Green manure crops are crops that are grown to be turned under to increase soil fertility. Leguminous green manure crops ( i.e., those which can make nitrogen fertilizers from atmospheric nitrogen) can offer small-scale farmers a tremendous number of advantages.

In general GMCCs:

  • provide large quantities of nitrogen for the soil.
  • add many tons of organic matter to the soil, thereby improving topsoil depth, water-holding capacity, nutrient content, friability, and texture of the soil.
  • present no transportation problems, in contrast to compost and chemical fertilizers.
  • require no capital outlay after the initial purchase of a handful of seed. Because they require no chemical inputs, dependency on outside sources of fertilizer, nutrients, and pesticides is reduced.
  • can shade the soil up to eleven months out of the year, a factor extremely important in tropical climates for preservation of soil moisture and organic matter.
  • cover they provide for the soil protects it from wind and water erosion.
  • provide generous amounts of high protein fodder for animals, which can be especially valuable if it is available during the last months of the dry season.
  • sometimes provide human food, including various kinds of edible beans, peas, and pods.
  • can provide income, by selling firewood, food or feed.
  • often provide an incentive for people to abandon harmful traditional practices, such as burning crop residues or letting animals loose in the dry season to devour everything in sight.
  • when intercropped with basic grains, can control weeds, thereby eliminating costly weeding operations


  1. 26/5/2017 Al integrar leguminosas en los sistemas de cultivos, los pequeños productores que trabajan en contextos de bajos recursos pueden invertir en la salud y resistencia a largo plazo de sus suelos. El éxito o el fracaso depende en gran medida en escoger la(s) leguminosa(s) apropiada(s). Teniendo eso...
  2. 1/1/1985 Cultivos de estiércol verde son plantas que [muchas veces en Norteamérica] se cultivan para incorporar en la tierra para aumentar la fertilidad del suelo. Los estiércoles verdes leguminosos (por ej., aquellos que pueden funcionar como fertilizantes de nitrógeno con la conversión de nitrógeno...
  3. Los AVCC son cultivos de rápido crecimiento que cubren y protegen el suelo, y se dejan como mantillo o se incorporan durante el arado para enriquecer el suelo. Las legumbres son priorizadas por su capacidad para fijar nitrógeno. Pueden establecerse a partir de semillas, pero algunas echan raíces...
  4. This green manure cover crop selection tool is an interactive way to discover which varieties are appropriate for your unique situation. By changing the conditions and requirements a prioritized list of potentially appropriate crops is generated. Each of these plants can be sourced through the...
  5. Session:The major factor in the increase in droughts across Africa has been caused mostly by the gradual death of fallowing, and the resulting decrease in rainwater infiltration from about 60% down to 20% in most areas. GM/CCs are the only feasible way to save Africa from the rapidly increasing...
  6. Recurso clave
    21/5/2019 Ahora disponible en Amazon tanto comolibrería de ECHO Los pequeños productores alrededor del mundo enfrentan algunas de las condiciones para cultivo más duras a nivel global, y aún así producen la mayor parte del alimento del planeta. Los suelos en estas áreas a menudo carecen de nutrientes y de...
  7. Recurso clave
    14/11/2012 La UNCCD estima que más de 250 millones de personas quedan afectadas por la degradación de terrenos, y casi mil millones de personas en más de 100 países están en peligro. Según la WMO, 33% de la superficie de la tierra es vulnerable para la degradación de terreno. En términos más regionales,...
  8. Recurso clave
    28/9/2016 Debido al crecimiento de la población humana, los agricultores en muchas partes del mundo no tienen más opciones que cultivar su terreno de manera continua, con pocos recursos para reemplazar nutrientes gastados con cada cultivo sucesivo. Los residuos de los cultivos se pierden frecuentemente en...
  9. This group pageexists so that individuals involved in GMCCaround the world can connect. We encourage you to share the challenges you face in your GMCCendeavors, discuss lessons and techniques learned through your experiences, and share your story!
