Cowpea

 

bulet.jpg (4991 bytes) Introduction
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Requirement
Climate
Soil
bulet.jpg (4991 bytes) Varieties
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Cultivation
Sowing
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Fertilizer
Irrigation
Plant protection
Aphids
Thrips
Pod borer

Disease
Leaf spot

Powdery mildew
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Harvesting

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

Cow pea (Vigna sinensis) is used as a fodder, a vegetable, a pulse and a green manure crop. Usually the pods are best for edible in tender stage. The dried seeds are used as pulse. It is trailing plant and needs staking.

Requirement

  • Climate

The cowpea is a warm season bean and grown during rainy season but the temperature should not be below 200C. The crop needs a well-distributed rainfall. Heavy rains at flowering are harmful.

  • Soil

This pulse does best on deep, well-drained loam soils. It is also cultivated on light or shallow soils to clayey soils.

Varieties

There are many cowpea varieties, some are bushy and dwarf and some creeping. The early varieties require 70 to 90 days to mature while the late varieties need 120 to 150 days. 'Pusa Phalguni', 'Pusa Dofassli', 'F.S.68', 'C 152' and 'C 20'.

Cultivation
For the pure crop in the Kharif season, the land is ploughed once or twice and harrowed to obtain a rough tilth. The summer crop can be sown dry in furrows in between the rows of the previous crop, followed by irrigation. The kharif crop is sown in June or July, and the rabi crop is September or October. The spring crop is to be sown by 15 February and harvested by the middle of May. The summer crop is sown by 15 April.

Sowing

The seed may be sown broadcast and covered by ploughing, or it may be drilled in furrows behind a plough, or with a three-or four-coultered desi drill, in rows 20-30cm apart. The row-to-row spacing in 45cm and the seed-rate is 20kg per hectare.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer of 25kg Nitrogen (N) and 50kg Phosphorus (P2O5) per hectare should be applied at the time of sowing. Also at the time of sowing seed treatment of Rhizobium should be given at the rate of 25 gram per kg of seeds.

Irrigation

It is largely grown as a kharif crop. If there is dry spell in kharif then irrigation should be applied. In case of summer irrigation should be applied at an interval of 8-10 days. Flowering and pod formation are the critical stages hence irrigation should be applied at this stages.

Plant protection
Pests
Aphids

The nymphs and adults suck the sap. The affected leaves turns yellow, get wrinkled and distorted. The insect also exude honeydew on which fungus develops, rapidly covers the plant with sooty mould that interferes with the photosynthetic activity of the plant.

  • Control

Spraying with 0.05% Endosulfan, 0.02% Phosphamidon, 0.03% Dimethoate, Methyl demeton or Thiometon control the pest effectively.

Thrips
The adults and nymphs feed on leaves. They scrape the epidermis and such the oozing sap. As a result, light brown patches appear on infested leaves. The affected leaves curl and become dry.
  • Control

Spraying with 0.05% Endosulfan, 0.02% Phosphamidon, 0.03% Dimethoate, Methyl demeton or Thiometon control the pest effectively.

Pod borer

Caterpillars feed on tender foliage and young pods. They make holes in the pods and feed on developing seeds by inserting anterior half portion of their body inside the pods.

  • Control

In early stage of attack handpicking of the caterpillars and their destruction. Ploughing fields after the harvest of crop would expose the pupae, which would be destroyed by birds. Spraying the crop with 0.05% Quinalphos or Fenitrohion can successfully control the pest. Spray with HaNPV @ 250 LE/ha.

Disease
Leaf spot

Angular brown or red spots, with grey or brown centre and reddish-purple border on leave, stalk and pods

  • Control

Spray with Bordeaux mixture (5:5:50) or 0.2% Ziram.

Powdery mildew

White powdery patches on leaves and other green parts, later becoming dull coloured and are studded with black dot.

  • Control
Dust the crop with finely powdered sulphur (200-mesh) @ 20kg/ha.

Harvesting and yield

The early varieties can be harvested within 60 days while the late varieties in 90 to 100 days. To use as vegetable it should be harvested early otherwise soon they become leathery and stringy. To avoid loss because of the shattering of pods, the crop is harvested before it is dead ripe. One or two rounds of the picking of pods are also recommended to avoid losses because of the shattering. The plants are uprooted or cut with a sickle, are dried on the threshing-floor for a week or ten days, and are threshed by beating with sticks, and are winnowed with baskets. The average yield of grain from a pure crop varies from 5-6 q per ha, whereas yield up to 10-15 q per ha.