|Velvet bean vines climbing a tree|
The simplest way farmers mention using the bean is feeding its pod husk to their livestock. Some farmers give a stew of boiled beans to their milk cows, while still others prepare concentrated beans that have been treated to facilitate processing by drying or roasting the beans, then grinding them. All farmers claim increases in milk production from using the bean. In addition to its virtues as a living plant, dead vegetative matter from the velvet bean protects soil at the beginning of the rainy season and allows agricultural production in plots with steep slopes without causing water erosion.Over time, this debris adds a tremendous amount organic matter to the soil, which improves its structure, permeability, and water-holding capacity.
|A field of planted beans.|