Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding


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The cowpea breeding programmes are reviewed and achievements at two major centres of
cowpea research, i.e. UTA (Nigeria) and JARJ (India), are summarized. Early and extra early
genotypes are always photoperiod-insensitive, medium maturity varieties could be
sensitive or neutral. to day length, while late varieties are always highly sensitive to
photoperiod. It has been demonstrated that with the availability of short or medium
duration varieties having erect plant type and resistant to major diseases, stable yields in
the range of 25-30 q/ha can be obtained under appropriate crop management. Even early
maturing varieties have yielded up to 29.88 qlha in isolated trials. Breeding for insect
resistance continues to be an uncertain area, while varieties resistant to major viral,
bacterial and fungal diseases have been developed. Photoperiod-neutral varieties (which
are also early maturing) possess wider adaptability. It has been demonstrated that high
grain yield can be combined with high harvest index in the early and extra-early varieties,
maturing in 60-65 days. The future varieties of cowpea should combine high yields with
upright growth habit, bushy plant type, determinate flowering, early-medium maturity,
and long peduncles keeping the pods above the plant canopy. Attempts are in progress to
evolve varieties which can tolerate shady conditions of mixed cropping with tall cereals
like maize, sorghum and pearl millet, as well as varieties for dual (grain-fodder,
grain-vegetable) purpose.

Keywords: Cowpea, Vigna unguiculata, stable yields, ideal plant type.


Year: 1996
Volume: 56
Issue: 4
Article DOI: NA
Print ISSN: 0019-5200
Online ISSN: 0975-6906



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