Drought Tolerant Cow Pea - M66 & K80

Cow Pea M66

  • M66 is a bushy semi-spreading plant with an indeterminate growth habit
  • It is a dual-purpose variety grown for both leaves and grain
  • The leaves and midribs are dark green
  • It flowers within 55-60 days
  • Flowers are purple with a white corolla
  • Matures within 80-90 days
  • The pods are green when young, turn bright red during grain filling and brown purple when dry
  • It has smooth creamy brown seeds having a small eye
  • The yields range from 800-1700 kg/ha or 320-680 kg/acre
  • M66 is tolerant to yellow mottle virus and scab moderately tolerant to septoria leaf spot and powdery mildew
  • It has some field tolerance to aphids and thrips.
  • M66 may mutate to various forms during the growing period

Cow Pea K80

  • K80 is a dual-purpose variety suitable for both grain and leaf production.
  • It has a semi-spreading habit and indeterminate flowering pattern
  • Leaves are lanceolate with a distinctive silvery midrib
  • The flowers are purple blue and the corollas are pigmented ivory white
  • Immature pods are green and turn white brown with interspersed faint red brown spots at maturity
  • Seeds are smooth and creamy brown in colour with a small eye
  • Potential yields range from 800-1800kg/ha or 320-720 kg/acre
  • Matures in 80 to 90 days.
  • It is resistant to aphids, moderately tolerant to thrips, pod borers and leafhopper
  • Moderately tolerant to foliar fungal diseases and mosaic virus
  • K80 may mutate to various forms during the growing period

Target Areas Of Production

M66 is recommended for medium and higher altitudes of between 1200-1500 above sea level in agro-ecological zone III and IV.

Katumani 80 is recommended for drier agro-ecological zones IV and V or areas below (1500m above sea level receiving an average of 200mm rainfall per season.

These are agro-ecological zones IV and V in Nyanza, Coast, lower Kitui, Mwingi, Makueni, Tharaka, Tana River districts, and Yatta plateau in Machakos districts.

Crop Management

Land preparation:

The field should be well prepared without big soil clods and have a fine filth. Hand, oxen plough, tractor can be used for ploughing.

Time of planting:

Early planting is recommended but not before 30mm of rainfall is received. Spatial planting is also recommended.

Seed rate:

20-25kg/ha (8-10kg per acre)

Number of plants per hill:

Sow 3-4 seeds/hill and thin 2 weeks after emergence to one seedling per hole.

Depth of planting:

Seed should be placed between 4-5cm deep and covered properly.


The distance between rows is 60cm and between plants 20cm.

Intercrop: Maize: 150cm X 30 cm, 2 rows, 120cm X 30cm, 1 row

 Sorghum: 150cm X 15cm, 2 rows


Cowpeas require nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer application. However, where the soils are highly eroded and very deficient in these nutrients, a basal dose of 10-15kg/ha of nitrogen and 20-25kg/ha of single or triple super phosphate fertilizers may be broadcasted. Cowpeas not pod if a lot of nitrogen is applied and remains very leafy.


The first weeding should be done two weeks after emergence and the second one must be done before flowering.

Crop Protection

Insect pests:

Before flowering aphids, thrips, leafhoppers

After flowering – aphids, pod borers, pod sucking bug, apion beetle During storage – Bruchids

Chemical control Aphids: Use recommended insecticides

Harvesting and storage

Time of harvesting – harvest when all the pods have turned brown and are dropping. Weevils are major storage pests.

The grains should be well dried before being stored.

To store, use Hermatic bags or dust the grain with super Actellic (50g per bag) or with neem tree leaves or treat with wood-ash (4-6 kg of ash per bag).