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MB (Mucuna Bracteate)

Legume Cover Crops (LCC).

Planting legumes cover crop as ground cover is intended to cover the surface of the soil, so that the growth of weeds can be suppressed and reduce nutrient competition with palm trees later on.

Legume cover which often used in oil palm plantation are : Calopogonium Caerulium (CC), Pueraria Javanica (PJ), Calopogonium Mucunoides (CM), Centrosema Pubescens (CP), Mucuna Cochinchinensis (MC), dan Mucuna Bracteata (MB).

In general, the function of legume cover plants in oil palm plantations can be classified as plants that are generally useful (class A). Benefits of legume cover crop in the palm plantation is as follows:
a) Adding organic matter to improve soil structure.
b) Improve soil nutrients status, especially as nitrogen element fixation from the air.
c) Maintaining soil humidity, produce organic matter
d) Improving soil properties due to the land burning (land clearing)
e) Protecting the soil surface and reduce the danger of erosion, especially on steep ground.
f) Reducing the weeds maintenance cost.
g) To boost the growth of major crops and increase production

Type Mucuna Bracteata (MB)

Originating from India, A wild legume Mucuna bracteata collected is drought resistant and shade tolerant. Nitrogen fixing capacity of this was found to be high. It grows fast and covers the field very quickly thus, it suppresses all weeds. MB As a cover crop will provide a thick organic mulch that will help to reduce fertilizer run-off caused by heavy rain. The thick layer of leaf litters will also help to reduce soil erosion so that soil condition will not deteriorate over time. In fact, the soil will improve over time as so much organic matter is being introduced into the soil by the M. bracteata. The layer of mulch (dead MB leaves) and the organic matter (decomposed leaves) in the soil will also help to retain water and nutrients in the field (acting like a sponge). In addition, the MB being a legume will continue to produce Nitrogen (N) for the palms through its association with Rhizobium in the roots.

The large amount of organic matter introduced into the soil will help to improve the soil over time. It will increase the Cations Exchange Capacity (CEC) of the soil. This means that the holding capacity for nutrients in the soil will be better. The deep rooting nature of Mucuna bracteata will help to take up nutrients and moisture deep in the soil. It will also help to hold the terraces in place in the hilly areas.

Mucuna bracteata is a perennial leguminous creeper commonly used in young rubber and palm oil in Asia. Advantages :
- Easy establishment and vigorous growth
- High shade and drought-tolerance
- Good biomass production
- High nitrogen fixing capacity
- Good tolerability to pest and diseases
- Excellent soil erosion control
- Probable allelopathic property
- Low seed rate, hence less labour intensive

The seed rate is 200g/ha for planting in 420 points (1 ha).