Black cotton soil in rural India
by Steffen Schweizer, Soil Science, Technical University of Munich, Germany, Freising, Germany
This clay-rich soil covers vast areas in India, East Australia, and East Africa and provides both opportunities and challenges for farmers. Although soil management is difficult, the black cotton soils have a great yield potential in semi-arid regions with irregular rainfall since they have a high water holding capacity that enables crops to survive longer in case of drought. The inherent shrink–swell capacity when interacting with water give the soil its name in the WRB classification: Vertisol comes from the Latin word vertere which means to rotate. Because the thick roots of the cotton plant can withstand the shear strain of the clay-rich soil, most black cotton soils are used for cotton production.
Steffen Schweizer (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)