Agronomic evaluation of cowpea cultivars developed for the West African Savannas


The goal of this research was to evaluate diverse cowpea genotypes developed over the past four decades in the Nigerian Sudan Savannas for their agronomic performance and to identify groups of cultivars with similar quantitative characters. Characterization would facilitate the efficient synthesis of breeding populations for further improvement of cowpea. Also, superior genotypes with desirable characteristics could be identified and disseminated in the dry savannas of West Africa. Significant variations were observed in the agronomic characteristics of the cultivars in this study. Principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis were performed on these genotypes and found that there were significant correlations among the variables measured. Modern cultivars outperformed the older ones and from the results of PCA, it was found that the most important variables for the classification of cowpea cultivars are high canopy, high seed weight, high total dry matter, high HI, and high grain and fodder yield. This suggests that these traits could be used in selection index for genetic improvement of cowpea. Cluster analysis resulted in 5 groups mostly corresponding to era of release except cluster I, which contained cowpea cultivars from all eras. Two distinct groups in clusters IV and V were identified. Cultivars in cluster IV that were released 1990–2000 had high grain and fodder yield. These cultivars could be evaluated on-farm for eventual release to farmers. They could also be used in breeding programs for improvements in grain and fodder yield of cowpea. Cluster V contained two cultivars that clearly had the highest fodder yield, suggesting that they could be used to improve the fodder yield of cowpea.

Authors: , , , , , ,
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Publication: Legume Research, 40(4), 669-676
Number of pages: 8
File type: PDF

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