A study was conducted at the Seed Laboratory of the Njala Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) to evaluate the seed quality traits of five cowpea genotypes at room temperature (25 ± 2°C). The five genotypes studied were Slipeas 1, 2, 4 and 5 and local Tabe. The trial was laid out in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) in four replicates. The results indicated that the local variety (Tabe) had the highest percentage of seed coat damage (40%) followed by Slipea 5 (30%) whilst Slipea 1 had the lowest percentage seed coat damage (10%). The vigor and germination percentages of the improved cowpea varieties were higher than the local Tabe. Slipeas 2 and 4 had the highest vigor and germination percentages in this study. Highly positive correlation (r = 0.92, p < 0.001) was observed between vigor and germination percentages. From the findings of this study, the improved cowpea varieties Slipeas 2 and 4 with high vigor and germination indices can be recommended to farmers and seed dealers for long term storage and growing under stress conditions. Breeders can also use them as parents in breeding for stress tolerant cowpea varieties.
Key words: Genotype, seed quality, seed coat damage, germination, vigor.
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