Cowpea seed comes in three different types – forage, grain, and dual-purpose cowpea types. It can be a prostrate, semi-erect or erect herbaceous annual summer legume with a well-developed taproot system. It is a multi-purpose crop, being used for human consumption as a pulse grain and vegetable, or as a forage crop being grazed or preserved. It is also often used as a cover crop / green manuring.
The minimum rainfall requirement for Cowpea production is 450 mm per annum.