Performance for bacterial blight, yield and yield components of cowpea genotypes derived from crosses of cowpea genotypes resistant and susceptible to cercospora leaf spot
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Cowpea production is mainly constrained by diseases majorly Cercospora leaf spot. Genotypes derived from the population of crosses resistant to Cercospora leaf spot by susceptible parents were developed, and these were screened for Cercospora resistance at F2 generation. However, no comprehensive study has been carried out on the reaction of these derived genotypes to other diseases and their yield and yield components. The objective of this study was to determine the reaction of these genotypes to bacterial blight (Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vignicola) and evaluate their yield and yield component performance. A field experiment was set up at Makerere University Agricultural Research institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK). The experiment was set in an alpha lattice design (10 blocks x 11 genotypes/block). A total of 110 genotypes were evaluated. Data was collected on bacterial blight, yield (100 seed weight) and yield components (peduncles per plant, pods per plant, pods per peduncle, seeds per pod). Data were analyzed using Genstat software (version, 14). Bacterial blight was found not significantly different (P > 0.05) among the genotypes. Days to first flowering, 50% flowering and 50% maturity were also not significant (P > 0.05). However, days to 95% maturity was found significantly different among the genotypes (P = 0.012). The grain yield (= seed weight) of the genotypes was also found significant (P = 0.013); while the yield components parameters (peduncles per plant, pods per plant, pods per peduncle, seeds per pod) were all not significant (P > 0.05). Pearson’s correlation results indicated weak positive correlations between bacterial blight and yield and yield components with the only number of seeds per pod significant (r = 0.1417, P = 0.0407). Genotype WC 2 x IT90K-S277-S2-SF4:6/7 had a better yield component performance (peduncles per plant and pods per peduncle); however, genotype WC 36 x Videza-SF4:6/4 C1 Brown was the highest yielding (seed weight of 1129 kg). The findings of the study revealed that the cowpea genotypes responded similarly to bacterial blight, and; their yield and yield components unlike for days to 95% maturity and 100 seed weight. Further evaluations need to be carried out for the response of these genotypes to the major pests. Genotype WC 2 x IT90K-S277-S2-SF4:6/7 and genotype WC 36 x Videza-SF4:6/4 C1 Brown, with better performance, can be advanced for further breeding work on the reaction of these genotypes to major pests and diseases while not compromising their yield.