Effects of plant density on the performance of cowpea in Nigerian savannas

Kamara, A Y and Tofa, A I and Kyei-Boahen, S and Solomon, R and Ajeigbe, H A and Kamai, N (2018) Effects of plant density on the performance of cowpea in Nigerian savannas. Experimental Agriculture (TSI), 54 (01). pp. 120-132. ISSN 0014-4797

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Grain yields of cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] in the Nigerian savannas are low even with the cultivation of improved varieties. The recommended spacing for cowpea is 75 × 20 cm with two seeds planted per stand. This corresponds to plant population of 133333 plants ha−1, which may not be sufficient for optimal cowpea yield. Field experiments were conducted to determine plant density effects on cowpea performance in the Northern Guinea and the Sudan savannas of Nigeria and also to determine if genotypes varied in their response to plant density. Four cowpea varieties with contrasting maturity duration were planted in single, double and triple rows on ridges spaced 75 cm apart to achieve corresponding densities of 133333, 266666 and 400000 plants ha−1, respectively. Plant densities of 266666 and 400000 plants ha−1 gave higher crop performance in terms of light interception, biomass production, yield and yield components for all cowpea varieties. Yield increases were related largely to increased pod and seed production but the effect of seed size on yield was relatively minor. Our results provide evidence that the current density of 133333 plants ha−1 used by farmers is not optimum for cowpea production. Smallholder farmers can increase cowpea grain and fodder yields if they use a density of 266666 plants ha−1 in cowpea cultivation. Further yield increases when cowpea is planted at 400000 plants ha−1 may not be sufficient to offset the cost of seed.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
Uncontrolled Keywords: On-farm evaluation; vigna-unguiculata; yield components; cropping systems; seed yield; population; cultivar; guinea; environments; responses; Grain yields; cowpea; Nigerian savannas
Subjects: Others > Nigeria
Others > Cowpea
Others > Crop Yield
Others > Cropping and Farming Systems
Others > African Agriculture
Others > Legume Crops
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2018 06:07
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2018 09:37
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/10602
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0014479716000715
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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