Stability and extent of resistance of cowpea lines to flower bud thrips in Uganda
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) is a legume attacked by several field insect pests, with flower thrips (Megalurothrips sjostedti Trybom) being the most damaging. It causes 20 to 100% yield losses. Cowpea constitutes an important source of protein for resource poor households in Africa. The objective of this study was to identify cowpea lines that are resistant to flower thrips as a step in developing sustainable thrips management strategies. Seventy two cowpea cultivars were screened in three locations and two rainy seasons in Uganda, for thrips damage and yield components. Up to 11 cultivars (IT2841*Brown (1.50), MU20B (1.58), EBELAT*NE39 (1.61), WC17 (1.63), WC29 (1.65), MU24C (1.65), WC5 (1.66), NE46 (1.67), WC30 (1.68), NE67 (1.69), and NE51 (1.71)) were the most resistant and stable across locations. However, thrips damage was negatively correlated with the number of days to flowering (r = -0.32), indicating that the resistance in the cultivars was explained by the flower thrips infestation escape due to later flowering. Cultivar MU9 was high yielding (813.87 kg ha-1) and the most adapted genotype to all the locations; while cultivars WC26, NE48, and NE5 were the most adapted to Arua and Serere, and WC48A was the most adapted to Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute, Kabanyolo (MUARIK). There is potential of finding resistance sources in the cultivars tested.
Keywords: GGE biplot, Megalurothrips sjostedti, Vigna unguiculata