Download a copy of the Calypso Cowpea factsheet.
Calypso™ is an annual forage cowpea with a spreading growth habit. It was selected from Ebony PR as a superior forage or green manuring cowpea on the basis of its resistance to stem rot disease, growth habit, vigorous growth, good seed yield and later maturity. Calypso™ is resistant to races 3 and 4 of the severe root rot fungus, Phytophthora vignae. Meringa cowpeas are susceptible to both these races. A distinguishing feature of this variety is a white flower, along with the slight anthocyanin tinge along the length of their seed pod and the strong anthocyanin colouration of the tip of the pod. Seed colour is brown versus Ebony being black. Calypso™ was developed for use as a green manure crop in sugar cane growing areas and for use as a forage crop in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Other features include a longer production season, increased dry matter production and improved return postgrazing. Calypso™ can be sown into heavier soil types providing an alternative to Lab Lab. Calypso™ has excellent drought tolerance. Good tolerance to periods of heat and moisture stress. Best under warm, humid conditions, with temperatures between 20°C and 30°C. Moderate adaption to shade.
• An extremely versatile summer forage providing good grazing, hay and silage options
• Spreading growth habit that can withstand harder grazings
• Improved root and stem rot resistance
• Great source of nitrogen fixation in summer rotation
• Ideal for producing high quality summer finishing feed
• Nil prussic acid poisoning issues
• Suitable as a companion legume with millet and forage sorghum
Recommended planting rate 20–35kg per hectare as bare seed inoculated with Group I inoculant. Sowing arrangement according to intended use: for fodder and green manure, 30−60 cm between rows and 10−15 cm between plants are suitable; required seeding rate about 20 kg/ha. Other seeding rates reported are 10−40 kg/ha when sown in rows and up to 90 kg/ha when broadcast. Most common 20−35 kg/ha. Sowing depth 3−5 cm. Seed is soft so germination is usually rapid if moisture and temperature are adequate. Sow in spring to early autumn. Ideally from mid October when soil temperatures reach a consistent 18°C, over 3−4 days at 9.00am consecutive. Apply superphosphate as required by soil test. A small application of nitrogen (10 to 20kg N/ha) may give early assistance (not with seed). Fast establishment and speed to grazing.
Vegetative dry matter production of 3−10 t/ha in 8−12 weeks; grain production 250−4,000 kg/ha.
Variety Management /Agronomy
Planting cowpea with sorghum or millet as a combination crop can add some real benefits; adding nitrogen to the system for increased yield, while also providing a more balanced ration for grazing stock and adding quality to hay and silage cuts through increased protein content. Planting rates for the components of a combination crop should be 50−60% of the recommended rates for the individual varieties. Calypso™ is very susceptible to frost. It grows well only in warm seasons with 25−35°C as optimum temperature. When seasons are suitable and when sown relatively early, the best forage types will regrow after grazing. Grazing should be light to ensure that the plant frame is retained and damage is limited to ensure adequate regrowth potential. Earlier plantings produce the most feed potential.
Bean fly can attack late-sown crops in the two to three leaf stage. Heliothis can affect flowering and seed set. However, insects are not usually a problem.
Calypso™ has high nutritive value. Crude protein in green foliage 14−21% and in crop residues 6−8%, in grain 18−26%; IVDMD of foliage >80%. IVDMD of residues after grain harvest 55−65%.
Safe grazing, low bloat risk and nil prussic acid, can safely graze stressed crop. Cowpeas have been known to cause photosensitivity in young sheep.