Sunhemp

Crotalaria juncea

Sunhemp is a rapid growing, hardy, summer cover crop. It's ability to fix Nitrogen (N), produce high levels of organic matter, and suppress weeds make it one of the most popular green manure options worldwide. 

Sunhemp usually grows between 1 and 2 metres in height within 60 days. Its growth is affected by heat and day length. 

Benefits

  • Improvement of soil quality

  • High organic matter production

  • Conservation of soil moisture

  • Suppression of weeds & nematodes

  • Creating a windbreak in young orchards

​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, in well-drained soils

Planting

  • Seeding rate is dependant on location & planting method (varying between 25-50kg per hectare)

  • Planting should take place between September & December (when the days are longer)

Crop termination & incorporation

  • Sunhemp should be mowed at flowering stage to avoid the stems becoming woody & unmanageable. 

  • Ideally the residue should be left on the surface to decompose. 

  • Although Sunhemp can be grazed, it is not considered palatable.