  10. 1/10/2005 La mayoría de los cultivos en los trópicos de tierras bajas se desarrollan mejor con una sombra del 10 al 15 por ciento, la cual puede ser obtenida sembrando árboles cada 10 o 15 metros en todas las direcciones. Muchos pequeños productores ya utilizan esta técnica, especialmente en el sureste de...
  11. 30/3/2017 El cacahuete forrajero es una hierba perenne nativa de Brasil que se encuentra en toda América del Sur y tiene muchos usos.
  12. 20/4/2014 EDN 122 resaltó las variedades multipropósito del caupí con enredaderas extendidas que cubren el suelo. A continuación presentamos una actualización de investigación de ECHO proveniente de Sudáfrica relatando nuestras experiencias a la fecha con una variedad de caupí en cultivo intercalado con...
  13. 8/4/2016 Un informe de Roland Bunch referente a sus esfuerzos para promover abonos verdes y cultivos de cobertura en África.
  14. 1/7/2011 This article is from ECHO Asia Note #10 Introduction During the late rainy season, the permanent hill fields that surround a cluster of hilltribe villages in the Chiang Dao district of northern Thailand radiate various hues of green. These verdant fields, belonging to ethnic Lisu, Lahu, Akha,...
  15. 30/4/2015 Recientemente conocimos de correspondencia entre varios miembros de la red sobre el tema de Agricultura de Conservación (AC) en áreas lluviosas. La información parecía ser potencialmente útil para otros miembros de la red de ECHO de manera que la compartimos aquí.
  16. 20/1/2005 Cover cropping is Fundamental #7. It is the technique of growing plants that protect the soil to conserve topsoil and moisture. It can be considered a living mulch. Under sowing legumes below existing crops and other companion plants will work well. You get all the advantages of mulching; soil...
  17. 20/1/2005 Green fertilizer is Fundamental #5. It feeds the next crop efficiently. As you plow crop residue into the soil it will eventually become humus and fertilizer for following crops. It is a form of composting, in which materials do not need to be transported to a mixing/composting site. You could...
  18. 20/4/2004 Rice bean (Vigna umbellata) is one of the top five most commonly grown green manure/cover crops in the world.
  19. 27/10/2014 The following photos were all taken in the fields or homes of practicing farmers in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Benin, Cameroon, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia
  20. 19/1/2017 Dr. Motispresented an overview of the use of tropical legumes as green manure/cover crops. Drawing on findings from ECHO research, this talk will cover 1) benefits of legumes, 2) basic characteristics and growth requirements of some commonly grown legumes, and 3) ways to integrate these into...
  21. 8/2/2017 Cover crops play a key role in sustainable agriculture by providing sustainable sources of nutrients as well as protective soil cover to minimize erosion and reduce moisture stresses. Examples of successful cover cropping systems in East Africa will be illustrated as well as constraints and...
  22. 7/2/2017 Pigeon pea is an important green manure/cover crop with multiple agronomic and market impacts for small farmers, and fits ideally in a conservation agriculture system. Kilimo Markets integrates value chains through enhancing production, inputs supply chains especially seed for which it is...
  23. 8/2/2017 Dolichos lablab is an under estimated crop which recently is finding its niche Presenter :Wilfred L Mariki is a retired Principal Agricultural Research Officer, from Selian Agricultural Research Institute who pioneered a country program to introduce CA in Tanzania 1999 – 2011, under FAO-UN. He...
  24. 20/1/2002 The conventional view of the relationship between soil nutrients and crop productivity in the tropics is leading to both damaging agricultural policies and inefficient and damaging farm-level practices. There is no need to use the huge quantities of chemical fertilizers that are so often...
  25. 20/4/2013 El artículo por Dov Pasternak sobre lablab (en este número) me recordó el material en los archivos de ECHO de hace varios años. Reimar von Schaaffhausen, trabajando en São Paulo, Brasil, envió artículos y cartas a lo largo de los años sobre el valioso papel que el lablab (y el frijol gandul...
