Spain: A new legume coming from Thailand

The recent inclusion of Crotaralia juncea in the CAP to meet greening requirements multiplies this crop attractiveness in Spain. This is going hand in hand with its dual suitability as green manure and fodder crop.

Crotalaria juncea

Crotaralia juncea is a leguminous species from Thailand, whose seeds are being marketed by Efectos Soluciones in Spain. For Jesús Rabanillo, CEO of this company, it has many advantages which are encouraging Spanish farmers to grow it especially in regions such as Andalucía, Castilla y León or Murcia, “in areas seeking to improve their soils in an ecological way, sowing it after the main crop”.

It is rustic plant, with a double suitability: green manure and fodder. It is suitable for all types of soils, it has a short vegetative cycle and sowing is done between spring and summer because it needs warm temperatures.

It is not very demanding in terms of water needs and even in some places is cultivated in rainfed lands.

One of its main appealing is its two different uses. It can be cultivated for green manure or as cover crop to provide organic matter and nitrogen. Its cultivation as fodder is also very interesting “because it provides quality hay and very appetizing for livestock due to its high sugar content”.

Another benefit of this legume is its nematicide power, being effective in the elimination of the most common nematodes families in Spain.

The average production when it is intended for fodder is around 7 tons of dry matter per hectare. Cultivation costs are around 140-150 €/hectare. And fodder can reach an average price of 120-140 €/ton.