Legumes have been used in agriculture since ancient times. Legume seeds or
pulses were among the first sources of human food and their domestication and
cultivation in many areas occurred at the same time as that of the major cereals.
Nutritionally they are 2-3 times richer in protein than cereal grains and many also
contain oil. Leguminous mulches have always been used as a source of nutrient-rich
organic matter and nitrogen for crops. In more recent times, legumes have become
important as high quality forages for livestock both in cultivated pastures and in naturally occurring associations.