Effect of Seed Priming on Germination Properties and Seedling Establishment of Cowpea (Vigna sinensis)
Early emergence and stand establishment of cowpea are considered to be the most important yield-contributing factors in rainfed areas. Laboratory tests and afield experiment were conducted in RCB design in 2011 at a research farm in Ramhormoz, Iran, to evaluate the effects of hydropriming (8, 12 and 16 hours duration) and halo priming (solutions of 1.5% KNO3 and 0.8% NaCl) on seedling vigor and field establishment of cowpea. Analysis of variance of laboratory data showed that hydropriming significantly improved germination rate, seed vigor index, and seedling dry weights. However, germination percentage for seeds primed with KNO3 and non-primed seeds were statistically similar, but higher than those for NaCl priming. Overall, hydropriming treatment was comparatively superior in the laboratory tests. Invigoration of cowpea seeds by hydropriming and NaCl priming resulted in higher seedling emergence and establishment in the field, compared to control and seed priming with KNO3. Seedling emergence rate was also enhanced by priming seeds with water, suggesting that hydropriming is a simple, low cost and environmentally friendly technique for improving seed and seedling vigor of cowpea.
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