Vigna ungiculata, Leguminaceae

It is originated from Africa.

Cowpea is one of the most important leguminous crops of Asia, Africa, Southern Europe and South America. It is mostly grown as a Kharif season crop. We use cowpea in the form of food as well as fodder (Chara). Uttar Pradesh is the leading state in production of cowpea in India. Cowpea is a self pollinating crop. Its pods are eaten as vegetable.

Cowpea is a protein rich grain (23%). It contains 60.3% of carbohydrate and 1.8% Fat.

Varieties and Hybrids

Paiyur 1, Vamban 2, Co-1, Co-2, Co-6, VBN 1, VBN 2


It is a warm season crop and is drought tolerant The temperature required for its germination is 12 to 15°C. Cowpea flourishes easily between the temperature of 25-35°C. It can’t survive in cold climate.


  • It can be grown in the month of February and March during Summer season
  • During Kharif it is grown during June and July.


Cowpea can be grown in sandy loamy soil having good water drainage capacity. pH between 4.5-8.0 is needed for its cultivation.


It requires 10-15 t/ha of FYM,Urea of 20kg/ha and SSP of 40-50kg/ha

Seed rate and spacing

For grain purpose the seed rate required is 15-20kg/ha and for Fodder purpose, the seed rate will be 35-40kg/ha. To use it as green pod, the seed rate will be 20-25kg/ha

It requires a spacing of 30*10cm in summer season and 45*10 in rainy season.

Seed treatment

Treat the seeds with Carbendazim or Thiram 2 g/kg of seed 24 hours before sowing.


It can be done by Dibbling method or placing the seeds behind the plough by using seed drillers.

Water Management

Irrigate immediately after sowing followed by life irrigation on the third day. Irrigate at intervals of 7 to 10 days depending upon soil and climatic conditions. Flowering and pod formation stages are critical periods when irrigation is a must. Avoid water stagnation at all stages. . Apply KCl at 0.5 per cent as foliar spray during vegetative stage if there is moisture stress.

Weed Management

Pre emergence application of Pendimethalin 2 litres on 3 days after sowing using Knapsack/Rocker sprayer fitted with flat fan nozzle using 500 l of water for spraying one ha. After this, one hand weeding on 30 days after sowing gives weed free environment throughout the crop period.

If herbicides are not applied give two hand weedings on 15 and 30 days after sowing.


Harvesting time of cowpea as vegetable is 45 to 90 days after sowing. Before storage, threshed crop must be dried in the heat of sun. Normally cutting of the crop should be done in 40 to 45 days after sowing the seeds.

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