On the basis of genesis, colour, composition and location, the Indian council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has classified the soils of India into the following eight categories:

Alluvial Soil

These most productive soils are depositional soils transported by steams and winds.

  • They arc largely sandy loam in texture or are mixed with both silt and clay.
  • They are sufficient in phosphorus and potassium, but lack nitrogen and organic matter.
  • These alluvial soils are divided into Bangar (old alluvium) and Khadar (new alluvium).
  • They are found throughout the Indo-Gangetic Plain & river delta of pen-insula. 

Black Soil (Regur Soil)

These are the typical soils developed on the basaltic rocks of the Deccan plateau.

  • This soil is rich in iron, lime and aluminium content, and has high moisture retentive capacity. This soil lacks nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter.
  • It is found mainly in Maharashtra, south and east Gujarat, western Madhya Pradesh, northern Karnataka, northern Andhra Pradesh, north cast Tamil Nadu, south east Rajasthan, etc.
  • Apart from cotton crops like groundnut tobacco sugarcane, pulses and oil seeds are also grown in this soil.
  • This soil is also suitable for dry farming because of its high moisture reten-tive capacity. 

Red and Yellow Soils

These soils have been formed through the weathering of granite, gneiss and shist rocks.

  • The colour is red, because of the presence of iron oxides.
  • Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chotanagpur plateau of Jharkhand have large extend of this soil.
  • This soil lacks nitrogen, phosphorus and humus.
  • It is mainly suitable for the cultivation of coarse grains, pulses and oil seeds. 

Laterite Soils

These are typical soils of the tropical regions with heavy seasonal rainfall alterna-tive with dry seasons.

  • Lime and Silica are leached away with rains and soils rich in iron oxide and aluminium compounds are left behind. 
  • The organic matter nitrogen, phosphate and calcium are low in these soils.
  • They arc found in eastern and western Ghats. Rajmahal hills, parts of Kerala and Karnataka, Parts region of Chotanagapur, Meghalaya plateau, and Assam.
  • The soil is generally of low fertility in which only coarse grains, pulses and oil seeds can be cultivated. 

Arid Soils

Due to dry climate, high temperature and accelerated evaporation, these soils lack moisture and humus content.

  • Iron and phosphorus content is normal.
  • They are found in west Rajasthan, southern Punjab and Haryana and north Gujarat.
  • With irrigation these soils can be better utilised for cultivation. 

Saline Soils ('Usara' soils)

They contain a larger proportion of sodium, potassium and magnesium.

  • They occur in arid and semi-arid regions and water logged and swampy areas.
  • They acquire salts largely because of dry climate and poor drainage.
  • They arc found on southern Punjab and Haryana, west Rajasthan, Kerala, coast, Sunderban area, etc. 

Peaty and Organic Soils

They are found in the area of heavy rainfall where there Is a good grown of veg-etation, hence rich in humus and organic content.

  • It occurs in the northern Bihar, southern Uttaranchal (Almora district) and coastal areas of West Bengal, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. 

Forest Soils

They are formed in the forest areas where sufficient rainfall is available.

  • They are loamy and silty on valley sides and coarse grained in the upslopes.
  • The soil lacks potassium phosphorus and lime, resulting into two fertility. It is more suitable for the plantation crops, like tea, coffee, spices and fruits.
  • This soil is found mainly in Himalayan region, Western Ghat, Eastern Ghat and Hilly region of peninsular India.