Select paddocks which have:
- Well drained soils with a pH above 5.5 (calcium chloride, CaCl2), heavy deep clays, heavy loam, sandy loam and loamy sands. Avoid soils with a pH below 5.5 (CaCl2), saline soils, high boron soils and acid (Wodjil) soils. Chickpea has poor tolerance of low pH, particularly where aluminium toxicity can be a problem.
- A soil structure and slope which allows good drainage — avoid shallow soils.
- Little or no risk of sulfonylurea carryover.
- A low broad-leaf weed burden.
- Few rocks and roots and can be left relatively flat and even after sowing for harvest.
To minimise the risk of disease, do not grow chickpea more often than one year in four in the same paddock and at least 500 metres from previous seasons chickpea stubble.
- Target the sowing date used for desi chickpea in your region. Gains in yield and grain quality can be made from timely sowing.
- Sowing depth: aim for a sowing depth of 5cm, chickpeas will tolerate sowing to 8cm with moist soil conditions.
- Sowing rate: 40-45 plants per square metre (plants/m2) is the optimum plant density which corresponds to a sowing rate of between 90-100 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) subject to seed size and germination test.
- Row spacing: trials and commercial experience indicate that there is little or no yield penalty with wide row spacing up to 60cm.
Chickpea is effective at extracting phosphorus (P) and shows no yield response to additional P at soil levels above 20 milligrams per kilograms (mg/kg) (Colwell test). If levels in the soil are between 10mg/kg and 20mg/kg, add at least 8kg P/ha. As a guide, approximately 3.2kg of P is exported in one tonne of chickpea grain.
Inoculate with Group N chickpea rhizobia inoculum at sowing. This applies regardless of the cropping history of the paddock, and inoculation is recommended in all circumstances.
All chickpea seed should receive a fungicide seed dressing (P-Pickle-T) to reduce ascochyta blight, however fungicide seed dressings are toxic to rhizobia. The pickle must be applied first (maybe months in advance) and allowed to dry before inoculum is applied. Alternatively, use a granular Group N inoculum product.
Herbicide tolerance trials in WA during 2010 and 2011 (Mullewa red sandy loam, Mingenew red clay loam soils) show that herbicides commonly used in chickpea production can be used on Ambar with the same degree of safety. Severe seasonal effects on herbicide activity can occur and work in ongoing to validate findings under differing seasonal conditions.
Refer to the National Variety Trials website for current trial results.