Botanical Name : Vigna sinensis Savi.
Common names : Cowpea, Lobia, Barbati, Black eyed pea
Family : Leguminaceae
Cowpea is known as drought hardy nature, its wide and droopy leaves keeps soils and soil moisture conserved due to shading effect. It is also known as black-eyed pea or southern pea etc. and has multiple uses like food, feed, forage, fodder, green manuring and vegetable. Cowpea seed is a nutritious component in the human diet, and cheap livestock feed as well. Both the green and dried seeds are suitable for canning and boiling as well
In Indian context, it is a minor pulse cultivated mainly in arid and semi arid tracts of grown in pockets of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and West UP along with considerable area in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Grain : C - 152, Pusa Phalguni, Amba (V - 16) (M), Ramba (V240)(M), Swarna (V - 38) (M), GC - 3, Pusa Sampada (V - 585), Shreshtha (V - 37) (M)
Fodder: GFC 1, GFC 2, GFC 3, - Kharif season, GFC - 4 Summer (25 - 35 tonnes/ha), Bundel Lobia - 1,UPC - 287 and UPC - 5286 , Russian Giant, K - 395, IGFRI - 5450 (Kohinoor), C - 88(20 - 35 tonnes/ha in Punjab), UPC 5287, UPC - 4200 (NE India), UPC 618, UPC 62, UPC 622, UPC 625 UPC 628.
Cowpea is warm weather and semi arid crop, where temperature ranging from 200C to 300C. Minimum temperature for seed establishment is 200C and above 320C temperatures development of root is cease. For maximum production day temperature 270C and night temperature 220C required. It is sensitive to cold and below 150 C temperature yield adversely affected. It can grow under shade of tree but can not tolerate cold or frost.
ell drained loam or slightly heavy soil are best suited. In colder climate somewhat sandy soil preferred as crop mature earlier in them. It can grow successfully in acidic soil but not in saline/alkaline soil. In hard soil, one deep ploughing followed by two or three harrowing and planking are sufficient. In normal soil only two harrowing & planking is enough. For summer season crop give a irrigation immediately after harvesting of Rabi crop.
Time of Sowing
The time of sowing varies according to type of crop.
Row to row - 30 (Bushing) to 45 cm (spreading)
Plant to Plant - 10 (Bushing) to 15 cm (spreading)
Method of Sowing
Sowing of cowpea is done by broadcasting, line sowing and dibbling of seeds based on the their purpose and season. Line sowing has been better over broadcasting method of sowing. However, for fodder and green manure crop broadcasting method considered better. In high rainfall area, formed 30 cm wide and 15 cm deep drainage channel at every 2 meter interval to drain excess rain water. Sowing of seed a depth of 3 - 5 cm.
Treat the seed with Thirum (2gm.) + Carbendazim (1gm.). It is also desirable to treat the seed with Rhizobium culture @ 10g/kg seed.
Apply FYM/compost - 5 - 10 t/ha as basal with last ploughing. 15 - 20 kg N/ ha as starter dose in poor soils (organic carbon<0.5%), 50 - 60 kg/ha P2O5 and 50 - 60 kg. K2O/ha . Phosphorus and potassic fertilizer should be give according to soil test value.
For higher yield crop should be free from weed upto 25 to 30 day crop stage No weeding is given this crop. It covers the land very soon and kill the weeds by smoothing. Application of pendimethaline @ 0.75 - 1 kg.a.i./ha combined with one hand weeding at 35 days after sowing is beneficial.
For summer crop, irrigation is most critical among all inputs followed by weeding and fertilizer. Generally, crop required 5 - 6 irrigation depending on soil, prevailing weather conditions etc, at an interval of 10-15 days. The response to irrigation is in order of flowering> pod filling>vegetative. Crop can tolerate flooding upto 2 days at flowering and pod setting thereafter, a marked decrease in yield and its attribute.
Green pods for use as vegetable can be harvested 45 - 90 days after sowing depending on the variety. For grains, the crop can be harvested in about 90-125 days after sowing when pods are fully matured. The crop should be then dried and threshed , threshed grain should be dried in sun before storage. For fodder, the cutting of the crop depends upon the need and the stage of growth of the component crop sown with it. Generally it should be done 40 - 45 days after sowing.
A good crop of cowpea yields about 12 - 15 q of grain and 50 - 60 q of straw per hectare. If the crop is raised for fodder purpose 250 - 350 q of green fodder is obtained per hectare.
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