Morphological Properties of Red and Black Soils of Selected Benchmark Spots in Semi-Arid Tropics of India: Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 21

Bhattacharyya, T and Chandran, P and Ray, S K and Mandal, C and Pal, D K and Venugopalan, M V and Durge, S L and Srivastava, P and Dubey, P N and Kamble, G K and Sharma, R P and Wani, S P and Rego, T J and Ramesh, V and Manna, M C (2006) Morphological Properties of Red and Black Soils of Selected Benchmark Spots in Semi-Arid Tropics of India: Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 21. Monograph. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics , Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the help of the Director and Colleagues of the Division of SoilResource Studies, NBSS&LUP Nagpur and Dr RL Shyampura, Head, NBSS&LUP Udaipur Division;the Heads and Staff of the Regional Centers of NBSS&LUP – Bangalore, Udaipur and Nagpur; Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur and the Regional Fruit Research Station, Katol, Akola. The authors also acknowledge the help of HP Singh, Director (Agro-Ecosystems), CRIDA, Drs KPR Vittal and B Venkateshwarlu and Shri Ashish Roy, CRIDA, Hyderabad; Drs S Subbaih, Chief Scientist, and K Appavu, Professor, Agicultural Research Station, TNAU, Kovilpatti, Dr Subramanian, Station Incharge, Agricultural College, TNAU, Madurai and Mr S Janakiraman, Soil Survey and Land Use Organization, Thirunelveli. The authors appreciate the assistance provided by Mr Farooque Ahmed, Joint Director of Agriculture (Research) and Mr S Sachithanandam, Soil Survey Officer, Mr A Sidhamalai, Assistant Soil Chemist, Soil Survey Land Use Organization; Dr S Natrajan, Professor, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, TNAU, Coimbatore. The authors acknowledge the help of Dr M Shankar, Chief Scientist, GKVK Campus, UAS, Bangalore; Dr NT Yeduraju, Director, NRC for Weed Science,Jabalpur and its Farm Superintendent; Dr KD Singh, Head, Regional Station, CSWCR and TI (ICAR), Kota and Dr SS Mehtre, Senior Cotton Breeder, MPKV, Rahuri. Special gratitude is due to Dr WD Dar, Director General, ICRISAT; SS Raghavendra Rao and Ch Srinivasa Rao. Drs KL Sahrawat and KV Padmaja are thanked for reviewing the report; Mrs Wasudha Khandwe for typing and Ms Sheila Vijayakumar for editing the manuscript. The authors gratefully acknowledge the National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) for funding the project.


Morphological properties of red and black soils are described. Soil depth, color, texture, consistence, structure, roots, coarse fragments, nodules, effervescence, slickensides, cracks and clay cutans are described in sub- humid (moist and dry), semi-arid (moist, dry) and arid ecosystems. Soils under high management are darker in color indicating more soil organic carbon content. Wet consistence such as very sticky and very plastic corresponds with those horizons in black soils showing well developed slickensides. Firm moist consistence may indicate development of sodicity problems provided there are no or very less amount of soil modifiers such as zeolites and gypsum. Higher root density in soils corresponds with lower degree of CaCO3 content as indicated by slighteffervescence with dilute HCl in the field. Black soils contained coarse fragments of 3-8%, 1-10%, 1-10% and 5-15% in sub-humid (moist), semi-arid (moist), semi-arid (dry) and arid bioclimatic system, respectively. In general, the degree of effervescence is in line with size and quantity of coarse fragments and calcium concretions observed in the field. In general black soils under high management show slickensides at lower depths. With decrease in mean annual rainfall, the depth of occurrence of slickensides decreases from 60 cm in sub-humid (moist) to 30 cm in semi-arid (dry) bioclimate. Management interventions including irrigation in drier tracts push the slickensides further down in the profile. The formation of Sodic Haplusterts indicate poor organic carbon accumulation but a very high inorganic carbon sequestration in soils of dry part of the arid bioclimatic system. It manifests natural chemical degradation of soils with mean annual rainfall of <550 mm.

Item Type: Monograph (Monograph)
Subjects: Others > Soil Science
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2011 05:33
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2011 05:33
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