Climate and Soil
It is a warm season crop and can not withstand cold weather.Continuous rainfall is also harmful for its growth. It can withstand considerable degree of drought. But under very dry conditions, it will produce a poor crop. Different varieties respond differently to temperature and day-length. The rainy season variety, if sown in summer, may give only vegetative growth. The germination is better at 12-15' C temperature and the crop thrives best between temperature of 21' and 35' C. It can tolerate partial shade.It can be grown almost in all kinds of soils, provided there is no problem of bad drainage, but these should be rich in organic matter.Saline or alkaline soils are not good. The field should be well pulverized and well leveled by planking.
Cow pea 263 (1988) : This variety is suitable for both spring and rainy season crop. Its pods are medium green, thick, meaty, tender and about 20 cm long. It is an early maturing variety. It is comparatively resistant to mosaic virus and free from golden mosaic virus. Average yield is 35 q/acre.
Seed Rate and Sowing : Sow 8-10 kg of seeds per acre. Sow spring crop in February and rainy season crop in June-July.
Spacing : Keep distance of 45 cm between rows and 15 cm between plants.Manures and Fertilizers Apply 20 kg of N (45 kg of Urea) 16 kg P2O5 (100 kg of Single Super phosphate) and 10 kg of K2O (16 kg. Muriate of Potash) per acre at sowing.
Irrigation : Irrigate the crop at 4-5 days interval in summer months and 10-12 days interval in rainy season. Adequate drainage results in a good yield.
Marketable pods are available after 45-50 days of sowing. Tender pods are harvested for marketing. Frequent pickings should be done before the pods become fibrous or the seeds in the pods gain prominence.
Seed Production :
There is no difference between the methods of raising crop for production of both green pods and seeds. In case of seed crop, land in which one cultivar of cow pea was grown in the previous year should not be used for growing another cultivar in the following year to avoid contamination with the self sown plants from the previous crop. Cowpea is a self-pollinated crop. An isolation distance of 10 meter for the production of foundation seed and 5 meter for the production of certified seed should be kept between fields of two cultivars. Ripe and dry pods harvested by hand picking or by cutting the plants in case of last flush. To avoid shattering of seeds, harvesting should be done when half to two-thirds of pods have matured. Threshing is done by a thresher. When cowpea is grown for seed, extreme care should be taken during threshing to prevent injury to the seed. For seed purpose, the harvested pods are dried for a few days before threshing. The threshed seeds are also dried sufficiently before storage in a cool and dry place. The seeds maintain viability for two year sunder normal storage conditions.