Phasey bean is generally considered to be an annual plant. It does not usually regenerate in pastures (Bryan et al., 1973; Roberge et al., 1999), but it can show reasonable persistence (Pitman et al., 1984). Phasey bean seeds and establishes readily in well-prepared seed-beds provided there is not too much competition (FAO, 2012; Cook et al., 2005). It grows vigorously in the warm moist summer period. In the year of sowing, it had one of the highest legume yields observed in Australia and Guinea (Jones, 2001; Barnes, 1999). Dry matter yield may range from 0.5 t/ha in the subhumid subtropics, up to 16 t/ha in pure sward under ideal conditions, such as irrigation (Cook et al., 2005; Barnes, 1999; Klein et al., 1981).
Phasey bean can grow in association with summer grasses to provide early summer grazing. Companion species include lespedeza species (Kummerowia stipulacea, Kummerowia striata, Lespedeza cuneata), Chloris gayana, Dichanthium aristatum, several Paspalum species (Paspalum dilatatum and Paspalum plicatulum) and Para grass (Brachiaria mutica). Association with Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus), broadleaf setaria (Setaria sphacelata var.splendida), and scrobic is successful in well-drained conditions. Warm season legumes that are valuable companions include American vetch (Aeschynomene americana), white clover (Trifolium repens) and Desmodium heterocarpon (Cook et al., 2005). Phasey bean may also be sown in wheat or maize fields (Asongwed-Awa et al., 2002; Muldoon, 1984).
In poorly drained soils or irrigated areas the seeds should be sown into the top of planting ridges (FAO, 2012). For instance, in association with Para grass, phasey bean is sown on the tops of ridges and 2 to 3 months later the grass is sown in the ridges where irrigation water enters. Phasey bean is also frequently grown in Zimbabwe and Sudan, and also in Mali in irrigated cotton rotations where it is used for grazing and for hay (Göhl, 1982).
Phasey bean should not be grazed heavily or continuously as this may hamper its viability. Light grazing and/or rotational grazing (leaving at least 10-15 cm growth) followed by a 6 to 8 week rest period in the growing season is adequate to help phasey bean regeneration (FAO, 2012; Cook et al., 2005). As a short-lived legume, Macroptilium lathyroides can help to establish grasses such as Desmodium heterocarpon which is persistent under grazing, but not easily established (Aiken et al., 1991b). An overseeding of Paspalum notatum with a mixture of Desmodium heterocarpon, Aeschynomene americana, and Macroptilium lathyroides was tested with yearling steers. During the establishment period, phasey bean and Aeschynomene provided high quality forage, but contributed negligibly during the second year (Aiken et al., 1991a).
Hay and silage
Phasey bean makes good quality hay provided that it is cut and handled early enough to preserve a maximum of leaf material (FAO, 2012). It also makes excellent silage in combination with Columbus grass (Sorghum x almum) or alone: it proved to have higher fermentation potential than Guinea grass (Imura et al., 2001; Robertson, 1971 cited by FAO, 2012).