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Soil Types in Bundelkhand

 
  A yellowish, light-coloured variety of red soil is found across UP Bundelkhand

Above an impervious layer of rock that is found at depths of 6 to 15 metres, several kinds and grades of soil are found across Bundelkhand.

Broadly, the soils fall into two categories: red soils and black soils. Across Bundelkhand, soils of both categories have poor organic content.

Red soil, locally called pathari, are found over granites, from which it is derived, and is seen in shades of brown, yellow or grey, depending on the iron content. The soil is rich in potash, but has poor phosphate and nitrogen constituents. It is hence not suitable for farming; some varieties of trees can however be grown in it.

A yellowish, light-coloured variety of red soil, called parua, is sandy and has some clay content. It is well aerated and easily accepts water. Parua soil is found across UP Bundelkhand and is suited for cultivation of wheat.

Two kinds of black soils are found Bundelkhand. The first, known as kabar, resembles black cotton soils of central India. Its colour varies from dark black to grey black and brownish black. It has high clay content; hence it is highly adhesive, retains moisture, and quickly turns dry and into hard blocks.

Kabar is found in both Bundelkhand Upland and Bundelkhand Plains (see Bundelkhand Sub-regions). In UP, it is seen in parts of Lalitpur, Jalaun, Banda and Hamirpur. In MP the soil is found across Sagar district and in many  other places, such as the Sonar valley in Damoh district, where one commonly found local variety is called mund; there are also varieties with other names.

The soil is suitable for cultivation of gram and jowar, but requires careful handling.

The second variety of black soil, called mar, is what is generally called black cotton soil. It has high clay content and is prone to waterlogging. The soil has relatively high organic matter content, and hence can be cropped without use of fertilisers. However, like kabar, it requires careful handling. Time for ploughing has to be selected carefully; the soil can be either too dry or it  too wet for tilling.

Mar is Bundelkhand's most prized soil, and wheat, gram and rice are cropped on it. The soil is found in parts of the districts of Jalaun (Konch tehsil), Hamirpur (Maudaha, Rath tehsils), Jhansi (Mauranipur, Moth) and Banda (Banda tehsil). In small patches, it is found in other districts as well, such as in southern Lalitpur, and parts of Sagar district.

Apart from the red and black soils, some varieties of loamy, alluvial soils are found along river banks. Among these, the rankar variety is stony and found on sloping surfaces of ravine land. It is a highly degraded kind of coarse soil. However, where irrigation is available, the soil is suitable for cultivation of jowar, til and bajra.

A variety of rankar, called moti rankar, is deteriorated mar soil and can be made productive; the soil is hence prized in parts of Tikamgarh and Jhansi districts, where it is found. A variety of rankar in Banda district has stones of various sizes.

Dark soils found along river beds, known as kacchar and tari soils, are used to grow water melons and vegetables.

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