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Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) haulms


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Bambara bean, Bambara groundnut, congo goober, ground bean, hog-peanut, Congo groundnut, earth pea, njugo bean, Bambarra groundnut, Congo earth pea, kaffir pea, Madagascar groundnut, stone groundnut [English]; pois bambara, voandzou [French]; bambarra, guandsú, guisante de tierra, maní de bambarra [Spanish], jinguba de cagambe [Portuguese]; Kacang bogor [Bahasa Indonesia]; قاموس آجروفوك [Arabic]; gongongu (pl. gongonji), gorosgoros, biriji daɓɓi, biriji damuɗi, ngalaa-wu/ji, ngalgalaa-wu/ji [Fulfulde]


Glycine subterranea L., Voandzeia subterranea (L.) Thouars ex DC. (USDA, 2009)


Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) is an annual, creeping leguminous plant, grown primarily for its edible seeds. In Africa, Bambara groundnut is the third eaten legume after groundnut and cowpea (Omoikhoje, 2008). Bambara groundnut cultivation results in crop residues (haulms) that can be used as fodder (Brink et al., 2006).


Vigna subterranea originated from West Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad) and has been cultivated throughout drier tropical Africa. In Southern Africa, Zimbabwe is the centre of production. Bambara groundnut is found in tropical regions of America, Asia and Australia but its cultivation outside Africa is basically negligible. It grows well where cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) and peanut (Arachis hypogaea) do not (Brink et al., 2006)

Bambara groundnut is adapted to hot, dry, marginal soils, from sea level to 2000 m. It continues to grow in harsh conditions better than most crops (sorghum, maize and peanuts). Optimal conditions for growth are 30-35°C day-temperature for germination, average day temperatures ranging from 20 to 28°C under full sun, average annual rainfall of 600-750 mm (optimum yields are obtained when rainfall is higher), good P and K soil content and light sandy loams with a pH of 5.0-6.5. Bambara groundnut can grow in more humid conditions (annual rainfall > 2000 mm), and in every type of soil provided it is well drained and not too calcareous. It is tolerant to drought, to pests and diseases, particularly in hot conditions. In many traditional cropping systems it is intercropped with other root and tuber crops (Brink et al., 2006).

Forage management 

Bambara groundnut haulms can be used as fodder after seed harvest. They can be grazed or cut (Doku et al., 1971).

Environmental impact 

N-fixing legume, soil fertilizer and rotation crop

Bambara groundnut is a N-fixing legume and thus a fertilizer for the soil. It is a good companion/rotation crop that returns N to the next crop. It does not require additional fertilizer. It is generally intercropped with cereals (maize, sorghum, and pearl millet), other legume grains (cowpea, groundnut), root and tuber crops, or vegetables (Brink et al., 2006).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

The protein content of Bambara groundnut haulms ranges from 7 to 16% DM which is higher than maize stover (4%) and compares well with other good quality legume forages like cowpea haulms or groundnut haulms. It is quite fibrous, with NDF and ADF values ranging between 38 and 72%, and 33 and 63%, respectively.


Bambara groundnut haulms were reported to be fed to cattle and to be palatable to ruminants. For instance, goats are allowed to graze them after pod harvest (Heller et al., 1997; Linnemann, 1987; Stanton, 1966 cited by Doku et al., 1971). Bambara groundnut haulms were used among other crop residues to improve ruminant production in the Sudanian zones of Africa. During dry periods, the use of crop residues allowed to feed livestock at maintenance level at a maximum of 8, 54, 98 and 76% of the current ruminant stock, respectively in the Sahelian, Sub-Sahelian, North-Sudanian and South-Sudanian zones (Savadogo et al., 1999).

The haulms of 4 cultivars of Bambara groundnut have been assessed for their yields and their nutritive value for sheep fed on maize stover basal diet in Nigeria. Supplementing young sheep with bambara groundnut haulms increased their overall feed intake at every level of supplementation (from 15 to 45%) but never allowed a complete consumption of the haulms offered at any inclusion rate. Supplementing the diet with bambara groundnut haulms increased digestibility coefficients and N balance in comparison to the basal diet. It was concluded that bambara groundnut haulms could be a valuable source of protein in low quality roughage-based diet for sheep (Anderson, 2016).


No information could be found (as of 2020)


No information could be found (as of 2020).


No information seems available in the international literature (April 2020) on the use in rabbit feeding of Bambara groundnut haulms. Considering that this crop residue is commonly used for ruminant feeding in many African Sub-Saharan countries, and that Bambara groundnut seeds or offals can be securely used in rabbit feeding (See Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) seeds and Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) pods, shells and offals datasheets), Bambara groundnut haulms must be considered as a potential safe forage usable in rabbit feeding.

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 91.3 1.7 90.2 94.3 5  
Crude protein % DM 11.2 2.2 7.1 16.2 42  
Crude fibre % DM 25.7   22.7 28.8 2  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 54.4 6.9 37.9 71.7 40  
Acid detergent fibre % DM 42.7 6.3 32.8 63.4 40  
Ether extract % DM 1.1       1  
Ash % DM 11.8 3.5 5.4 20 42  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.2         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 8.8       1  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.3       1  
Potassium g/kg DM 10.9       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 3.6       1  
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 49.9         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 46.6         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 8         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 6.5         *
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 6.5         *
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 37.6         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Anderson, 2016; CIRAD, 1991

Last updated on 08/09/2020 23:30:50

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Lebas F., 2020. Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) haulms. Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://feedipedia.org/node/531 Last updated on September 8, 2020, 23:35

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