A. Graves Gillaspie Jr. and Robert L. Jarret
Ricardo Goenaga, A. Graves Gillaspie Jr, and Adolfo Quiles
Cowpea or Southernpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] is an important legume crop used as a feed for livestock, as a green vegetable, and for consumption of its dry beans, which provide 22% to 25% protein. The crop is very sensitive to alkaline soil conditions. When grown at soil pH of 7.5 or higher, cowpea develops severe leaf chlorosis caused by deficiencies of iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn) resulting in stunted plant growth and yield reduction. We evaluated in replicated field experiments at St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, 24 PIs and two commercial cultivars, some of which have shown some tolerance to alkaline soils in unreplicated, seed regeneration plots of the U.S. cowpea collection. Alkaline soil conditions at St. Croix were too severe resulting in average yield of genotypes at this location being significantly lower and 77% less than that at Juana Díaz. Nevertheless, some genotypes performed well at both locations. For example, PIs 222756, 214354, 163142, 582605, 582840, 255766, 582610, 582614, 582576, 582809, and 349674 yielded in the upper half of the group at both locations. Accession PI 163142 ranked third in grain yield production at both locations and outyielded the iron-chlorosis-resistant controls at St. Croix. These genotypes deserve further attention as potential sources of alkaline soil tolerance.