Cow Peas – ‘Iron Clay’

Iron Clay Cowpeas are a vining summer annual legume, and the beans it produces are also known as black-eyed peas. In a straight stand, cowpeas form a dense weed suppressing mat and fix nitrogen.

For added soil building and diversity, plant in a mix with other summer annuals, such as sunn hemp, sudangrass, buckwheat, or MasterGraze tillering corn. The vining habit combines well with a more erect species that it can climb. Cowpeas are slower to start than many other summer annuals, and also do well in the shelter of a few quicker-establishing species. If planted in a mix with one of the above species, reduce the cowpea seeding rate slightly to 40-50 lbs. Plant millet or sudangrass at 12-15 lbs/A. The MasterGraze should be planted in 15 inch rows with a corn planter, and the cowpeas can then be drilled across the rows in a perpendicular direction.

Cowpeas have excellent drought resistance and a good tolerance of heat, low fertility, and a range of soils. They do well on light, sandy soils, and well-drained, but not excessively wet soil. If left to bloom, they attract many beneficial in-sects that prey on other pests.

Iron Clay Cowpeas reduce rootknot and soybean cyst nematode populations, making them a beneficial break crop in rotation.

Iron Clay Cowpeas Tech Sheet

At A Glance

  • Warm season legume cover crop
  • Fixes nitrogen
  • Works well in mixes with sum-mer annual grasses like sudan-grass, millet, and corn.
  • Also known as black eyed peas


  • Summer Cover Crop, Grazing, Hay-lage, Baleage.


  • Seeding Rate: 40-60lbs/Acre (70-90lbs/Acre for northern areas or cooler, drier soils.)
  • Large Seed Box Required
  • Seeding Depth: 1 1/2” – 2 1/4”
  • Seeding Dates: Late Spring, plant when soils are 65 degrees and rising.