Box 3.1 Suggested features of forage tree legumes


  • Easy establishment, and rapid early growth to compete against weeds
  • Effective nodulation and nitrogen fixation with naturally occurring Rhizobium in the soil
  • High productivity under repeated cutting, grazing or browsing
  • Provide fodder for out of season and drought feeding
  • Little or no fertiliser requirement, resistance to environmental stresses such as cold, acid soils, pests and diseases
  • Thornless, deep-rooted and long-lived
  • High seed production or reliable vegetative propagation 

Nutritional qualities

  • High protein, digestibility and mineral contents
  • Low tannin content in leaf, sufficient to provide by-pass protein 
  • Palatable to livestock
  • Free of anti-nutritive factors 

Sources: Smith (1992), Gutteridge (1998)

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