Neelam - a desi chickpea for southern Australia

Page last updated: Friday, 5 April 2019 - 11:03am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Area of adaptation

Neelam is well adapted to most areas of southern Australia consistently ranking in the top yielding varieties, ranking higher than PBA Slasher and Genesis 836. Limited trials in NSW and Queensland show Neelam yield competitively.


Neelam yields are generally better than PBA Slasher and Genesis 836. In a significant number of National Variety Trials (NVT) it is the top yielding or amongst the top yielding named varieties. It also yields well under low yielding, shorter growing season (low rainfall) environments making it particularly suited to WA. Limited trials in NSW and QLD show that it provides competitive yields.

For latest trial results see the National Variety Trials website.

Table 3 National Variety Trials predicted average yields for desi chickpea varieties (2005-2012)
Variety South-east South Australia Mid-north South Australia Upper Eyre Peninsula Yorke Peninsula Victoria Mallee Victoria Wimmera WA AgZone 1 WA AgZone 2 WA AgZone 4
Neelam 2.04 2.11 0.94 2.07 1.44 1.41 1.45 1.24 1.11
Ambar 2.01 2.07 0.91 2.07 1.36 1.33 1.40 1.16 1.06
Genesis 836 - 1.92 - 1.88 1.30 1.27 1.36 1.14 1.05
PBA Slasher 2.03 2.13 0.93 2.08 1.43 1.40 1.41 1.19 1.08

Management package

Paddock selection

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. Chickpeas have 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 diseases, do not grow chickpeas more often than one year in four in the same paddock and at least 500 metres from the previous seasons chickpea stubble.


  • Target the sowing date used for desi chickpeas in your region. Gains in yield and grain quality can be made from timely sowing.
  • Sowing depth: aim for a sowing depth of 5cm. Chickpea will tolerate sowing to 8cm with moist soil conditions.
  • Sowing rage: 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 kilogram (mg/kg) (Colwell test). If levels in the soil are between 10-20mg/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 should be applied regardless of the cropping history of the paddock, and 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 (up to months in advance) and allowed to dry before inoculum is applied. Alternatively, use a granular Group N product.

Herbicide sensitivity

Herbicide tolerance trials in Victoria and South Australia (Wimmera clay and alkaline sandy loam soils) show that herbicides commonly used in chickpea production can be used on Neelam with the same degree of safety. Severe seasonal effects on herbicide activity can occur and work is ongoing to validate findings under differing seasonal conditions.

Refer to the National Variety Trials website for current trial results.