What’s That Mystery Molino Crop With The Yellow Flowers?
November 30, 2011
NorthEscambia.com turned to Libbie Johnson of Escambia County Extension and to the farmer, Eric Koehn of Walnut Hill, to find out that the plant is called Sunn Hemp (that’s Crotalaria juncea L for the scientific types).
It is a semi-tropical plant that is grown as a cover crop in the southeast. It’s a legume, growing in a variety of locations and returning nitrogen to the soil. It can also be used as a biomass to produce biofuels.
“Because it grows so fast, it is really good for people looking to get something on their soil to prevent erosion or to build organic matter into their soils,” Johnson said. “It is touted as being resistant to root knot nematodes- a real problem for our local row crop producers, so it would be good to use in a rotation. It takes about 8-12 weeks of growth for you to get the full benefit of the crop, so it’s best if it’s planted after corn or maybe a vegetable crop. It wouldn’t have time to get going if planted after cotton or peanuts.”
Koehn said he planted the Sunn Hemp as cover crop to prevent erosion after he harvested corn from the field. There were no plans to harvest the crop.
Pictured: Recent photos showing Sunn Hemp growing at Highway 29 and Highway 97 in Molino. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.