Planting pigeon peas is easy as they are strong growers. If they receive enough water and nutrients, the crop will grow. Make sure you use healthy seed and that they are inoculated with Rhizobium strains that are tested. Inoculated seed will provide higher yields1)Featured image from Wikipedia.

Planting pigeon peas

Pigeon peas are used both in short and long term cropping systems. When grown as a food crop in India and Africa, the two types are often mixed with maize, sorghum or millet. The seed is placed into furrows by hand or seed drill. Seed drilling is more accurate and provides even germinated plants. In most cases one row of pigeon peas to five rows of cereal. The pigeon peas receive the same weeding and other cultural practices as the main crop. When grown as the main crop without intercropping, the seed can be broadcast, however, most growers plant them in rows 5cm deep. If you know that there is a waterlog problem, plant the crop on ridges. Weed control during the first 60 days is important. In low rainfall areas weeds can absorb a large portion of the water which can limit the main crops growth.

Field spacing

The field spacing varies according to the size of the mature plant and the purpose for which it is grown. It has been shown that the growth habit readily adapts itself to the space available, but close spacing tends to increase plant height and reduces individual plant productivity. In India, when grown as a pure crop, the average spacing is 30-45 cm between plants and 40-60cm between rows. Although most varieties, especially the spreading type, give optimum yields when planted 60cm apart with 120cm between the rows.

Seed rate

The seed rate are only guidelines. You might find that your land is less fertile and the land is on a southern slope (Southern hemisphere). These lands will receive less light than north facing slopes so your plant spacing must be further apart. Some growers prefer wide spacing as it is easier to weed between the plants. That is personal preference. Experience is the best way to learn. Plant two fields with different spacings and see which one performs the best.

The following guidelines are good to start with:

  • Intercropped: 1.12-5.6 kg/ha.
  • Pure mono stand: 13-22 kg/ha.