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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF INTEGRATED SYSTEMS FOR SUBTROPICAL/TROPICAL FRUIT CROP PRODUCTION

Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research

Title: Yield performance of cowpea plant introductions grown in calcareous soils

Authors
item Goenaga, Ricardo
item Ayala-Silva, Tomas
item Quiles, Adolfo

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2013
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Citation: Goenaga, R.J., Ayala Silva, T., Quiles-Belen, A. 2013. Yield performance of cowpea plant introductions grown in calcareous soils. HortTechnology. 23(2):247-251.

Interpretive Summary: Cowpea or Southernpea is an important legume crop used as a feed for livestock, as a green vegetable and for consumption of its dry beans which are high in protein. When grown at high soil pH (pH > 7.5), cowpea develops serious nutritional deficiencies resulting in reduced plant growth and low yield. We evaluated in replicated field plots at St. Croix, USVI and Miami, FL, four plant introductions (PIs) and one commercial cultivar some of which have shown some tolerance to alkaline soils in unreplicated, seed regeneration plots of the U.S. cowpea collection. Alkaline soil conditions at St. Croix were severe resulting in average yield of genotypes at this location being significantly lower than that in Florida. Nevertheless, some genotypes performed well at both locations. For example, PI 582605 and 582674 had high yields at both locations as compared to other genotypes used in the study. These genotypes may serve as an alternative to growers or home gardeners wishing to establish a legume crop in areas where agricultural production is severely restricted by high soil alkalinity.

Technical Abstract: Cowpea or Southernpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] is an important legume crop used as a feed for livestock, as a green vegetable and for consumption of its dry beans which provide 22-25% protein. The crop is very sensitive to alkaline soil conditions. When grown at a soil pH of 7.5 or higher, cowpea develops severe leaf chlorosis caused by deficiencies of Fe, Zn and Mn resulting in stunted plant growth and yield reduction. We evaluated in replicated field experiments at St. Croix, USVI and Miami, FL, four plant introductions (PIs) and one commercial cultivar some of which have shown some tolerance to alkaline soils in unreplicated, seed regeneration plots of the U.S. cowpea collection. At both locations, genotype PI 582702 had significantly higher seed protein concentration, averaging 28%. Alkaline soil conditions at St. Croix were severe resulting in average yield of genotypes at this location being significantly lower and 69% less than that in Florida. Nevertheless, some genotypes performed well at both locations. For example, PI 582605 had significantly higher yield in Florida whereas in St. Croix PI’s 582605, 582674 and 582702 were the highest yielders. These genotypes may serve as an alternative to growers or home gardeners wishing to establish a legume crop in areas where agricultural production is severely restricted by high soil alkalinity.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014