Analysis of genetic parameters, trait association and genetic diversity in fodder cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.]
Fodder cowpea (Vigna ungiculata (L.) Walp.) is regarded as one of the most important leguminous fodders due to its high biomass yield, high protein content and rapid growing nature. A study to analyze different genetic parameters, trait association and diversity was carried out with 79 fodder cowpea genotypes. The mean performances of the genotypes showed wide variation for all the traits studied. Plant height, the number of primary branches, the number of leaves per plant, leaf length, leaf breadth, leaf area index and dry matter yield were found to have a substantial and positive relationship with green fodder yield. Path coefficient analysis revealed that the leaf area index needs to be given due weightage for improving green fodder yield in cowpea. The 79 fodder cowpea genotypes were grouped into 10 clusters of which three were solitary which confirmed the presence of wide genetic diversity among the fodder cowpea germplasm lines. The maximum intra cluster distance was exhibited by cluster ІІІ followed by clusters ІX, ІІ, І, ІV, V and VІІ, whereas the cluster II and cluster IX recorded the greatest inter-cluster distance. Based on mean performance for green fodder production, the genotypes GETC 54, GETC 46, TNFC 0926, and GETC 53 were observed to be better prospects for exploitation in future breeding programs.
Keywords: Fodder cowpea, genetic parameters, trait association, path analysis, genetic diversity
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