Edible pea (Pisum sativum) is an important food and fodder crop. Most often the so called shelling peas are grown. Peas are consumed in the cooked form, as soup or porridge. The peas are properly cooked quickly enough, taste nice, are rich with protein, and that is why the pea consumption is particularly useful when the diet lacks meat. Pea seeds can be floured and added to wheat flour for making bread. Such additive makes the taste of bread somewhat worse, however, it increases its nutritional value as the bread is enriched with the pea flour protein. Apart from pea seeds, whole peas including septums and seeds can be consumed as food. Peas are usually harvested immature and most often — when they are still tender, juicy, and rich in various vitamins. Immature peas are often called “peacods” and are eaten fresh. Peas can be frozen or canned to store them for a long time. Immature canned honey peas known as “green peas” are also widely spread. Elevated pea shoots is complete protein food for herbivorous animal, both in the fresh and in the dried form (hay). After thrashing, the hay is used as the fodder for domestic animals, too.
Australian winter pea (Pisum arvense) is a widespread fodder crop. Australian winter pea is undemanding to soil quality: it grows well on loamy, sandy, and sandy loam soils. Australian winter pea is resistant to cold (it tolerates temperatures as low as –5° С), droughts, it is early-maturing and ensures stable yields. It is one of the best annual leguminous crops, particularly for the nonchernozem belt. Australian winter pea is a protein-rich fodder product. Like other leguminous crops, it synthesizes proteins in concentrations three times higher than in grasses without application of nitrogen fertilizers. Essential amino acids are present in pea proteins in the optimal ratio; the seeds contain much starch. Australian winter pea is planted mixed with spring grasses. The green mass is rich with protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is used as green fodder, for haying, silage, haylage. Seeds of Australian winter peas are valuable components of complex fodders. Pea caving and chaff are also fed to livestock.
Garden pea (Pisum sativum) has a high fodder value as one of the major leguminous plants. It contains increased amount of protein both in the elevated segment of the plant and in the grain (20 to 27% on an average), has balanced composition of amino acids, good digestibility, high enough yield. Garden pea is used in production of splendid protein fodder for animals, such as grain fodder, green fodder, silage, hay, haylage, complex fodder. The use of such fodders in animal breeding causes significant reduction in fodder expenditure per a production unit, which reduces its production cost. Garden pea plant reacts well on the potassium and phosphorus fertilizes, in addition, it accumulates nitrogen in soil itself. That is why garden pea plant is exactly one of the best forecrops for many plants. There are 3 main directions of the use of the garden pea plant — for food, for grain fodder, and for cutting. Its own varieties has been bred for each of these directions.
Blue lupine (Lupinus angustifolius) has been cultivated in many countries as a highly effective nitrogen fixer and a valuable source of biological nitrogen for many years. A specific peculiarity of blue lupine valuable for economy is its relatively quick ripeness (the vegetation period is 100 to 120 days), which creates the opportunity to introduce this crop in northern regions. Depending on the variety and conditions of growing, the content of raw protein in grains is from 29 to 39%. The yield of grain achieves 30 to 35 dt/ha, the yield of green mass is 400 to 600 dt/ha. Its low-alkaloid varieties are used as fodder mainly in the form of grain. Blue lupine may be used as green fodder, silage, and green manure. In contrast to yellow lupine that has beanstalks which do not harden for a long time, blue lupine accumulates fiber in the beanstalk early. The capacity to grow on the derno-podzolic, grey forest, and chernozemic soils and its earlier ripening as compared to yellow and white lupine are typical of blue lupine.
Fall-seeded vetch (Vicia villosa) is a very valuable feeding crop that can ensure high yield (250 to 500 dt/ha) of early-growing protein-rich and well eaten green fodder. As opposite many other fodder plants, green mass of vetch can be fed to any animal species in any quantities. Fall-seeded vetch is more productive when seeded on fertile loamy and sandy soils. Heavy loams and clay are unsuitable for it. The optimum soil acidity is pH 6.0 to 7.0. In the crop rotation, it is planted after cruciferous and annual crops have been gathered as those arable and grain crops are gathered early. Processing of soil for planting fall-seeded vetch is similar to that for planting of grain crops. Fall-seeded vetch for seed and fodder purposes is seeded together with fall-seeded grain crops, such as rye, wheat, and triticale. The optimum seeding norm is as follows: 1 mil/ha of vetch +2 to 3 mil/ha of rye or triticale and 1 mil/ha of vetch +4 mil/ha of seeds of fall-seeded wheat. In green mass, the share of the leguminous component in blends is increased: 2 to 3 mil/ha of vetch +3 to 4 mil/ha of fall-seeded rye or triticale and 2 mil/ha of vetch +4 mil/ha of seeds of fall-seeded wheat.
