(Desmodium tortuosum)

  • Season throughout the year
  • Variety FD 275 from IGFRI, Jhansi
  • Species of Desmodium are so palatable and make such nutritious forage plants that they have been termed as "alfalfa of the tropics" or tropical Medic.
  • There are two economic tropical species for fodder in this crop namely
  • Grass leaf Desmodium is an erect perennial legume and does best at an elevation upto 2000 m. It grows upto 6-8 feet and is distinguished by its leaves, which have fine hairs and bears characteristic brown fleckings on the upper surface. The species is versatile in its soil requirement and is tolerant to acid conditions.
  • Grass leaf Desmodium combines well with many grasses, gives a good response to phosphates and is an efficient fixer of nitrogen. It is readily eaten by livestock and is propagated from seeds.
  • Silver leaf Desmodium is distinguished by the presence of an irregular silver band along the midrib of the leaf. Livestock of all kinds relish both the leaves and young branches.
  • It will grow well in pasture land both in the tropics and sub-tropics. It will grow even in acid soils.
  • Desmodium is a shade tolerant forage legume, coming well under the shade of trees like tamarind, coconut and eucalyptus. When grown in June - July it can be cut four times a year. The crop under shade yield 23.75 t/ha/year.
  • Desmodium fodder contains 27% dry matter and 20.9% crude protein it is as good as alfalfa as a protein supplement in poultry feedings.
  • A special feature of Desmodium is its self - seeding ability. The Desmodium pods are in chain like form. Maturation of pods proceeds from top to bottom.
  • As soon as top portion of the pod matures, it falls on the ground and remain. When rain is received or if water is let in, the fallen seeds germinate and a new crop comes up densely.
  • If we allow the first crop to set seed it is very difficult to eradicate the crop from the field . Moreover the seeds will stick to the animals and spread very rapidly in the surrounding places.
  • Seed rate is 10 kg /ha. Seeds are sown at a spacing of 30 x 15 cm. As similar to other crops Farm Yard Manure is applied at the rate of 25 t/ha. The recommended fertilizer dose is 12.5: 62.5: 30 kg NPK / ha.
  • The root system of the Desmodium fixes nitrogen through their root nodules. It is a good legume to raise in the pasture and in coconut gardens. It will not affect the coconut yield.
  • The crop must be harvested as soon as it starts flowering. If it is allowed for some more days after flowering the stem gets hard and turns woody. Moreover the leaves start falling.
Last modified: Wednesday, 17 August 2011, 9:50 AM