Description of practice

Leguminous crops are those which belong to the pea family (Leguminosae). Plants in this family generally have root nodules hosting rhizobium bacteria that fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. When plant residues decompose, this fixed nitrogen can increase soil nitrogen content.

Examples of how to use leguminous crops Further information
(see Note below)

AMP68 01

Leguminous annuals

Leguminous annuals (such as crimson clover, hairy vetch and field peas) are used in a crop rotation to fix nitrogen in the soil for the next year or growing season.



AMP68 02

Fodder legumes

Leguminous crops are often used as a relay crop or intercropped with maize, millet and rice to enhance the soil fertility. Fodder legumes are viable alternatives in regions with an established diary industry.


»WOCAT technology 1753

AMP68 03

Leguminous crop in plots temporarily set outside the crop rotation

A plot is cultivated with perennials legumes and set temporarily outside the crop rotation for 4-5 years to recover its soil fertility and reduce the need for biocides while providing supplemental income.


»WOCAT technology 2963

AMP68 04

Leguminous perennials

Leguminous perennial crops (such as red, white and sweet clover) are used to fix nitrogen in the soil for the next couple of years.



AMP68 05

Leguminous shrubs

Leguminous shrubs and trees are used to fix nitrogen to the soil for multiple years. These species often also enhance the biodiversity in an area but are not commonly used within agricultural practice.



AMP68 06

Leguminous tree shelterbelts

Barriers of leguminous trees or shrubs are established along field boundaries to provide a favourable micro-climate and protect against wind erosion. They also enhance soil properties by fixing nitrogen to the soil and providing organic matter.


»WOCAT technology 1338
»Feedipedia - Siamese senna

Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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