Green manure crops are crops that are [often times in North America] 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 Third World farmers a tremendous number of advantages, including:

  •  They provide large quantities of nitrogen for the soil.
  • They add many tons of organic matter to the soil, thereby improving topsoil depth, water-holding capacity, nutrient content, friability, and texture of the soil.
  • Green manure crops present no transportation problems, in contrast to compost and chemical fertilizers.
  • Green manure crops require absolutely 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.
  • Green manure crops 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.
  • The cover they provide for the soil protects it from wind and water erosion.
  • Green manure crops 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 (inasmuch as fodder at this time of year is the limiting factor in traditional animal raising in much of the Third World).
  • Some green manure crops provide human food, including various kinds of edible beans, peas, and pods.
  • Green manure crops can provide income, by selling firewood, food or feed (and maybe seed).
  • They 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.
  • Some green manures, when intercropped with basic grains, can control weeds, thereby eliminating costly weeding operations

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  1. Green manure crops are crops that are [often times in North America] 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 Third World farmers a tremendous number of...
  2. 2016-09-28 Farmers in many parts of the world, because of human population growth, have little choice but to crop their land continuously, with scarce resources to replace nutrients withdrawn by each successive crop. Crop residues are often lost as a source of organic matter and mulch, usually through...
  3. Rating: 4.0 - 1 Vote
    2005-10-01 One of the most important things a farmer can do for his farm is to prevent soil erosion. One way to do so is by keeping soil covered, especially during the rainy season. Vegetative cover and high levels of soil organic matter are key. Below is a brief description of several vegetative or...
  4. 2016-10-18 While doing legume intercropping research in South Africa (2010-2015), ECHO staff members learned about a system of cereal/cowpea production developed in Nigeria through research by IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) and national partners (Ajeigbe et al. 2010a, Ajeigbe et al....
  5. 2017-03-30 Forage peanut is a perennial herb native to Brazil that is found throughout South America and has many uses.
  6. Rating: 4.0 - 1 Vote
    2014-04-20 EDN 122 highlighted multi-purpose cowpea varieties with spreading vines that cover the soil. Below is an ECHO research update from South Africa relating our experience so far with a spreading cowpea variety intercropped with maize grown in a Foundations for Farming (FFF) system. “Living carpet”...
  7. 2015-04-30 We recently learned of correspondence among several network members on the topic of Conservation Agriculture (CA) in areas of heavy rain. The information seemed potentially helpful for others in ECHO’s network, so we are sharing it here.
  8. Rating: 3.0 - 1 Vote
    2016-04-08 A report from Roland Bunch regarding his efforts to promote green manures and cover crops in Africa.
  9. 2005-01-20 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...
  10. 2005-01-20 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...
  11. 2005-01-20 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...
  12. Rating: 3.0 - 1 Vote
    2004-04-20 Rice bean (Vigna umbellata) is one of the top five most commonly grown green manure/cover crops in the world.
  13. 2014-10-27 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
  14. 2017-01-19 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...
  15. 2017-02-08 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...
  16. 2017-02-07 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...
  17. 2017-02-08 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...
  18. 2009-01-20 All plants need certain mineral elements for proper growth, development, and maintenance. The basic structure of all organisms is built of carbon (C), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H). Plants obtain these elements from water (H2O) in the soil and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, so no input is...
  19. 1988-04-01 The soybean (Glycine max) is one of the most important food plants of the world, and seems to be growing in importance. It is an annual crop, fairly easy to grow, that produces more protein and oil per unit of land than almost any other crop. It is a versatile food plant that, used in its various...
  20. 1987-01-01 We are making this available in spite of misgivings about the safety of consuming larger amounts of velvet beans. Has there been a failure of the bean crop in your area, but velvet beans are abundant? If so, it is almost certainly better to make use this high protein bean than to suffer hunger or...
  21. 1984-01-19 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....
  22. 2013-01-20 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...
  23. 2012-01-01 Amazon.com DescriptionStrong gradients of decreasing soil fertility are found in many regions of the world. Millions of smallholders are now facing this serious crisis which causes them lower crop yields, and many of these families also suffer from food insecurity. With the aim of promoting...
  24. 2012-11-14 The UNCCD estimates that over 250 million people are affected by land degradation, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. According to the WMO, 33% of the world’s land surface is vulnerable to land degradation.Degraded lands lead to overall reduced productivity and reduced...
  25. 1985-01-01 Green manure crops are crops that are [often times in North America] 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 Third World farmers a tremendous number of...
  26. Rating: 5.0 - 1 Vote
    2002-01-20 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...
  27. 2011-07-01 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,...
  28. 2013-04-20 The article by Dov Pasternak about lablab (in this issue) reminded me of material in ECHO’s files from many years ago. Reimar von Schaaffhausen, working in São Paulo, Brazil, sent articles and letters over the years about the valuable role that lablab (and pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan]) have played...
  29. 1984-01-19 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....
  30. Rating: 4.0 - 1 Vote
    2017-02-07 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...
  31. 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!
  32. 1993-01-01 Amazon.com Description For developing nations, soil erosion is among the most chronic environmental and economic burdens. Vast amounts of topsoil are washed or blown away from arable land only to accumulate in rivers, reservoirs, harbors, and estuaries, thereby creating a double disaster: a...
  33. 1991-03-01 Amazon.com Description Book by Sarrantonio, Marianne
  34. 2004-07-28 Amazon.com Description In the 1980s and 1990s, green manure/cover crop (GMCC) systems became a popular agricultural technology in research and development efforts for smallholder tropical and subtropical farmers. However, few syntheses of these experiences have been conducted. This volume of case...
  35. 2001-03-01 Amazon.com Description Lessons learned in Latin America is about the use and dissemination of cover crops in different agroecosystems need to be made more widely available not only to Spanish speaking, but also Anglophone regions. This publication aims to inform a wide range of actors involved in...