Chickpea growers warned to keep seed pure

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 04 May 2015

Image of ascochyta blight with whitish lesions on its leaflets

Northern chickpea growers could incur additional disease management costs this year by failing to ensure the identity and purity of their varieties.

Knowing the identity and purity of chickpea seed is critical to ascochyta blight management with a significant difference in disease control costs between moderately resistant and susceptible varieties.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is urging growers to take a proactive approach to varietal purity this year in order to maximise crop yield potential and capitalise on the current bullish market.

Research supported by the GRDC has proven that incorrect variety identification can cause a range of issues affecting crop yield and profitability from incorrect sowing times to disease management.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) plant pathologist Dr Kevin Moore recommended that growers obtain their seed from a registered seed merchant or implement a quality control system if retaining their own seed, to avoid accidental contamination or misidentification of a seed lot.

“Chickpea varietal purity is a real issue and growers need to be confident in their seed source as there is currently no test to confirm the identity of planting seed or contamination levels,” Dr Moore said.

“The best option is for growers to purchase seed from accredited seed merchants or their agencies to avoid varietal contamination and keep markets and disease management options secure – you can’t manage what you don’t know.

 “We’ve seen situations in recent years where chickpea crops thought to be PBA HatTrick, were found to be a different variety as the crop developed.

“The difference in disease control costs between a moderately resistant (to ascochyta blight) variety and a susceptible variety can be as high as $60/ha, based on two sprays for  PBA HatTrick versus six for Kyabra or Jimbour.

“At the same time, impure or contaminated seed can increase pressure on a variety’s disease resistance and allow inoculum to build up in a field, adding to production risk for future crops.”


Caption: The first symptoms of Ascochyta are whitish lesions on leaflets – if there are enough of these the plants and crops have a ghosting appearance. Image supplied by Kevin Moore, NSW DPI.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Bernadette York, Media Officer NSW DPI
0427 773 785


Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
0418 152 859

GRDC Project Code DAN00176

Region North