New life for southern chickpea industry

THE SOUTHERN chickpea industry looks set for a resurrection with new disease-resistant varieties.

According to Wayne Hawthorne of the SA Research and Development Institute, the future of chickpeas looks promising as the industry is re-launched, based on new Ascochyta-resistant lines. Outbreak of Ascochyta in 1997 caused production in SA and Victoria to fall to negligible levels.

Mr Hawthorne said at the recent Hart field day that the release of HowzatPBR logo is an interim step. "HowzatPBR logo is not resistant to Ascochyta but has the least susceptibility of commercial varieties.

"While HowzatPBR logo still requires regular applications of fungicides, its availability as a desi chickpea has influenced growers to try chickpeas again."

Resistant lines nearing release

Mr Hawthorne showed field day visitors several of the new and promising desi chickpea lines being considered for release. One, FLIP94-508C, has good resistance while the other, ICC96836, has moderate resistance.

Both are being multiplied in Victoria for potential release in 2003 or 2004. Also on display were two new kabuli chickpea lines, again with good Ascochyta resistance, which are targeted for commercial release in 2004 or 2005.

Mr Hawthorne said the performance of the new desi and kabuli lines was being assessed against older varieties such as Sona and Kaniva and also against HowzatPBR logo.

These assessments would include the need or otherwise for fungicide treatments to combat diseases in the potential new releases, including sprays at podding to minimise pod and seed infection. Comparative quality and yield are also under the microscope.

Program 2 Contact: Mr Wayne Hawthorne 08 8762 9142 Mr Michael Materne 03 5362 2111