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Cowpea

plants, grown and peas

COWPEA (Vigna sinensis). It belongs to the natural order Leguminosece, family Fabacea, and is native of southeastern Asia. the Malay Archipelago and central Africa. It is closely related to the asparagus bean and the catjang, the other cultivated species of the genus. It' was introduced into the United States in the 18th century, and is most largely grown in the southern States, where it is known as the corn field or black-eye pea. Its habits of growth vary from a bush type in the northern States to a vine where it has a longer period of growth. Numerous varieties are on the market, Whippoorwill, Black, Clay, and Unknown are, favorites. They are often grown on poor soils, hut such should be enriched either with barn yard manure or phosphatic fertilizers. The seed is sown broadcast or drilled, at the rate of from one-half to one and a half bushels per acre.

Uses and Feeding Value. It is grown for food, hay, silage, soiling, grazing and soil reno vation, having marked powers of enriching the.

soil in nitrogen like clover (q.v.). Its average percentage composition is : Cowpea seeds are eaten by man, either green, shelled and cooked like garden peas or shell beans, or dried for winter use. They are often

fed to stock. Some find difficulty in curing cowpea hay satisfactorily, but this is overcome with experience. The silage is somewhat similar to the green crop in composition. When used for soiling the amount consumed and time of feeding can be regulated, thus avoiding bloat ing, which is liable to occur when pasturing. Sheep are usually turned on the pasture before the plants are in bloom, cattle about the time the plants come into bloom; while for swine, the peas are allowed to reach full size. An acre will pasture 15 or 20 pigs for several weeks. The manure more than compensates for the vines eaten. Turkeys and chickens eat the ripe peas and do well on them. The plants are sometimes cut down by the cowpea wilt. The September brood of the boll-worm and the weevil (Bruchis sinensis) also give trouble to the plants. Consult Smith, (Cowpeas ;) Farmers' Bulletin No. 89; Farmers' Bulletin No. 318; United States Department of Agri culture and Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin No. 229.