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Chick peas a profitable option, but disease must be managed

With high chickpea prices on offer, farmers are urged to keep on top of disease threats in order to take advantage of the strong market in 2017.

“Chickpeas are attracting good prices so they’re an attractive option for farmers in the region,” said Bill Manning - Cropping Advisor, North West Local Land Services.

“Chickpeas are also a useful rotation crop, as they provide significant benefits to the farming systems in the region” said Bill.

However, chickpeas can susceptible to a range of diseases and need to be managed carefully to reduce the risk of ascochyta, botrytis and phytophthora diseases.

Ascochyta blight is an air, residue and seed borne disease, and is a major concern for growers on the Northern Tablelands. To combat ascochyta growers are advised to select varieties with improved disease resistance to reduce the need for fungicide sprays and to control volunteer chickpeas in fallow.

Additionally, seed should be treated with a registered fungicide, and a foliar fungicide should be applied before the first post emergent rain event. Subsequent in crop foliar applications are likely to be necessary.

Paddocks previously sown to lucerne and medics are at greater risk to phytophthora root rot, another serious chickpea disease threat, particularly where the land is susceptible to water logging.

“There is not a lot that farmers can do to combat phytophthora other than to avoid planting into areas that have a history of growing lucerne or other medics which can host phytophthora, and to select varieties that are more tolerent to the disease,” explained Bill.

Botrytis grey mould is an airborne foliar disease which is only active when temperatures warm up in spring, such as the conditions many growers faced last year and in 2010. Strategies to reduce the risk of botrytis grey mould include paddock selection, later sowing, planting on wider row spacings and foliar fungicides.

Information on chickpea disease management can also be found at the Pulse Australia website and in the NSW Department of Primary Industries 2017 Winter Crop Variety Sowing Guide and the Chickpeas Northern Region GrowNotes publication from GRDC.

For more information, please contact Bill Manning - Gunnedah 02 6742 9220 or Kate Pearce - Moree 02 6750 9000

ENDS

Media contact: Dale Kirby 0468 429 919