Western Australian growers will soon have access to new higher-yielding and cold-tolerant varieties, now undergoing field tests.
University of Western Australia researcher. Heather Lawlor, said cold-tolerant chickpeas are a major priority for the pulse industry because current varieties fail to set pods when average daily temperatures are lower than 15°C.
"Existing chickpea varieties grow well in the winter but many plants abort their flowers and fail to set pods until the mean daily temperature rises above 15°C," Dr Lawlor said. "Winter temperatures in the wheatbelt often fall below 15°C and the result is fewer pods and poorer yields for graingrowers."
Dr Lawlor said the project identified a cold-tolerant line of chickpeas from the International Centre for Research in Semi-Arid Tropics in India. The cold tolerant line, CTS60543, was crossed with existing chickpeas to produce new varieties with higher yields, early maturity dates and upright branches.
Dr Lawlor is also being supported by growers through the GRDC to investigate the genetics of cold-tolerance and insect resistance in chickpeas, using the new lines.
Subprogram 2.4.1 Contact: Dr Heather Lawlor 09 380 1648