Soils of Odisha

Soils of Odisha

  • Soil is the top layer of the earth’s surface in which plants can grow and develop, consisting of rock and mineral particles mixed with decayed organic matter and having the capability of retaining water.
  • Soil Profile The soil profile is defined as a vertical section of the soil that is exposed by a soil pit. A soil pit is a hole which is dug from the surface of the soil to the underlying bedrock.

Soil of Odisha

  • Soils of Odisha are mainly developed by the relief, parent material, their feature and climate. The biotic features, mainly the natural vegetation and their condition follow the climatic pattern.
  • Soils of Odisha have been divided mainly into 8 broad soil groups which are given in detail here.Soils of Odisha

Red soils

  • The main characteristic is coarse texture, single grained to weakly granular structured surface soil, highly porous with low available water holding capacity.
  • Red soil covers about 7.14 million hectare of lands and being the highest coverage of all soil groups of the state, extend to the districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Nawrangpur, Malkanagiri, Keonjhar, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bolangir, Dhenkanal and Mayurbhanj of the state.
  • These conditions put severe limitations for rainfed farming.
  • These soils lack salinity and do not contain any lime kankar or free carbonate.
  • The red colour is due to presence of iron oxides in the soil.
  • These soils are reasonably acidic.
  • This soil is normally deficient in nitrogen, organic matter and molybdenum.
  • Boron deficiency symptoms have been practical in vegatable crops.
  • The added phosphorus is normally fixed in these soils due to presence of free iron and aluminium oxides.

Laterite and lateritic soils

  • These soils contain lateritic mass within control section of the solil profile.
  • Lateritic soils occupy 0.70 million hectare of lands in the districts of Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanja and Sambalpur.
  • The lateritic mass is characterized by squashed to vesicular sometimes honey-combed structure, composed essentially of a mixture of hydrated oxides of iron and aluminium with small amount of manganese and titanium oxides and quartz as a compulsory diluent.
  • These soils are extremely permeable and are poor in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium.
  • They are normally acidic in nature.

Red and yellow soils

  • They occur as a centenary association in undulating and rolling terrains which vary in depth, texture, colour and cropping systems.
  • These soils occupy 5 million hectare of lands being the second highest in area.
  • These soils occur in the district of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Deogarh, and Sundargarh of the State.
  • Soils of uplands are reasonably coarser in texture having red and yellowish red colour, shallow in depth and are well drained.
  • Ferrugenous nodules are consistently met within these soils.
  • Soils are relatively more acidic than those of lower reaches.
  • The soils of low lying areas, particularly of bottom land situation are formed on colluvial, and alluvial deposits.
  • These are of very fine texture, deep and show pale yellow greyish and olive shade of colour.
  • They occasionally show effect of mottling because of submergence in monsoon and drying thereafter.
  • The cropping systems followed in yellow soils is rice subsequently pulses/oilseeds with residual soil moisture or supplementary irrigation and that followed in upland red soils is monocrop of pulses/oilseed/millets.

Coastal salt affected alluvial soils

  • Alluvial soils with high total soluble salts (Electrical conductivity greater than 4 mmhos/cm) are included under this group of soils.
  • Nearly 0.254 million hectare of saline soils are distributed in the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri, Khurda and Ganjam.
  • The salinity of soil may be because of littoral deposits or the incursions of brackish tidal water.
  • The salts are chiefly composed of chlorides and sulphates of sodium, magnesium and to a lesser extent of calcium and potassium.
  • Bicarbonates and carbonates are hardly ever found.
  • Soils in lacustrine sediments of the lake Chilka also get exaggerated by salts due to flooding of brakish lake water during monsoon and a buildup of subsoil salinity due to high ground water table under low lying situation of the soil.

Deltic alluvial soils

  • These soils have inconsistent texture ranging from coarse sands to clays, depending upon the geomorphology of flood plain and the type of alluvium carried by the flowing river.
  • Those soils cover 0.67million hectare of lands and occur in the deltaic regions of the rivers such as Mahanadi, Brahamani, Baitarani, Subarnarekha and Rushikullya in the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Puri, Gajapati and Ganjam.
  • The delta areas of the state show four well defined divisions from north to south  of the state such as
  1. North Balsore Region having sandy or sandy loam soil,
  2. Delta of Baitarani and Brahmani Region with soil varying from clay loam to stiff clay,
  3. Delta of Mahanadi Region with soils stratified into clay, silt sand and grets and
  4. Rushikulya Delta Region which is sandier in nature.
  • These soils are normally fertile, but soils with low nitrogen and phosphorus are also found.
  • The sandy alluviums of river Subarnarekha are deficit in potassium.

Black soils

  • These are created due specific lithology or topography.
  • These soils occur sporadically in the districts of Puri, Ganjam, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bolangir, Sonepur, Boudh, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Angul
  • The Black soil is covering an area of 96 million hectare of lands.
  • Parent rocks of basic granulites, calc-gniess, pyroxenites and granodorites are favorable to formation of black soils.
  • These rocks regularly contain plagioclases in appreciable amounts, which on weathering makes the soil environment rich in calcium.
  • A lime kankar zone at some depth in the profile and free carbonates are typically present.
  • Soils display deep and wide cracks in summer seasons.
  • The texture of the Black Soil is clay and the structure is angular blocky.
  • The water infiltration in the soils is very slow and erosion on upland situation is relentless.
  • Soils are low to moderate in nitrogen and potassium, rich in calcium.
  • Soils are moderately alkaline (pH 7.5 to 8.5) in Nature.

Mixed red and black soils

  • The soil occupies about 0.16 million hectare of lands in the western districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sonepur and Bolangir
  • Centenary configurations of such soils are encountered in areas of predominately red soils.
  • Red soils usually occur on upland ridges, while black soils are found on lower topographic situations, due to enrichment of calcium on their exchange complex, fine textured colluvium and alluvium.

Brown forest soils

  • These soils being associated with forest areas are distributed in the districts of Phulbani, Kandhamal, Rayagada and parts of Ganjam and Nayagarh and cover about 0.17 million hectare.
  • These are mainly brown coloured, formed in connection with forest growth.
  • The organic matter is moderate to high in this type of soils.
  • These are fertile, slightly acidic and are suited for horticultural crops in higher elevations of the state.

Agro-Calimatic Zone of Odisha and Soil

Sl. NoAgro-Climatic ZoneMain DistrictsSoil Group
1North western plateauSundargarhMixed red & yellow
2North central plateauKeonjharRed
3North eastern coastal plainBalasoreCoastal alluvial
4East & south eastern coastal plainPuri & CuttackDeltaic alluvial & laterite
5North eastern ghatPhulbaneRed loam & brown forest
6Eastern Ghat highlandKoraputRed & laterite
7South eastern GhatKoraputRed
8Western undulatingKalahandiRed & black
9West central tableSambalpur BolngirMixed red & black
10Mid central table landDhenkanalRed & laterite


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