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Clyde Wilson, Xuan Liu, Scott M. Lesch, and Donald L. Suarez

Over the last several years, there has been increasing interest in amending the soil using cover crops, especially in desert agriculture. One cover crop of interest in the desert Coachella Valley of California is cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.]. Cowpea is particularly useful in that as an excellent cover crop, fixing abundant amounts of nitrogen which can reduce fertilizer costs. However, soil salinity problems are of increasing concern in the Coachella Valley of California where the Colorado River water is a major source of irrigation water. Unfortunately, little information is available on the response of cowpea growth to salt stress. Thus, we investigated the growth response of 12 major cowpea cultivars (`CB5', `CB27', `CB46', `IT89KD-288', `IT93K-503-1', `Iron Clay', `Speckled Purple Hall', `UCR 134', `UCR 671', `UCR 730', `8517', and `7964') to increasing salinity levels. The experiment was set up as a standard Split Plot design. Seven salinity levels ranging from 2.6 to 20.1 dS·m–1 were constructed, based on Colorado River water salt composition, to have NaCl, CaCl2 and MgSO4 as the salinization salts. The osmotic potential ranged from –0.075 to –0.82 MPa. Salt stress began 7 days after planting by adding the salts into irrigating nutrient solution and ended after 5 consecutive days. The plants were harvested during flowering period for biomass measurement (53 days after planting). Data analysis using SAS analysis of variance indicated that the salinity in the range between 2.6 and 20.1 dS·m–1 significantly reduced leaf area, leaf dry weight, stem dry weight and root dry weight (P ≤ 0.05). We applied the data to a salt-tolerance model, log(Y) = a1 + a2X + a3X2, where Y represents biomass, a1, a2 and a3 are empirical constants, and X represents salinity, and found that the model accounted for 99%, 97%, 96%, 99%, and 96% of salt effect for cowpea shoot, leaf area, leaf dry weight, stem dry weight and root dry weight, respectively. We also found significant differences (P ≤ 0.05) of each biomass parameter among the 12 cultivars and obtained different sets of the empirical constants to quantitatively describe the response of each biomass parameter to salinity for individual cowpea cultivars. Since a significant salt × cultivar interaction effect (P ≤ 0.05) was found on leaf area and leaf dry weight, we concluded that salt tolerance differences exist among the tested cultivars.

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R. L. Fery and P. D. Dukes

The Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture announced the release of `Bettergro Blackeye' southernpea on 24 July 1991. The new cultivar is well adapted for production throughout the southern United States where it can be expected to produce excellent yields of high quality, blackeye-type peas. `Bettergro Blackeye' outyielded the `Pinkeye Purple Hull-BVR' check in the 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989 Regional Southernpea Cooperative Trials by 34.8, 14.3, 12.6, and 20.9%, respectively. Canned samples of fresh `Bettergro Blackeye' peas scored well in three years of quality evaluation tests. The new cultivar is resistant to the cowpea curculio, the major insect pest of the southernpea in southeastern production areas, and root knot, a severe root disease incited by several species of the root-knot nematode. `Bettergro Blackeye' plants have a greater tendency to produce a second crop than plants of most southernpea cultivars.

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Waltram Second Ravelombola, Ainong Shi, Yuejin Weng, John Clark, Dennis Motes, Pengyin Chen, and Vibha Srivastava

southernpea, blackeye pea, crowder pea, lubia, niebe, coupe, or frijole is usually grown by small-scale farmers (less than 50 ha) mainly in Southern States, and there is a significant blackeye bean industry in California. It is a profitable crop for growers

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crop. Several types of southernpeas, e.g., pinkeye peas, blackeye peas, crowder peas, cream peas and snap peas, have a long history of use in the southern United States. An extensive industry exists to supply the canned and frozen peas that are marketed