Effect of Planting Density on the Performance of Three Cowpea Cultivars (Vigna Unguiculata Walp L.)

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Elneel, Soheir Mahjoub Hamad
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A field experiment was conducted for one season (2003 - 2004) in the Demonstration Farm of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum at Shambat to evaluate the performance of cowpea cultivars under different planting densities under irrigation. The treatments consisted of three spacing viz; 15,30 and 45 cm between holes (referred to as S1, S2 and S3, respectively), and three cultivars of cowpea were used in the experiment: Two introduced cultivars (Eien – elghazal and Dahab - elgoaz), and a local type from Elobied area (referred to as V1, V2 and V3 in this study, respectively) Characters studied included: Growth attributes (plant height, number of branches per plant, number of nodes per plant, number of leaves per plant). Phenological characters (position of the first reproductive node, number of days to 50% flowering, number of days to physiological maturity), total shoot biomass at maturity and yield attributes (number of flowers per plant, number of pods per plant, number of seeds per pod, 100 seed weight, seed yield per plant, seed yield per area, harvest Index). The results showed that, planting density had no significant effect on growth and phenological characters. In contrast, planting density had significant effect on most yield attributes. In this respect, increasing plant population significantly increased seed yield per unit area, but decreased seed yield per plant and this was associated with lower number of pods per plant. Total shoot biomass and harvest index were significantly affected by plant spacing. In this regard, dense planting increased total shoot biomass, and reduced harvest index. On the other hand, differences among cultivars were significant in all treatments. In this regard, the local cultivar had significantly taller stem and greater number of nodes, branches and leaves per plant compared with introduced cultivars. Also it out yielded the introduced cultivars and the high yield was associated with heavier 100-seed weight, but took longer period to mature. The local cultivar had greater shoot biomass, but had lower harvest index.
May -2004