Response of Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. ] to Planting Date and Spacing in Alabama

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 8:00 AM
Desert Salon 4-6 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Rao.S Mentreddy, Professor, of, Agronomy , Plant and Soils, Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
Rapheal Baggett, Doctoral student , Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
Ernst Cebert, Research Associate Professor , Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
Udai R Bishnoi, Professor Emeritus , Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] is a tropica legume with multiple uses such as dry grain, fresh vegetable, forage and fodder, and fuel crop in Asian countries.  In the United States, limited studies have shown its potential as a forage crop for small ruminants.  In a two-year field study, four pigeonpea varieties, GA1, GA2, W1, and W3 were planted on May 28 and June 22, and three intra-row spacing of 5, 10, and 15 cm, and were assessed for growth, development, horticultural traits and fresh pod yield.  At final harvest ten plants from each plot were harvested at random by cutting them at ground level.  The plants were separated into leaves, stems, and pods; weighed and subsamples of each plant part was dried to constant weight to determine dry matter yield and partitioning. Leaf and stem were combined and analyzed for digestible dry matter (DDM), digestible matter intake (DMI), relative feeding value (RFV), and crude protein (CP) using appropriate published procedures.   Planting in May resulted in higher yield than planting in June.  Variety GA2 matured earlier than other varieties, but had lower fresh pod yields. The long duration varieties produced higher yield than the shorter duration.  Among varieties, W1 produced the highest pod yield (14 MT/ha) and GA2 produced the lowest pod yield (10 MT/ha).  The early maturing varieties, particularly GA2 had a better quality forage than late maturing types.  Variety GA2 had higher content of DDM (53.6%), DMI (2.0%), RFV (85.8%), and CP (14.6%) compared to other varieties.  Spacing did not influence pod yield nor forage quality.   Pigeonpea has potential as a niche market vegetable and small ruminant forage crop in Alabama.