Classification and distribution of soils in Rajasthan

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What is Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme?

It is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture. It will be implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments. A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his holding and advice him on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.

What is a Soil Health Card?

SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings. It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N,P,K (Macro-nutrients) ; S (Secondary- nutrient) ; Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micro – nutrients) ; and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters). Based on this, the SHC will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendment required for the farm.

How can a farmer use a SHC?

The card will contain an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of a farmer’s holding. It will show recommendations on dosage of different nutrients needed. Further, it will advise the farmer on the fertilizers and their quantities he should apply, and also the soil amendments that he should undertake, so as to realize optimal yields.

Will the farmer get a card every year and for every crop?

It will be made available once in a cycle of 3 years, which will indicate the status of soil health of a farmer’s holding for that particular period. The SHC given in the next cycle of 3 years will be able to record the changes in the soil health for that subsequent period.

What are the norms of sampling?

Soil samples will be drawn in a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in rain- fed area with the help of GPS tools and revenue maps.

Who will draw the soil sample?

The State Government will collect samples through the staff of their Department of Agriculture or through the staff of an outsourced agency. The State Government may also involve the students of local Agriculture / Science Colleges.

What is the ideal time for soil sampling?

Soil Samples are taken generally two times in a year, after harvesting of Rabi and Kharif Crop respectively or when there is no standing crop in the field.

How will soil samples be collected from a farmer’s field?

Soil Samples will be collected by a trained person from a depth of 15-20 cm by cutting the soil in a “V” shape. It will be collected from four corners and the centre of the field and mixed thoroughly and a part of this picked up as a sample. Areas with shade will be avoided. The sample chosen will be bagged and coded. It will then be transferred to soil test laboratory for analysis.

What is a soil test laboratory?

It is a facility for testing the soil sample for 12 parameters as indicated in reply to question number 2. This facility can be static or mobile or it can even be portable to be used in remote areas.

Who and Where will the soil sample be tested?

The soil sample will be tested as per the approved standards for all the agreed 12 parameters in the following way:

  • At the STLs owned by the Department of Agriculture and by their own staff.
  • At the STLs owned by the Department of Agriculture but by the staff of the outsourced agency.
  • At the STLs owned by the outsourced agency and by their staff.
  • At ICAR Institutions including KVKs and SAUs.
  • At the laboratories of the Science Colleges/Universities by the students under supervision of a Professor/ Scientist.

1.   Old System of Soil Classification:

This system of soil classification is based on the soil as a natural body concept and has a strong genetic bias. According to this classification soils of Rajasthan are classified into eight soil groups.

1. Desert Soils

2. Dunes and Associated Soils

  • This type of soil covers most part of Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Churu.
  • These soils are yellowish brown in colour sandy to sany loam, deep and well drained
  • Calcium carbonate, sometime occur in the form of Kankar nodules which increases with depth.
  • Texture- loamy fine sand to coarse sand and may or may not be calcareous.
  • Cultivation is practiced in rainy season on the slopes of low to medium high dunes and usually rainfed Bajra or Kharif pulse are grown.
  • These have been grouped separately from desert soils as they are only deposited sand and little profile development has taken place.

3. Brown Soils

The brown soil covers most area of Tonk, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Bhilwara, Udaipur and Chittorgarh district and the colour of soils ranges from grayish brown to yellow brown. Rabi crops are grown under irrigation.

Annual Rainfall- 50 cm to 75 cm is sufficient for Kharif crops and Texture- Sandy loam to clay loam.

Major area of these soils is in the catchment area of Banas River and they are rich in calcium salts but have poor organic matter Use of fertilizers becomes essential to get good harvest.

As the ground waters are saline, soils irrigate with these waters have accumulated salts and the Tank irrigated soils have also developed problem of high water table.

4. Sierozems

The Sierozems soil is found in most of the part of Pali, Nagaur, Ajmer, Jaipur, Dausa districts it means this type of soil lies on both the side of Aravalli Hills and they are mostly yellowish brown.

