Cowpea [ Vigna unguiculata
(L.) Walp.] productivity in the West African sub-region is low due to attacks from insect pests, inefficient cropping system and low yield potential of local varieties. Therefore, to increase productivity, it is necessary to develop suitable agronomic practices and planting arrangement that will maximize the productivity of the improved varieties available from research institutes. A trial comprising ten cowpea-cereals cropping patterns, two cowpea varieties and two spray treatments was conducted in the Sudan Savanna of Nigeria in 1999 and 2000. The cropping patterns involved different row-to-row combinations of cowpea with millet ( Pennisetum glaucum
L. R. Br.) or sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor
). Insecticide spraying increased cowpea grain yield, threshing percentage, harvest index, gross monetary returns significantly under all planting patterns and varieties, but had no significant effect on growth parameters. Sole cowpea produced significantly higher gross monetary returns than other treatments. Cowpea-sorghum systems had higher productivity than cowpea-millet systems. Gross returns on total produce from sole crop cowpea with insecticide spray were almost doubled of the returns from sole cereals. Overall, 2 rows of sorghum: 4 rows of cowpea (2S:4C) system using improved cowpea with insecticide spray, was identified the most promising considering the socio-economic conditions of the resource poor farmers.