The use of low-quality forage, such as cereal stover, as the major feedstuff in ruminant diets can limit both energy density and intake.
Supplementation of low-quality forage with legumes will increase diet utilization to some extent, but for higher levels of production, increased dietary energy density through the use of higher quality forage and some grain may become of interest to livestock producers. Legume fodder such as cowpea can remain an important part of these higher energy diets.
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walp.) is an annual legume grown throughout the semiarid tropics, where it is valued as both human and livestock food. It is drought tolerant, can be grown on relatively poor soils, and fixes nitrogen, thereby improving soil fertility. In addition to grain, cowpea can produce good yields of fodder for ruminant feeding systems. In Africa, cowpea is widely intercropped with maize, sorghum and millet. Cowpea is intergrated with sorghum to boost the nutritional component. This is done by having the cowpea cut into small pieces by the chaff cutter and mixed in a feed miller. An animal nutritionist is needed to determine the inclusion rates. A Near infra red machine for nutritional analysis is also needed.
Market deployment considerations
The product is safe to be deployed in the market.
Type of process
livestock feed protein
Technology Readiness Level
Research and Technological Center
ILRI and IITA