Select paddocks which have:
- Well drained soils with a pH above 5.5 in Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), heavy deep clays, heavy loam, sandy loam and Salmon Gum soils. Avoid soils with a pH below 5.5 (CaCl2), saline soils, high boron soils and Wodjil soils. Chickpea has poor tolerance of low pH where aluminium toxicity can be a problem.
- A soil structure and slope which allows good drainage—avoid shallow soils.
- Little or no risk of sulphonylurea carry over.
- A low broad-leaf weed burden.
- Few rocks can be left relatively flat and even after sowing for harvest.
- To minimise the risk of diseases, do not grow chickpeas more often than one year in four in the same paddock and at least 500m from last seasons chickpea stubble.
Variety selection should be based primarily on ascochyta blight tolerance and yield. Current varieties include PBA Slasher, PBA Striker, Ambar and Neelam. It is prudent to assess yield capacity of current varieties for your region using the National Variety Trials website.
- Sowing window: low rainfall: April 20–May 25, medium rainfall: May 15–June 15.
- Sowing depth: aim for 5 centimetres (cm), will come up from 8 cm with moist soil conditions.
- Sowing rate: 40–45 plant per square metre (m2) is optimum which corresponds to a sowing rate of between 90–100 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha).
- Row spacing: up to 50cm appears to have little effect on yield.
Always inoculate chickpea seed with Group N inoculum. This applies regardless of the cropping history of the paddock, inoculation is recommended in all circumstances. Slurry inoculated seed must be sown within 24 hours of application into moist soil. All chickpea seed should receive a fungicide seed dressing to reduce ascochyta blight, however, fungicide seed dressings are toxic to rhizobia. The pickle and inoculation procedures must be done separately with the pickle applied first (may be applied months in advance) and allowed to dry before inoculum is applied.
Chickpea is effective at extracting phosphorus and shows no yield response to additional P at soil levels above 20 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) (Cowell test). If soil levels are between 10 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg add at least 8kg P/ha. Remember that approximately 3.5kg of P is exported in one tonne of chickpea grain.