Different Soils of Andhra Pradesh

Water from the Himalayas eventually reaches the river deltas where alluvial soil is formed.
••• mount Pumori Himalayas image by Rover from Fotolia.com

When you walk from your home across your garden, you likely don't put in too much thought about the soil beneath your feet. However, soil fuels the growth and development of much of life on Earth. Not only does soil provide plant life with a medium for which to spread its roots, but also contains imperative nutrients for plant growth, and thus, animal life.

The state of Andhra Pradesh in India contains many bountiful soils of a wide variety. This soil is the basis for the prolific agriculture in Andhra Pradesh, which supports approximately 60% of the population in the state. In fact, the state is one of the foremost producers of a variety of agricultural products, including poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains and cotton.

The Six Different Soils of Andhra Pradesh

You might come across several different soils depending on where you are in Andhra Pradesh. These soils range from less-fertile varieties to highly prolific soils used by farmers. The six different soils of Andhra Pradesh are:

  1. Red soil
  2. Black soil
  3. Deltaic alluvial soils
  4. Coastal alluvial soils
  5. Laterite soil
  6. Skeletal Soils

Red Soils of Andhra Pradesh

Red soils make up approximately 66% of the cultivated regions across the state. You can primarily find this type of soil in the districts of Rayalaseema. It has poor nutrients and does not provide much agricultural value. Though generally referred to under the umbrella of "red soil," six specific sub-categories exist under this title, including:

  1. Sandy loams containing clay in the sub-soil
  2. Deep loam sand
  3. Silty loams
  4. Clay/sand loam mixtures
  5. Sandy loams known as ​chalkas
  6. Dubba soils

Black Soils of Andhra Pradesh

Another 25% of cultivated areas within Andhra Pradesh consist of black soils. Some common characteristics of black soils are poor drainage, low nitrogen and low phosphorous. Black soils are, however, high in potash and calcium concentrations. You can generally divide the black soils into two categories – those pre-existing in the area and those that have been transported from somewhere else.

Alluvial Soils of Andhra Pradesh

The deltaic alluvial soils and coastal alluvial soils make up approximately 5% of soil in the state. They are the richest soils in the region and support the most agricultural production across the state. You can find them primarily along the Godavari and Krishna delta regions, though they also occur in the Nellore, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Guntur districts.

The rivers supplying these regions refresh these soils with a supply of nutrient-rich silt that supports fertile agriculture. This makes the deltaic soils along the river deltas, regions that the rivers deposit the most sediment, the most fertile of the various soils throughout Andhra Pradesh. Along with other minor coastal rivers, some of the most important river systems supplying nutrients to the soils are the Vamsadhara, Pennar, Krishna and Godavari river systems.

Lateritic Soils of Andhra Pradesh

Approximately 1% of the state contains lateritic soils. They can vary in color, ranging from red or brown to black. Though typically well-drained, these soils have poor fertility and high acidity. You can find pockets of these soils within the Nellore, Srikakulam, western Medak, Eastern Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts. Though not appropriate for most agriculture, these soils can produce oilseeds and some legumes.

Skeletal Soils of Andhra Pradesh

As their bleak name suggests, skeletal soils lack any nutritional value and do not support plant life. They are infertile, and you can find them in heavily eroded regions, such as foothills and slopes. You can find them in sloping regions of the Cuddapah and Prakasam regions. For example, they are present along the Badvel and Jammalamadugu regions of the Cuddapah district.

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