Plant: Summer growing annual or short-lived perennial legume
Stems: Thick, trailing and twining
Leaves: Comprise 3 large rounded leaflets
Flowers: White or purple borne on long stems
Pods: Flattened, usually 4 – 5cm long with 2 – 4 seeds per pod
Seeds: Seed colour can vary according to cultivar from white/cream to brown or black; characteristic fleshy white strip around half of circumference
Lablab is a high yielding forage legume sown for grazing, forage conservation and as a break crop in sub-tropical and tropical farming systems. It is commonly used in mixed cropping-livestock systems in northern Australia and as a legume ley in sugar cane systems to address soil fertility decline.
Best suited to regions with 600 – 2500 mm annual rainfall and predominantly summer distribution.
Wide range of soils from deep sands to heavy clays provided drainage is good. Will grow on acidic to alkaline soils (pH water 5.0 – 7.5). Does not tolerate poor drainage or prolonged water logging.
Tolerates light frosts and is more tolerant of low temperatures than cowpea.
Grasses: Can be sown with tall forage crops such as sorghum and pearl millet.
Legumes: generally not grown in association with other warm season legumes.
Sowing/planting rates as single species
12 – 20 kg/ha
Sowing/planting rates in mixtures
5 – 8 kg/ha
Spring or summer depending on moisture availability.
Group J (Lablab, Pigeon Pea). Some sub-tropical soils may have suitable native rhizobia, however inoculation with the lablab rhizobia is recommended.
Establishment fertiliser commonly not applied.
Commonly grown without fertiliser applications. When grown in sandy soil, it may benefit from applications of phosphorus and sulphur.
Up to three grazing or cuttings are possible. Not tolerant of heavy grazing as this damages stems, but more tolerant than cowpea. Grazing should occur prior to flowering for maximum forage quality.
Ability to spread
Does not spread naturally. May appear in subsequent crops but usually only for 1 year due to low levels of hard seed.
Low weed potential due to short lived nature and poor seed longevity.
Lablab roots can be attacked by nematodes and seeds by pod feeding and boring insects..
Lablab is less susceptible to root diseases than cowpea, and disease problems are rare.
Highly sensitive to 2,4-D, M.C.P.A, 2,4-D-B and dicamba
Highworth Early flowering.
Rongai Late flowering