Fagopyrum esculentum

Summer or cool season annual broadleaf grain


  • Biomass/organic matter source (Dry Matter: 2,000-3,000 lbs/ac/yr)
  • Very fast establishing cover
  • Quick regrowth
  • Weed suppression
  • Insectary plant
  • Topsoil conditioner
  • Phosphorous scavenger
  • Low fertility crop

Plant Highlights

  • EXCELLENT for suppressing weeds, for quick growth and establishment, for attracting beneficial insects
  • GOOD for increasing organic matter and improving soil structure,
  • FAIR for providing erosion control
  • POOR for taking up & storing excess N, for animal grazing (production, nutritional quality & palatability), for providing lasting residue (residue breaks down quickly)

Cultural Traits

  • Good heat tolerance
  • Poor drought tolerance
  • Fair shade tolerance
  • Fair flood tolerance
  • Fair tolerance to low fertility
  • pH range 4.5-6.5 (NRCS), prefers 5.0-7.0 (SAN)


Planting depth: 1/2 - 1.5 inches

Seeding Method

  • Drilled: Seed at 48-70 lb./A (1-1.4 bu/A)
  • Broadcast: Seed at 60-96 lb./A (1.2-1.5 bu/A)

Seed Cost: .28-.70 $/lb

Seed Availability: Readily available


Cultivars commonly recommended by the Hawai`i Natural Resources Conservation Service include: 'Japanese' and 'Common'.


with sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, sunnhemp

Soil Improvements

  • Poor for loosening subsoil
  • Excellent at releasing P and K
  • Very good at loosening topsoil

Pest Control

  • Root knot nematode susceptible (NRCS)
  • Poor disease suppression
  • Very good allelopathic properties
  • Excellent weed suppression
  • Excellent for attracting beneficial insects

Management Attributes

  • Poor trafficability
  • Rapid establishment and growth ideal for short windows


  • Buckwheat attracts beneficials such as hover flies, predatory wasps, minute pirate bugs, insidious flower bugs, tachinid flies and lady beetles. To provide beneficial insect habitat, allow buckwheat to flower for at least 20 days (to allow minute pirate bugs to breed next generation).
  • Buckwheat is sensitive to herbicide residues from previous crops. To check for stunting or mortality, sow and water a small test plot.
  • To prevent buckwheat from becoming a weed in following crop, kill it within 7-10 days after flowering begins, before the first seeds harden and turn brown.


Uses in the Pacific Region

No information is available in this database on this topic.

Uses in Hawai`i

The Hawai`i Natural Resources Conservation Service Technical Guide Buckwheat (cv. 'Japanese' 'Common'). Their specification describes Buckwheat as follows:

  • Tolerates acid/low fertility soils
  • Minimum broadcast seeding rates of 60 lbs. pure live seed/acre;
  • pH range from 4.5-6.5;
  • Approximate growing time 30 days;
  • Approximate dry matter yield 1.5 tons/acre;
  • Approximate N content 18 lbs./T dry matter;
  • Add 20 lbs. of nitrogen/ton dry matter at plow down;
  • Optimum planting period year round at elevations between 0-4000 ft.

For More Information


1998. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 2nd ed. Sustainable Agriculture Network, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, USA. pp. 212.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hawai`i Field Office Technical Guide, Section IV, Code 340 "Cover and Green Manure Crop" May 1992. Pacific Islands Area Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG) - East Area

Text last updated on 8/10/2007

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These webpages were originally generated under a grant program from Western SARE entitled "Covering New Ground: Tropical Cover Crops for Improving Soil Quality" EW98-012 (1998-2002).