Vigna unguiculata

Cowpeas are a popular annual, summer legume. There are different types of Cowpeas - varying in their function & growth habit.

Cowpeas are used as forage for livestock, harvested for grain, or as a green manure. 

They can have a erect or prostrate growth. 

Benefits as a cover crop:

  • Fix atmospheric Nitrogen (N)

  • Quickly canopy over, thereby suppressing weeds effectively

  • Build organic matter

  • Conserve soil moisture

Utilizing Cowpeas for forage:

  • High quality summer forage
  • Can be grazed throughout the season in rotational grazing systems
  • High quality hay and silage production
​Climatic & Soil Conditions
  • Annual, warm-season legume

  • Suited to high rainfall areas (>450mm), that have warm summers

  • Sensitive to frost

  • Relatively drought tolerant

  • Suited to varied soil types, from highly acidic to neutral

  • Best suited to soils good drainage & aeration


  • Seeding rate is dependant on location & planting method (varying between 20-50kg per hectare)

  • Planting should take place between September & December