Cowpea is well adapted to environmental conditions that affect crop production such as drought, high temperatures and other biotic stresses compared with other crops. Notwithstanding, growth and development of many cowpea cultivars are affected by drought and high temperatures, especially during floral development. This is because cowpea cultivars tend to have narrow range of adaptation as cultivars developed for one zone usually are not very productive in other zones. A study on the yield and growth performance of seven cowpea varieties was conducted during the 2012 major and minor rainy seasons at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute, Kwadaso-Kumasi, Ghana to compare the performance of the seasonal variation on each variety. These improved varieties Nhyira, Tona, Asetenapa, Asomdwe, Hewale, Videza and IT 89KD374-57 were evaluated using a randomized complete block design and replicated three times. The results showed that varieties Hewale, Videza and Nhyira gave higher seed yields, whereas IT 89KD374-57 and Asetenapa had lower seed yields. Nhyira and Hewale gave comparatively better seed yields under both conditions. Hewale was the highest seed-yielding genotype under both major and minor raining season. Cowpea production could be a profitable agribusiness for cowpea growers in Ghana considering the higher returns in terms of grain yield obtained in both seasons.
Key words: Cowpea, agronomic performance, improved varieties.
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