Drought Tolerant Legumes


New Member
Long time "lurker" on the old site. Used it more for entertainment than education, but with the implosion of the old site, figured I'd make more of a contribution to this one.

Brief history: Recently moved to northwestern KS from central IN. Managed my ~700 acre family farm for deer hunting in IN. Habitat management out here focuses more on bird hunting than deer, but am trying to think of creative ways to sneak some deer management in. The property I help manage in KS plants primarily wheat and milo like most places out here. We do utilize a cover crop rotation, but I would like to provide better nutrition during the summer months.

In Indiana, all I had to do was plant soybeans, but that usually won't work out in KS without irrigation. This got me thinking about more drought tolerant legumes like lab lab and cowpeas. I got out here too late to try it this year, but am starting to plan out next year. I guess this is more of a discussion thread than a question one. Share your thoughts and opinions.

Additional Info:
USDA Zone - 5b
Avg. Rainfall - ~20"
I have found that the Eagle Forage soybeans to be extremely drought tolerant--maybe not a much as cowpeas but 2 years ago we had a horrible drought. The beans still produced all summer and even flowered and had pods during the winter.
Alfalfa. As long as you get it established it can handle more drought than anything mentioned already. It has a very deep root system to keep the plants drinking!
Clover is pretty hard to keep green in the middle of summer out here. I did think about Eagle Beans but they are kinda hard to get, not too many suppliers and they have a limited supply. We do have a few small alfalfa fields, but I was trying to think of something that has a little more protein than alfalfa during mid summer to early fall and easier to establish.
I used some lab lab in a mix with cowpeas and beans last year and was very pleased with the lab lab performance. It was quick to establish and matured later than the iron and clay cowpeas which put it into early archery season here. I would like to use more but it is pricey compared to iron and clay cowpeas. We had a lot of rainfall last year on this plot but I read lab lab is known to be very drought tolerant. I believe it is used with success in dry areas of south texas where other traditional crops fail.
. Share your thoughts and opinions.

Additional Info:
USDA Zone - 5b
Avg. Rainfall - ~20"

You may be far enough north to grow perennial cool season legumes....but may be a little too far west to have good persistence...it is a much different environment than the corn belt. The best way to approach drought tolerance is to build drought resistance and resilience into your soil.....that will increase the options of forages you can grow.... start with a solid understanding of no-till planting and managing for soil health....keep the soil covered at all times!