Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) is one of the most important grain legumes in the semi-arid regions of many African countries including Ethiopia. However, it is less cultivated and scarcely distributed pulse crop in Abergelle due to a lack of improved varieties. A field experiment was conducted during the 2014 and 2015 main cropping seasons using a randomized complete block design with three replications to evaluate seven cowpea varieties for yield and yield related traits under rain-fed conditions at Abergelle Agricultural Research Center on station. Analysis of variance of data showed significantly varietal differences at P< 0.05 for days to 50% flowering; pod filling period, 90% physiological maturity, pod length and plant height, number of seeds per pod, seed yield, grain yield, biomass yield and thousand seed weight. However, no significant varietal difference was observed for harvest index. Bekur had the highest seed yield (14.85 qt.ha-1) followed by Bole (13.57 qt.ha-1), while the lowest seed yield was observed from BEB (6.71 qt.ha-1). Overall, Bekur and Bole had better performance compared to the other varieties for yield and the yield related traits. As compared to the rest, these two varieties were therefore recommended as promising varieties to the farmers of Abergelle area and other districts having the same agro-ecologies based on their optimal performance for adoption.
Key words: Optimal performance, yield, yield related traits, Vigna unguiculata L.
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