Different Soils of Andhra Pradesh

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Monsoon seasons, rich mineral and organic deposits and highly undulating slopes affect the soil composition of this fertile southeasterly Indian state. Soil and vegetation are important to Andhra Pradesh, because the state depends on agriculture -- particularly rice production -- for economic growth. With its high annual crop yields, Andhra Pradesh is estimated to contribute roughly half of the food used in India’s publicly distributed food system, according to the journal "Combat Law." Four main soil types can be found in the state.

Alluvial Soils

Soil is made fertile in Andhra Pradesh by alluvium deposition, whereby fine soil particles collect in riverbeds as currents gradually slow, losing their ability to carry larger particles. These fine particles collect in river deltas in the eastern coastal plains -- Mahanadi River, Godavari River, Krishna River and Kaveri River -- where they are used to farm crops. Alluvial soils consist of optimal ratios of silt, sand and clay and carry potash, lime and phosphoric acid. According to the journal "Agricultural Water Management," alluvial soil covers 40 percent of India’s total land mass

Black Soils

Like the prairie soil found in the United States, black soil contains a high concentration of calcium and magnesium carbonates and is relatively abundant in iron, lime magnesia and alumina. However, black soils are poor in phosphorous and nitrogen and contain little organic matter. Black soil is dark and fine-grained.

Red Soils

Red soils are composed of weathered crystalline and metamorphic rock and get their color from a high diffusion of iron. Red soils are poor in nitrogen, phosphorous and humus; they are poorer still in lime, potash, iron oxide and phosphorous. Red soils are often found in Southern India beside yellow soil high in ferric oxide, from which it gets its color.

Lateritic Soils

Lateritic soils consist primarily of hydrated oxides of aluminum and iron formed during humid monsoon season, when siliceous (silica) rock matter is weathered from its source. Like red soils, lateritic soils appear red. Lateritic soils are typically more acidic than soils used for farming.


  • India Together: Combat Law
  • "Agricultural Water Management": Minimal Irrigation in the Semi-Arid Tropics of Adhra Pradesh, India; K. Vijayalakshmi, K. P. R. Vittal and U. M. B. Rao; 1989

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Anthony Klein has been a freelance writer since 2008. His journalism has appeared in "Toronto Life" and "The Globe and Mail," among other local and national publications. Klein has a Master of Arts in political science from the University of British Columbia.

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