AMPS News & Events

November 2nd , 2017

Chickpea Growers Have Tough Harvest, low yields

Article by: Stephanie Van Eyk

Low yield expectations in this year’s chickpea crop due to some extreme growing conditions around Moree are being confirmed and driven lower with roughly a quarter of the crop in the bin so far this harvest.

AMPS Moree agronomist Tony Lockrey who consults to growers from Edgeroi to Boomi said that while pod set indicated 1-1.25t/ha yield, the effect of big temperature swings in August and September had caused a high incidence of ghost pods or “pops” containing no grain. 

“So far during harvest yields are not as good as expected,” he said.

“There would be a few days of minus two or three frosts then a day at 35 degrees Celsius in August and September, so the chickpeas spent very little time in their sweet spot of 15 to 25 degrees.”

Chickpea Crop

Mr Lockrey said some of the more elevated crops suffered less frost damage.

“It has been a particularly tough season all round with dry, frost, heat and late rain combined with mice, hail and the odd fire,” he said.

“Yields so far realised are in the order of 0.3 to 1.25t/ha with an average closer to 0.8t/ha. 

“Farmers are again frustrated trying to capitalise on a third consecutive high price year. Long term average yields for chickpeas are in the order of 1.75t/ha.”

After a very dry winter most of the district received 100 to 125mm (4 to 5 inches) in October which helped change the outlook for summer cropping but has not added a lot to winter crops that were almost finished.

Some foliar diseases, mainly Ascochyta, have flared with rain events in chickpeas and served as a stern reminder why advisors cautioned against growing chickpeas on or near last year’s chickpea stubble.

“Chickpea on chickpea is just a terrible idea,” he said. “Everyone is warned against it.” 

Mr Lockrey said everyone involved in farming was subject to the vagaries of weather in the big open-air casino.

But there were strategies that help to try and minimise the risk of exposure and gain the most efficient and profitable results possible for the season. 

“Growing chickpeas on chickpeas is not one of these strategies,” he said.

Growers have pushed their rotations very hard and loaded them with peas over the last three years due to better prices and the cracks are starting to show with increased disease pressure and a likely increase in nematode numbers that will impact farmer’s rotation choices for a while. 

“Grass weed pressure and resistance levels are also increasing with limited choices of grass herbicides in our minimum tillage system,” Mr Lockrey said.

For some of the later-sown chickpea crops, particularly double crops behind cotton, the late rain has promoted new growth, which is now attracting heliothis and will cause problems with green material at harvest. 

“Some tough calls are being made this week whether to spray for grubs or dessicate the crop depending on perceived additional yield benefit from the late pods,” he said. And, weather-wise this week wasn’t looking good for the harvest – with a couple of rain fronts expected.

Grain quality is the next big hurdle chickpea growers face with extended exposure to wet weather in the past month potentially having an impact.


Many thanks to the Moree Campion Click Here to see original article.

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AMPS Armatree

Manager: Mark Morris

8 Merrigal Street
Armatree NSW 2831


Ph:  02 6848 5951

AMPS Gunnedah

Manager: Rod Campbell

115 Mathias Rd
Gunnedah NSW 2380

Ph:  02 67414900

AMPS Moree

Manager: Tony Lockrey

70 Industrial Drive
Moree NSW 2400

Ph:  02 6752 9001

AMPS Tamworth

Manager: Cliff Bramley

25 Gunnedah Road
Tamworth NSW 2340

Ph:  02 6762 2677

AMPS Walgett

Manager: Peter White

109 Wee Waa Street
Walgett NSW 2343

Ph:  02 6828 1025

AMPS Waverley

Manager: Dean Whitton

690 Waverley Road
Caroona NSW 2343

Ph:  02 6747 4988