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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Bodie Bean Responses to Changes in Plant Density1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 4, p. 593-596
    Received: July 20, 1981

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  1. Richard A. I. Brathwaite2



Low yielding vining types of bodie bean [Vigna Unguiculata (L.) Walp. syn. V. sinensis] are traditionally grown throughout the Commonwealth Caribbean for their green immature pods. To increase productivity and profitability of this nutritionally important cowpea an erect bush cultivar was recently introduced, but it is frequently cultivated at highly variable plant densities, contributing to low yields. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of plant density at thinning of 63, 74, 88, 111, 148, 222, and 444 thousand plants/ha (TPH) in 45 cm rows on the yield and quality of marketable green immature pods of ‘Los Banos Bush Sitao No. 1’ bodie bean when grown under weed-free conditions during the rainy season. The experiment was established during 1975, 1977, and 1978 on a River Estate sandy loam (Fluventic Eutropept) at Valsayn and a Cunupia silty clay loam (Aquic Eutropept) near Piarco in Trinidad. Although differences occurred in seasonal precipitation between the two locations, response of the different plant parameters to density was generally similar. Increasing plant density increased the yield while the weight and numbers of pods/plant decreased as density increased. The number of pods/plant was the yield component most affected by the plant density. Pod size was reduced by density increments of 148 to 444 TPH. Plant density did not affect the days to 50% flowering or maturity, pod length, plant height or show evidence of density-induced mortality, but slightly decreased the number of branches/plant. Pod moisutre content was slightly reduced by plant densities of 222 and 444 TPH, but the grading quality of the pods and their fiber and protein contents were unaffected. The results indicate that high yields of good quality pods can be obtained from increased plant density, and in a weed-free environment a density of 148 TPH in 45 cm rows would result in a significant yield advantage to bodie bean growers.

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