Growers, through the GRDC, are injecting an emergency $100,000 into chickpea research. The investment, which comes on top of existing research commitments, will support programs including:
- fast-tracking the breeding of blight-resistant varieties
- determining whether the Ascochyta fungus here is the same as overseas, which has implications for Australian breeding programs (see related story this page)
- developing disease-management strategies and a rapid test for identification of the fungus on the seed.
The GRDC's Pulse Program Manager John Cullen said Phytophthora root disease and Botrytis grey mould had slashed into chickpea profits as well. Therefore, the research effort is focusing on disease management strategies for all of the above.
"As well as breeding for Botrytis grey mould, we are also advising farmers that they can reduce potential damage from it by planting in wider rows and not planting too early in SOI-positive (wetter on average) years."
rie said in 1998 waterlogging was a major cause of chickpea loss in Queensland, ahead of diseases.
And, as if growers hadn't heard enough on the temperamental weather front, Queensland researchers reported that hail damage has slowed release of the new chickpea variety Jimbour, an Amethyst-Barwon cross that offered Phytophthora resistance and some resistance to Botrytis.