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Murphy et al., 1999. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 11 (2): 112

Document reference 
Murphy, A. M. ; Colucci, P. E., 1999. A tropical forage solution to poor quality ruminant diets: A review of Lablab purpureus. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 11 (2): 112

The literature concerning the agronomic characteristics and nutritive value of the legume Lablab purpureus (Lab lab) is reviewed.  Lablab purpureus combines a great number of qualities that can be used successfully under various conditions. Its first advantage is its adaptability, not only is it drought resistant, it is able to grow in a diverse range of environmental conditions world wide. Staying green during the dry season, it has been known to provide up to six tonnes of dry matter/ha.  Being palatable to livestock, it is an adequate source of much needed protein and can be utilised in several different ways. It can be grazed in a pasture setting or as a companion crop to maize, cut as hay, or mixed with corn silage. In several experiments it has been observed to increase livestock weight and milk production during the dry season.  Lablab purpureus with its ability to out-yield conventional crops, especially during the dry season, and its enhanced nutritive value, is a fodder crop of great significance for the Tropics. Lablab can be used advantageously as a cover crop. Its dense green cover during the dry season protects the soil against the action of the sun's rays and decreases erosion by wind or rain. As green manure it provides organic matter, minerals and fixes nitrogen into the soil thereby improving crop yields in an economic and environmentally friendly manner.  Though lablab is known in many countries and has the capability of being an outstanding resource for agricultural systems in the tropics, it is not being used to its full potential. In many areas where lablab could be beneficial, ability to buy seed is restricted by economic constraints and producers' willingness to take the risk in trying a new practice is guarded by traditional paradigms. Effort must be devoted to conducting more research to extend both technical and practical knowledge about lablab so that its full potential may be achieved. Thus helping to improve the living conditions in countries where shortages of human food and animal feedstuffs exist.

Citation key 
Murphy et al., 1999