Photoperiod and harvest scenario of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) canopies were manipulated to optimize productivity for use in future controlled ecological life-support systems. Productivity was measured by edible yield rate (EYR: g·m-2·day-1), shoot harvest index (SHI: g edible biomass·[g total shoot dry weight]), and yield-efficiency rate (YER: g edible biomass·m-2·day-1per [g nonedible shoot dry weight]). Breeding lines `IT84S-2246' (S-2246) and `IT82D-889' (D-889) were grown in a greenhouse under 8-, 12-, or 24-h photoperiods. S-2246 was short-day and D-889 was day-neutral for flowering. Under each photoperiod, cowpeas were harvested either for leaves only, seeds only, or leaves plus seeds (mixed harvest). Photoperiod did not affect EYR of either breeding line for any harvest scenario tested. Averaged over both breeding lines, seed harvest gave the highest EYR at 6.7 g·m-2·day-1. The highest SHI (65%) and YER (94 mg·m-2·day-1·g-1) were achieved for leaf-only harvest of D-889 under an 8-h photoperiod. For leaf-only harvest of S-2246, both SHI and YER increased with increasing photoperiod, but declined for seed-only and mixed harvests. However, photoperiod had no effect on SHI or YER for D-889 for any harvest scenario. A second experiment utilized the short-day cowpea breeding line `IT89KD-288' (D-288) and the day-neutral breeding line `IT87D-941-1' (D-941) to compare yield parameters using photoperiod extension under differing lamp types. This experiment confirmed the photoperiod responses of D-889 and S-2246 to a mixed-harvest scenario and indicated that daylength extension with higher irradiance from high pressure sodium lamps further suppressed EYR, SHI, and YER of the short-day breeding line D-288.
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