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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Evaluations of the Potential of Hyacinth Bean as an Annual Warm-Season Forage in the Mid-South1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 6, p. 905-910
    Received: Feb 6, 1984

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  1. Henry A. Fribourg,
  2. Joseph R. Overton,
  3. Walker W. McNeill,
  4. E. W. Culvahouse,
  5. Monty J. Montgomery,
  6. Marshall Smith,
  7. R. J. Carlisle and
  8. N. W. Robinson2



Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet) or lablab bean, a short-lived perennial legume in the tropics, is widely cultivated in many parts of the world. Although the potential of hyacinth bean as a forage crop has been recognized in Brazil, Australia and elsewhere, its possible use in North America has received little attention. A series of trials was started in 1974 to ascertain the potential value of ‘Tift-l’ hyacinth bean as a warm-season annual forage in a region with a humid mesothermal climate, when grown on well-drained soils such as Memphis silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, thermic Typic Hapludalfs) at elevations of 300 m or less. The dry matter forage produced during hot dry weather ranged between 2 and 5 Mg ha−1. The concentrations of crude protein, and of acid- and neutral-detergent fibers, were at an acceptable level for a forage legume. The forage produced was very leafy in both the first growth and in the regrowth stages after cutting or grazing. Regrowth took place when a stubble of 10 cm was left. Hyacinth bean was established easily in either broadcast or row arrangements on prepared seedbeds, using 20 to 25 kg of seed ha−1, or with no-till methods. Trailing vines rapidly covered interrow spaces. Hyacinth bean was susceptible to feeding by bean beetles (Epilachna corrupta), but was tolerant of the insecticide carbaryl (1-naphthyl methylcarbamate) as well as of the herbicide trifluralin (a,a,a-trifluoro-2,6-dinitro-N,N- dipropyl-p-toluidine). Over 900 kg ha−1 of clean Tift-1 hyacinth bean seed were produced. Dairy cattle refused to consume hyacinth bean in two trials, but beef cows and calves grazed it readily in five different location- year trials. Calves creep-grazing hyacinth bean gained 840 g day−1 during a 90-day grazing season begun in early July. Hyacinth bean, an annual in the mid-South, appears to have considerable potential as a pasture for growing animals during hot, dry periods.

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