Australian scientists are heading a fast-moving project that will ultimately lead to the development of new lines of chickpeas with resistance to the damaging disease, Ascochyta blight.
It has been a year of disappointment for many chickpea growers in the northern farming zone where headers are mopping up the last of what has been a mixed bag of crops.
Brisbane-based company, Blue Ribbon Seed and Pulse Exporters Pty Ltd, has gone into liquidation following an application from Bean Growers Australia (BGA) filed last month in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
Any chance of Australia’s 2017 chickpea crop eclipsing the one-million-tonne mark now hinges on crops on the north west slopes of NSW, where harvest is now gathering pace following last month’s yield-reviving rains.
An ample supply of Indian pulses and difficulty for importers in securing bank credit are diminishing demand for the Australian desi chickpea crop now being harvested.
Pulse Australia’s estimate for Australia’s 2017 lentil production has this week been lifted 29 per cent to 540,000 tonnes from the ABARES figure of 419,000t released in its September crop report, while the faba bean estimate has taken a hit, dropping 11pc to 305,000t from last month’s ABARES estimate of 341,000t.
The addiction of Ascochyta blight to the list of diseases detected by the DNA-based soil test, PredictaB, will give chickpea growers an extra tool to assess inoculum carryover from previous chickpea crops and help them make more informed decisions on paddock selection.
Peter McMeekin looks at what lies behind the supply-and-demand outlook for the Australian chickpea crop now being harvested.
Containers rather than bulk shipments are once again likely to account for the majority of Australia’s 2017/18 chickpea exports from the low-yielding crop which is showing the effects of a harsh growing season.
An unimpressive yield outlook and short covering by traders to cover nearby bulk and containerised export commitments has lifted the price of chickpeas available in coming weeks to rates in excess of $950 per tonne.