Negative effects of perenial peanut as a green manure

Prenial peanut is promoted as an excellent green manure cover crop. We have tried using it… with mixed results. Are we alone in our experience? We are in southern Philippines lowland humid tropics with pronounced dry season.

We are just harvesting cassava planted last November. Part of the field has a covering of perenial peanut. Under this the cassava roots were very small, the rest of the field they were much bigger. It was also much more difficult to harvest due to the root mat. the guy harvesting reckons it is alos not good to use with bananas. We also have guavas, a few of which we planted perenial peanut under and they now have a thick mat. However they look no different (better or worse) than the ones with grasses under them. The maintenance treatmetn for both is the same - mowing.

Eric Read

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:slight_smile: Thanks Eric :slight_smile: this was interesting. I’m in the far south of Thailand, where there is about a 5-month dry season. I got some cuttings last month and have put them into pretty compacted clay soil. Most aren’t doing all that great. I’ve long had high hopes for a perennial peanut ground cover, but this gives me a different perspective, which I appreciate.

So what are you going to do, especially in the cassava field? I’m also curious why the banana harvester reckons it’s not a great idea with bananas.
:slight_smile: Troy :slight_smile:

Thanks Eric, the information is an eye opener, i will put it into practice, thanks alot.

Here in Madre de Dios in the lowland tropical rainforest, perennial peanut or forage peanut is used frequently as an ornamental ground cover, and less frequently as an agricultural cover crop. Many people note its attractiveness, and the small yellow flowers are happily eaten by chickens. While the forage peanut is known as a nitrogen fixer, some farmers in our region mention having learned that it takes 2 years or more before the species is a net contributor of nitrogen, and before this as the peanut is getting established it can actually take up available nitrogen “robbing” it from other crops. Additionally, many people have noted that the microclimate benefits of protection of the soil by this as a cover crop is lessened by the effects of the structure of root mats. The challenges of getting it established (careful weeding over a long-ish period of time) make us opt for other cover crops, such as the moisture champion Callisia repens, native to this part of South America. However the latter doesn’t fix nitrogen.

I’m in Indonesia and we use perennial peanut on our coffee farm. It’s been established for over two years and shows beneficial signs to the coffee. From my understanding, it is used better as an alley-cover rather than competing with crops. But I understand it runs everywhere even if you don’t want it to sometimes. I’m not sure why it would hinder banana growth?? If you find out, I’d love to hear it!

Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents to say it can be very beneficial:)