  26. 7/2/2017 Pigeon pea is an important green manure/cover crop with multiple agronomic and market impacts for small farmers, and fits ideally in a conservation agriculture system. Presenter : Said Silim has recently retired from a distinguished career in international development from ICRISAT, and helped to...
  27. This group page exists so that individuals involved in GMCC around the world can connect. We encourage you to share the challenges you face in your GMCC endeavors, discuss lessons and techniques learned through your experiences, and share your story!
  28. AccessAgriculture Training Video In the coastal savanna of West Africa, farmers explain how a mucuna cover crop helped to revive their highly degraded soil, and suppress the noxious weeds Striga and Imperata. They show how to grow it to benefit your maize and cassava, and why discussing land...
  29. The Tropical Forages websiteis a collaborative effort between CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (Qld), Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The website is designed to enable...
  30. Abstract,Agronomía Mesoamericana, 2017 El objetivo de este trabajo fue realizar un diagnóstico sobre el conocimiento que tienen agricultores de papaya, palma aceitera y banano de Costa Rica, sobre coberturas vivas y la disposición a implementarlas. Se construyó un instrumento de evaluación que...
  31. 23/5/2017 This presentation on Gree Manure Cover Cropsseeks to answer the question: How do we achieve all of these objectives (profitability, practically, resiliency, reduced reliance on fossil-fuels, sustainability) when land is limited/degraded, inputs are unavailable or unattainable, labor is scarce,...
  32. Este documento distingue entre cultivos de cobertura de “ancla” (que se intercalan con un cultivo principal como el maíz) y cultivos de cobertura secundarios (que no compiten con el cultivo principal porque tienen un ciclo de vida corto y pueden ayudar a cubrir el suelo al inicio de la temporada...
  33. Session :Green manure/cover crops are the only feasible way for smallholder farmers to significantly increase the organic matter content of their basic grain fields (that is, anything over 0.5 ha) at a reasonable cost. We can now say that we know of good species and systems that will work in...
  34. 19/11/2019 Session :Green manure/cover crops are the only feasible way for smallholder farmers to significantly increase the organic matter content of their basic grain fields (that is, anything over 0.5 ha) at a reasonable cost. We can now say that we know of good species and systems that will work in...
  35. Ed : While not dealing specifically with tropical crops, some of the management situations discussed can be adapted for consideration in other contexts. Farmers around the country (US) are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use...
  36. Recurso clave
    20/1/2013 About 98% of agricultural production in the Sudano Sahelian region of West and Central Africa is based on rainfed crops. With a mean annual rainfall of 300 to 800 mm/year, the number of staple crops is very limited. It includes two grain crops: pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) for sandy soils...
  37. Session:By using green manure/cover crops, rural families can make sure theyhave enough calories, with or without droughts. By growing ediblegm/ccs (nearly all of which are leguminous, they can get enough proteins.By drying and storing the leaves of lablab beans or cowpeas, they can add to their...
  38. 26/11/2019 Session:By using green manure/cover crops, rural families can make sure theyhave enough calories, with or without droughts. By growing ediblegm/ccs (nearly all of which are leguminous, they can get enough proteins.By drying and storing the leaves of lablab beans or cowpeas, they can add to their...
  39. 26/11/2019 Session: Permanent ground cover is one of the fundamental principles of conservation agriculture. This coverage can be achieved by keeping crop residues on the ground, but if the time between harvest and installation of the next crop is large, it may be necessary to install other cover plants...
  40. 19/1/1984 Leucaena leucocephala ("koa haole"-Hawaii; ipil ipil - Phillipines) is a fast-growing, leguminous tree that can be used for reforestation, for firewood, and as a forage crop that can equal alfalfa in nutritional value. There are three basic types of leucaena trees: Hawaiian, Salvador, and Peru....
  41. 20/1/2005 Proper crop rotation is Fundamental #1. It will beat the disease and pest cycle while promoting nutrient cycling. This is a forgotten age-old method to assure the health of future crops. It is of the utmost importance to minimize nutrient loss for long-range success. When the same plant is...