of black soil and laterite soil.

  • Black Soil - These types of soil are rich in iron, magnesium, aluminium, and lime. The soil gets its black colour from various salts during salt formation. Black soil contains a large amount of clay in them and is sandy in hilly regions. These soils are formed due to the weathering of the lava rocks.

  • Laterite Soil - Laterite soils are very rich in iron but poor in organic matter. These soils are acidic in nature and are not very fertile. This soil is also used to make bricks due to the presence of a high amount of iron.

3. What is clay soil and how is clay soil useful for growing crops?

Clay soil is a very fine natural type of soil containing clay minerals. Clay soil develops plasticity when wet but becomes hard upon drying. This type of soil is suitable for growing crops because it is good at retaining water and is rich in humus and very fertile in nature. The crops that can be cultivated in clay soil are buckwheat, clover, winter wheat, and vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale.