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Thursday, Dec 06, 2001

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High-yielding, white and long vegetable cowpea

The extra-long vegetable cowpea has a potential to yield 20 tonnes of fresh pods from a hectare

By Our Agriculture Correspondent

Scientists at the department of Olericulture at the College of Horticulture of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), Vellanikkara, have developed an extra-long vegetable cowpea variety with extra-long pods, and the high yielding variety is released by KAU as "Lola".

A pure line selection from the local varieties of vegetable cowpea from Kanakkari near Kottayam, "Lola" produces long attractive white pods with green tinge, and the pods remain fresh even if the harvest is delayed by a day or two, according to the scientists, who developed this improved variety.

It has a duration ranging between 105-120 days, and has a potential yield of 20 tonnes fresh pods per hectare under sound crop husbandry.

However, under average management, it has recorded an average output of 10.5 tonnes of fresh pods. The average seed yield is 300 kg per hectare.

"Lola" is a trailing variety, and it responds well to increased nutrition and intensive cultural practices. It requires a wider spacing of 2 m x 2m. A seed rate of 4 kg per hectare is recommended. It is, not resistant to major pests and diseases. The yield will be low under stress conditions. It is particularly adapted to the central zone of Kerala.

The first batch of pods can be harvested in 63 days after sowing, and 15 to 20 pickings can be had within the total duration of the crop.

The vines will grow to a length of 7 m and it is ideal to trait it over trellis or pandal. On an average each pod will be 53.38 cm long, and average fruit weight will be 22 g. Each pod will have 20-22 seeds, according to scientists.

The variety was field tested, and in the large scale demonstrations and multi-location trials it had established its superiority in pod yield and quality over the other varieties tested.

It out-yielded the standard variety, "Sharika" by 31.89 per cent, and it yielded 35.08 per cent more pods than the local check variety. The cooking quality of the pods is rated excellent.

Its yield was on par with the wine-red podded variety "Vyjayanthi", and in consumer acceptance also it stood at the top of the list.

Its attractive white pods with green tinge, freshness and good cooking qualities are considered its winning features. It is widely accepted by the farmers and consumers of the Central zone of Kerala.

Vegetable cowpea is among the most popular and remunerative vegetable crop of Kerala.

The crop is intensively grown all through the year by marginal farmers and in the backyard home gardens. The growers and consumers had special preferences, and this improved extra-long variety with a high yield potential will go a long way in meeting their demands.

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