Cow pea-Harvest and storage
The seed crop of cow pea comes to harvest 70 – 80 days after sowing. This is generally 30 days from 50% flowering. At this time, the pods turn straw colour.
Upon ripening, the cowpea pods will turn from green to brown. This is the right stage for harvest for seed purpose. Harvesting is done manually. Two to three pickings are done.
Delay in harvest will lead to shattering of pods and infection by diseases and pest. The harvested pods are dried on the threshing floor.
The pods are then beaten using pliable sticks to prevent damage to seeds. After thorough beating, the seeds are separated from pods. The plant debris are removed and seeds cleaned by winnowing.
Cleaned seeds are then dried on tarpaulin on the threshing floor until the moisture content is reduced to 9 %.
Sieves of different sizes are used to separate small and big grains. For small seeds a sieve of 3.50 mm and for large seeds a sieve of 4.00 mm is used.