Farming with Legumes

Legumes can provide agriculture with sustainable and low cost forage.

Sainfoin seedlings
Cutting sainfoin

We all face the challenge of climate change and global warming but farmers have the additional problem of producing food for their livestock in times where there is ever increasing concern about the environment and the effect that farming has on it. There is currently a shortage of protein. Protein is one of the most important building blocks of livestock production. To fill the protein gap there are large quantities of protein rich soya imported from outside Europe.

'Home grown' protein from forage legumes offers a valuable alternative to unsustainable, imported soya. Legumes such as clovers, sainfoin, lucerne and trefoils can be grown with grasses and this adds an additional 2-3% more protein to 'grass only' forage. This is a significant amount and the use of legume rich forage also leads to a lower demand for nitrogen fertiliser as legumes fix their own, 'free' nitrogen from the air to the soil resulting in a major saving in fertiliser.

The LegumePlus project attempts to show how the best of tanniferous legumes such as sainfoin and birdsfoot trefoil can be used to improve ruminant nutrition, reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst improving the quality of milk, meat and cheese production and control parasitic worms. We aim to deliver good combination of pure and applied science.