As livestock farmers, sometimes we wonder what kind of forage crops are suitable in our farms. The area may be sloping and dry, some are watery, while others are moderate to heavily shaded.
If you are looking for a multipurpose leguminous forage plant that will grow in almost any terrain, Flemingia macrophylla may be the answer.
Flemingia macrophylla is a perennial, deep-rooted, and leafy shrub up to two (2) to three (3) meters high with numerous stems arising from the base. It is often used in sloping areas as contour hedgerows for erosion control together with Desmodium cinereum (a.k.a Desmodium rensonii), Leucaena diversifolia, Indigofera zollingeriana, Calliandra calothyrsus, Calliandra tetragona, Centrosema pubescens, Pueraria phaseoloides, and Calopogonium mucunoides. This also applies in mining and construction sites through hydroseeding.
Farms planted with coconut, palm oil, rubber, fruit trees, and forest trees may use Flemingia macrophylla as a secondary crop. It can be planted under the trees together with crawling leguminous plants such as Centrosema pubescens, Pueraria phaseoloides, and Calopogonium mucunoides. These help suppress weeds, while prunings are use as mulch or forage for livestock.
This plant is sometimes called a dry season forage because they are abundant even during summer months while supply of other forage plants and alternative feeds are limited. When feeding, Flemingia macrophylla is best if mixed with other legumes and grasses.
The Flemingia macrophylla seeds are shiny black or mottled brown. It is globular in shape with a diameter of two (2) to three (3) millimeter. It’s protective outer covering is thick, so it must be soaked in water for at least forty eight (48) hours before planting. A one (1) kilogram of Flemingia seeds can cover two thousand (2,000) to three thousand (3,000) square meters land area if planted at two (2) to three (3) feet apart. It can be planted by hand or through hydroseeding.
Flemingia macroyphylla is tolerant to water logging and drought. It is adaptable to acid and infertile soils. It would grow in open, and moderate to high shaded areas.
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