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Thread: Sun Hemp.

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    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Sun Hemp.

    In nearly 12 years of being here I've never really seen crop rotation being done. That is until this last coupla weeks. The soil around here is what I can only describe as looking like 'volcanic grave' of which cassava is really the only crop I see being grown. The locals never seem to deviate off of what they have grown for decades and even with the merchants price now at rock bottom price of 1.2 Baht per kilo, before deductions. I see the farmers leaving the cassava in the ground longer these days due to the hope, I believe, of the price rising.
    Anyway, I've now started to see crop rotation or Thais actually resting their soil to put natural fertilizer back, away from the manufactured stuff. The plant I now see them starting to grow is called 'Sunn Hemp'. Good luck to all who farm.

    Uses and Benefits of Sunn Hemp Seeds
    Sunn Hemp, scientifically known as Crotalaria Juncea, is basically a green manure used as a cover crop for revitalizing poor land.


    Sunn Hemp, scientifically known as Crotalaria Juncea, is basically a green manure used as a cover crop for revitalizing poor land. It is a fast growing nitrogen fixing legume, whose seeds are used as organic fertilizers and are completely damage free. This tropical legume grows over 6 feet tall within 60 days of being planted. Its origin can be traced back to India, where it has been a part of agricultural practices for ages. Sunn Hemp can be directly consumed by certain animals, while its miraculous properties are beneficial for soil and other crops grown on that soil also. Let us understand its benefits and uses in detail:

    * Sunn Hemp Seed is used as a soil improvement or green manure crop because of its ability to produce large amounts of biomass in a short duration; that is in a matter of 60-90 days.
    * Use of these seeds can reduce soil erosion, improve the fertility of soil, conserve soil water and recover plant nutrients.
    * Sunn Hemp Seeds produce 10 pounds of phosphorous, 80 pounds of potash, 100 pounds of nitrogen and four tons of organic matter within 60 days of plantation. If grown in appropriate conditions during the summers, this crop can produce these components in double amounts within the same time frame.
    * By making the soil highly fertile, this plant facilitates better cultivation of other crops and thereby yields higher cash value for them.
    * It makes the soil more tolerant against drought conditions.
    * The crop has few pest and pathogen problems, which is something to be relieved about for the farmers.
    * Use of Sunn Hemp Seeds suppresses growth of weeds, root-knot and nematodes making it useful to be grown alongside other crops.
    * It is not only a poor host to most parasites and nematodes, but also releases toxic compounds to eliminate the existing key nematode pests.
    * It is to be used after early season vegetables, tobacco, corns and other small grains.
    * The leaves of Sunn Hemp crop contain 30% protein and are a meal thrived upon by both goats and deer.
    * This crop serves as an alternative to winter legume cover crop as an organic matter builder and symbiotic nitrogen producing legume.
    Edit:- Sorry I should have put a picture.


    Last edited by Pragmatic; 02-08-2017 at 11:54 AM.

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    In PI we use Tricoderma to naturally improve agriculture production and to increase plant yield.

    This week we planted 2 hectares with Napier Grass....

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    Interesting, Prag.

    Sounds as if this new integrating rotation crop is beneficial in the cycle.
    Wondering if it's just novelty fashion or will become one in a number of off-season items used regularly, locally or regionally.

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    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaimeme
    Sounds as if this new integrating rotation crop is beneficial in the cycle.
    Wondering if it's just novelty fashion or will become one in a number of off-season items used regularly, locally or regionally.
    As I see it, because of the low price of cassava, and as the leaves of Sunn Hemp crop contain 30% protein it just may be an alternative to grass for cattle feed, during rice growing season, as well has putting back nitrogen into the soil at the same time? We wait and see.

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    They are just learning methods that were in use in other countries century's ago.

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    Thailand Expat Pragmatic's Avatar
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    I always thought it was Thai policy that whenever they learn something new then it was they who discovered it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
    They are just learning methods that were in use in other countries century's ago.
    ...as you'll probably find that most of such practices were diffused into Western lifestyles, centuries ago, from the more advanced Eastern way - not the other way around.

    The influence and contributions toward the less than advanced Occident is astonishing.
    Understand real historiography.

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    Good to see Thai farmers growing sunn hemp. The Department of Land Development has been promoting it for decades. Selling at cheap prices or giving it away free in small quantities. I worked on the seed production of sunn hemp in Khon Kaen over 40 years ago.

    These days our company, Ubon Forage Seeds, buys over 200 tonnes of the Thai variety (ordinary and organic) from selected contract farmers in Sisaket, Surin, Roi-et, Mahasarakham and Ubon provinces. The seed has to be above 99.5% purity, no weed seeds, no rice seeds and have a minimum germination of at least 85%. This seed is sold overseas to a USA company Tropical Seeds LLC. They sell it as Crescent Sunn Sunn hemp in the USA, Spain and Saudi Arabia.


    These countries primarily grow it as a green manure, but it is increasingly being made for hay.

    Great crop for the Thai farmers to grow for seed. They plant it after rice in November and December and harvest the seed in April-May.

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    Best stuff to use that's free rice plants leaves and grass you get everything you need.

    They've eventually stopped burning off the land around here.

    Perhaps the next move is to stop the acidic fertilisers, maybe not will take about another 20 yrs for it to sink in.

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