Forage productivity of cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] cultivars improves by optimization of spatial arrangements

Muhammad Aamir Iqbal, Muzammil H. Siddiqui, Sher Afzal, Zahoor Ahmad, Qaiser Maqsood, Rana Dildar Khan


Sustainable production of quality forages in sufficient quantities constitutes one of the biggest challenges for profitable dairy farming. Forage legumes including cowpea offer a feasible solution to meet this task but planting geometry for spreading and erect types of varieties needs to be optimized. Two cowpea varieties (P-518 and Rawan-2003) were sown to different row spacing (30, 45 and 60 cm), while broadcasted crops were kept for comparison. Factorial arrangement of randomized complete block design (RCBD) was employed to carry out the field trial with four replicates. Dry matter biomass, quality variables, net income and benefit-cost ratio were taken as experimental variables. Rawan-2003 (spreading type) sown at 45 cm spaced rows gave significantly (P≤0.01) higher dry matter biomass (8.26 and 9.03 t ha-1 in 2013 and 2014, respectively) along with significantly (P≤0.05) improved forage quality (especially higher crude protein and lower crude fiber contents). The same variety and spatial arrangement resulted in the highest net income and benefit-cost ratio (BCR) (4.66 and 4.85 in 2013 and 2014 respectively). P-518 (erect type) gave better results with closer inter-row spacing (30 cm spaced rows), while broadcasting of both cowpea varieties proved to be inferior to all other spatial arrangements.

Palabras clave

Animal nutrition; Cowpea fodder; Dairy farming; Forage production; Legumes; Planting geometry; Profitability.

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