  • The Annual Rainfall range is 50 cm to 70 cm and Texture- Sandy loam to Sandy clay
  • These soils are suitable for cultivation but for low rainfall and high evaporation.
  • Kharif crops are rainfed and Rabi crops are grown through well irrigation.
  • In the Kharif crops Bajra, Jowar, pulses are grown and in Rabi crops wheat, mustard & vegetables are grown.

5. Red Loams

This Soil Covered Part of Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Parent material of these soils is the red sandstone or yellow sandstone which is found in Vindyan rocks. Rainfall- 70 cm to 100 cm and Texture- Sandy loam to sandy.

These soils have rich content of iron-oxide and devoid of calcium salts because calcium salts soluble in water and are easily washed away.

These soils are reddish in colour with granular/crumb structure & well drained and it is suitable for maize, chilies, wheat, and barley and rapeseed cultivation.

6.   Hill Soils (Litho sols)

This type of soil found at the foot hills of Aravalli in Sirohi, Pali, Nagaur, Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Bhilwara and Ajmer and its Colour is – Reddish to yellowish red to yellowish brown but the problem isSoil erosion due to water is another problem of these types of soils.

  • Texture- Sandy loam to clay and well drained.
  • Cultivation of crops in these soils is very much restricting due to shallow nature of these soils and presence of stones on the surface.

 7. Saline Sodic Soils (Solonchaks)

This type of soil found in the natural depressions like the Pachpadra, Sambhar, Deedwana, Ranns of Jalore and Barmer and Saline Sodic soils are seen in the far flood plains of river Ghaggar and in Luni Basin.

The Colour is dark grey to pale brown and Water table is sometime close to surface but Cultivation is not possible due to the impeded drainage and high degree of salinity and the only vegetation consists of some salt tolerant grasses and shrubs.

8. Alluvial Soils:

These soils cover a vast area in north western and south eastern plains of the State. These soils have been brought down by different modern and ancient rivers; therefore, different areas have soils of different characteristics depending upon the source from which the alluvium has been brought and deposited. In Rajasthan alluvial soils are found in the valleys of Ghaggar River, Banas and Chambal river basins and covered part of Sriganganagar, Kota, Bundi, Baran, Jaipur.

Soil Conversation Methods / Techniques in Rajasthan

Soil Conservation methods adopted in Rajasthan:

1.   Adequate Drainage: The solution for salinity & Alkanity of soil is to provide of soil is to provide adequate drainage.

2.   Afforestation: Large scale planting of saplings which act as wind breaks

3. Use of Gypsum: Use of gypsum which is abundantly and cheaply available in Rajasthan, is economical and long term solution to the problem

4.   Shelter Belts: In dry regions rows of trees are planted to check wind movement to protect soil cover.

5.   Grass Development: Plantation of trees & grasses on marginal and sub marginal land.

6.   Contour Barriers: Stone, gross, soils are used to build barrier along contours. Trenches are made in front of the boomers to collect water.

7.   Wind strip cropping: Grass and crop strip at right angle to wind direction.

8.   Stubble Mulching: Crop stubbles are left in the field and next crop planted with minimum tillage.

9.   Contour Bonding: Ravine land can be made cultivable by leveling followed by contour bonding. The medium and deep gullies can also be converted into productive wood lands.

10. Proper Drainage System in canal Project Area: The problem of water logging can be checked and overcome by introducing proper drainage system in the canal project area.

11. Rock Dam: Rock Dam is built to slow down its flow of water.

12. Dry Farming: D.F in and region is a method of conserving soil moisture preventing soil erosion.

13. Mulching: A layer of organic matter is made on soil. It helps to retain soil moisture.

14. Intercropping: Different crops are grown in alternative rows to protect the soil form rain wash.

15. Contour Plugging: Plugging parallel to the contours of a hill slope to form a natural barrier for water to flow down the slope.

16. Terrace Farming: Broad flat steps or terraces are made on the steep slopes so that flat surfaces are available to grow crops. They reduce surface run off & soil erosion.

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