Spring-seeded vetch (Vicia sativa) has a high feeding value and is used for hay, green fodder, grain fodder, and silage. 1 kg of dry mass contains 150 to 190 g of protein, 230 to 270 g of fiber and up to 37 mg of carotene. Vetch is dried together with oats or other grains. In the blend, it lodges less, yields more, and is better eaten by animals. Vetch accumulates 40 to 50 kg of nitrogen on one ha. Spring-seeded vetch is an annual leguminous plant. The ratio of seeds of vetch and oats must be as follows: for adequate wetting zone 2:1 (120 to 140 kg of vetch and 60 to 70 kg of oats), for inadequate wetting zone 3:1 (100 to 120 kg of vetch and 40 to 50 kg of oats). The depth of seeding is 3 to 5 cm. Vetch demonstrates good response for application of organic and mineral fertilizers. It is recommended to add 20 to 30 t of manure, 200 to 300 kg of standard superphosphate, and 100 to 150 kg of potassium salt per hectare of soil for under-winter plowing. Good results are obtained with processing of seeds with molybdenum and nitragin. Vetch and oats blend needs no special care during the vegetation period. The period of pod formation is the best time for harvesting of vetch and oats blend for haying. It is recommended to cut vetch for getting green mass and pasture formation when the blossoming period begins. Vetch should be harvested for silage when massive pod formation begins. Vetch is harvested for seeds separately when the foot pods and when the center pods grow brown and are matured.
White sweet clover (Melilotus albus) is cultivated for green fodder, hay, and silage. It is also used to seed pastures. It has good meliferous properties. White sweet clover is deemed to be a valuable plant for green fertilizers, as it develops high green mass and a powerful root system. It enriches soil with nitrogen and is a good forecrop for all agricultural crops. Besides, it is used for reclamation of saline soils and for coping with water and wind erosions of soils.
Yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis L.) also has other names, namely: king’s clover, plaster clover, melilot, marsh trefoil, prostrate knotweed. King's clover is a biennial grass of the leguminous family, 50 to 100 cm high. Almost all varieties of king's clover are unpretentious plants that tolerate adverse weather and soil conditions well: they do not fear droughts, resist diseases and pests well, and can also grow on very saline soils. On fertile soils, yellow sweet clover grass gives a bountiful harvest of grass, i.e. hay. As a fodder crop, yellow sweet clover is valuable due to the fact that its grass contains much more digestible protein than other grasses. Besides, yellow sweet clover has good meliferous properties: beekeepers gather up to 300 kg of curative honey from one hectare of land with dense growing of yellow sweet clover. Yellow sweet clover blossoms for almost all summer and even in fall. That means, bees gather honey from yellow sweet clover for as long as four months! Curative properties of yellow sweet clover are known for a long time as well. Curative properties of yellow sweet clover are widely known as well.
Birdsfoot deer vetch (Lótus corniculátus) is a perennial crop that grows on all types of mainland meadows in natural environments. Birdsfoot is widespread in meadow management of the USA, Canada, some areas of Russian and Western Europe where it is cultivated on perennial sown pastures. Studies held by many research institutions of the CIS have demonstrated the prospects of its introduction for fodder production both on fields and on meadows.
100 kg of green mass of birdsfoot deer vetch contain 23.4 to 25.7 kg of fodder units and 3.8 to 4.5 kg of digestible protein. The green mass yield on fertile soils is up to 350 to 400 dt/ha. It is a good component for meadow grass blends, as it is not aggressive regarding other grasses and makes a valuable plant formation in cenosis with them. It is very leafy and is well eaten by all species of agricultural animals up to the blossoming period, causes no bloating. It grows early and has high recovery ability after cutting. It can be cut 2 to 3 times during the vegetation period. In grass blends, it can be kept for up to 4 to 5 years. After five years of using the plant formation of birdsfoot deer vetch, up to 62 dt/ha of root mass remain in soil with the content of 138 kg of nitrogen, 31 kg of phosphorus, and 72 kg of potassium. It is the best leguminous plant to be complementary seeded into the sod layer for improvement of meadows. It is resistant to droughts, but high yield is only possible with normal wetting. It can tolerate flooding for up to 35 days. The riverside soil yields of grass formation that include birdsfoot deer vetch are up to 50 dt/ha and more. It can grow on soils not suitable for cultivation of other perennial leguminous grasses.
Fodder galega (Galega orientalis). Productive age of galega comprises 10 years and more. It tolerates severe and snowless winters with temperatures as low as –25° С well. It is highly productive due to early growing in winter and quick growth. By mid-may, the green mass yield is 300 dt/ha from one cutting, and comprises 570 to 750 dt/ha from two cuttings, the dry substance yield is 120 to 140 dt/ha. The plant is capable of vegetation until late autumn. Fodders made of galega are nutritional: 100 kg of green mass contain 20 to 28 kg of fodder units and 3.0 to 4.5 kg of digestible protein. The total yield of digestible protein is 18 to 25 dt/ha. The content of vitamins is by 10 to 15% higher than that of clover and lucerne. The plant is very leafy and its leaves do not fall down in the course of drying. Green mass of galega is used for as an additional green feeding, it is a good raw material for making haylage, silage, hay, grass flour, protein and vitamin concentrate for all species of livestock and poultry. The production cost of a galega hay fodder unit is 37% lower than that of other perennial grasses and 21% cheaper than a haylage fodder unit from cultivated grasses. Galega is characterized by stable seed productivity at the level of 4 dt/ha or more. High seed reproduction ratio (1:30) favors quicker introduction of crop in production. Galega can be reproduced vegetatively (with parts of a bush). After growing galega, soil accumulates 200 to 250 dt of organic substance in the form of roots and crop residue, with which at least 400 kg of nitrogen is input into the topsoil. The positive impact of galega on subsequently cultivated crops remains for at least 2 to 3 years.