Evaluation of Cowpea varieties for Integration into the cropping Systems
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Gbenga Akinwale, Stephen Boahen, Canon Engoke. (1/3/2020). Evaluation of Cowpea varieties for Integration into the cropping Systems. Ibadan, Nigeria: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Field experiments were conducted at two locations in the central region of Malawi during the 2018/2019 main cropping season to evaluate fifteen cowpea varieties (12 advanced lines and three standard checks) obtained from International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Mozambique Station for grain yields, adaptation and tolerance to pest and disease. At both locations, experiments were laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. A plot size of 5 m × 2.5 m was used and two seeds of each variety were sown at a spacing of 50 cm between rows and 15 cm between plants. All agronomic practices were observed and kept uniform. Data were collected on days to emergence, days to 50% flowering, days to podding, days to 95% maturity, plant height, number of pods per plant, number of seeds per pod, pod length, plant biomass, 100 grain weight and grain yield. Data were subjected to combined analysis of variance (ANOVA). Participatory variety selection was carried out using voting and focus group discussion. Sixty farmers were invited and segregated into gender groups (30 men and 30 women) and were asked to assess each anonymously labeled genotype and identify the variety of their choice. Votes were casted and tallied, and preference scores were computed. Farmers were asked to state the reasons why they selected a particular variety. Combined analysis of variance revealed significant genotypic (G) and locations (L) differences for all agronomic traits evaluated except for days to podding, days to maturity and plant biomass. Across locations, IT00k-126-3 had the highest grain yield of 1532kg/ha, closely followed by IT10K-817-7 which had 1486kg/ha while Mkanaufiti, a commercial variety recorded the lowest grain yield of 375kg/ha. The results also indicated that IT-16 and IT00k-126-3 matured earlier than any other varieties, thus making them more adaptable to areas with unreliable rainfall where crop failure is often attributed to early cessation of rains. Overall, four genotypes, namely IT00K-126-3, IT10K-817-7, IT-16 and IT10K-817-1 were selected by most farmers. Six traits (high yield, early maturity, and number of pods per plant, time of cooking, taste and pest and disease resistance) were found to be the major traits influencing farmers’ choice of cowpea varieties. The evaluation between gender groups showed no significant differences in the trait used for variety selection. However, gender differences were observed for variety selection.