Chickpea growers and agronomists are being advised to `watch and act accordingly’ when it comes to managing the fungal disease Ascochyta blight this season.
Grower pulse prices are stuck in a holding pattern, looking to the skies in Australia and in South Asia where pulse crops are now being planted.
The total planted area for Australia’s 2017/18 winter crop is expected to remain on par with last year at just over 22 million hectares, according to Rabobank’s just-released Australian Winter Crop Update.
Adequate phosphorus (P) availability is essential to the productivity of chickpeas as soil P levels influence the crop’s ability to produce biomass, flower and set pods.
The devastating chickpea disease, Ascochyta blight, has made an early appearance this season with agronomists detecting the first outbreaks of the disease in emerging crops in southern Queensland.
A virulence change in the Ascochyta blight pathogen has broken down the resistance of chickpea varieties to the devastating disease, with all current varieties now rated as either susceptible to moderately susceptible to infection.
Pulses have eclipsed barley’s long-held place as Australia’s second-biggest grain crop, 2016-17 Australian winter crop production figures show.
South Australian chickpea growers are being urged to consider their ability to effectively manage ascochyta blight before planting the crop.
As growers continue to replace wheat in their rotations with chickpeas to capitalise on higher market prices, there’s a growing need to update fertiliser programs – or face nutrient run down.
India might have a big local crop in the pipeline, but its pressure is yet to be felt on Australian chickpea prices, which have surprised everyone by surging to $1000/tonne, up $200/t in the past month.