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J. A. Thies, P. A. Berland, and R. L. Fery

Rhizoctonia solani is an important pathogen of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) in the southern U.S. and is the primary cause of seedling diseases in this crop. Stand losses caused by R. solani are especially severe when cowpea is planted in cold, spring soils. Three cowpea cultivars (Coronet, Knuckle Purple Hull, and Mississippi Silver) were evaluated in R. solani-inoculated field tests at four planting dates in Charleston, SC during 2005. The tests were planted on 25 Apr., 9 May, 27 May, and 13 June. The experimental design for each test was a split-plot with six replicates. Whole plots were cultivars, and sub-plots were inoculated with R. solani and an uninoculated control. Rhizoctonia solani caused significant seedling losses in all cultivars planted on the first three planting dates. Seed weight and seed numbers were reduced for `Mississippi Silver' in inoculated plots for all planting dates. In general, `Mississippi Silver' and `Coronet' had higher stand counts and heavier seed yields than `Knuckle Purple Hull', but all three cultivars were susceptible to R. solani. The development of resistant cowpea cultivars would reduce stand losses due to R. solani and improve seed yields of cowpea planted in cold, spring soils.

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J. A. Thies, P. A. Berland, and R. L. Fery

Rhizoctonia solani is an important pathogen of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) in the southern U.S. and worldwide. Cowpeas are especially susceptible to seedling diseases caused by R. solani when planted in cold, moist, spring soils. Nine cowpea cultivars were evaluated in inoculated field tests at six planting dates in Charleston, S.C., during 2004. The cowpea cultivars evaluated were Bettergro Blackeye, Knuckle Purple Hull, Mississippi Silver, Colossus-80, Charleston Nemagreen, Texas Cream-40, White Acre, Coronet, and Charleston Greenpack. The tests were planted on 20 Apr., 29 Apr., 11 May, 19 May, 27 May, and 8 June. The experimental design for each test was a split-plot with six replicates. Whole plots were cultivars, and sub-plots were inoculation with R. solani and an uninoculated control. Rhizoctonia solani caused significant seedling losses in all cultivars evaluated during mid-April to early June and seed yields were reduced in the 11 May planting. In general, standard cowpea cultivars (Mississippi Silver, Colossus-80, and Coronet) had higher stand counts and produced heavier seed yields than other cowpea cultivars, although these standard cultivars were not resistant to R. solani. Resistant cowpea cultivars are needed to allow earlier planting of the crop in cold soils, which would extend the growing season and allow more efficient use of harvesting equipment and processing facilities.