How Walgett grows them

WALGETT chickpeas are mainly sown in early June,with a sowing rate of about 60 kg/ha and row spacings from 300 mm to 1 metre. Amethyst has been the main variety sown, but farmer Mike O'Brien expects the new varieties Jimbour and Howzat to be grown extensively after 2002.

Average yields are around 1.2 t/ha, but some individual yields have been as high as 2.5 t/ha. Net profit margins in recent years have been around $200-300/ha.

To date, the main disease of chick- peas, Ascochyta, has not been a major problem in the Walgett region, where Mr O'Brien says the drier climate and well-drained deep soils have helped enormously.

Walgett growers deliver their chickpeas to the Beanbri silo, which is jointly owned by the Walgett Special One Cooperative (WSOC) and Jossco Australia, a Sydney-based importer and exporter. Jossco Australia, in partnership with growers through WSOC. ships the chockpeas in bulk to the suncontinent and markets them on behalf of growers. All proceeds are then returned through pools.

Program 5 Contact: Mr Mike O'Brien 02 6828 5276