Chickpea yield potential in cool conditions – making the most of early flowers

Neroli Graham1, Annie Warren2, Rosy Raman3 and Kristy Hobson1

NSW DPI, 4 Marsden Park Road Calala NSW 2340,,
2 NSW DPI, 4 Marsden Park Road Calala NSW 2340,
3 NSW DPI, Pine Gully Road Wagga Wagga NSW 2650


The sensitivity of current Australian chickpea cultivars to cool temperatures during flowering and podset results in delayed and interrupted podset. In 2016 in north-western NSW, this sensitivity resulted in an estimated yield loss of 0.5 to 0.7 t/ha based on observationsin commercial paddocks. This project aimed to improve our knowledge of the response of current genotypes to cool temperatures and identify elite chickpea breeding lines with superior chilling tolerance. Twenty-four genotypes were sown at Tamworth and Wagga Wagga in early May and June to encourage flowering under suboptimal temperatures. Comparative phenology was tracked among the lines throughout the season and conversion of flowers to pods and seeds mapped on individual plants. Genetic variation in the ability of genotypes to flower and set pods under suboptimal temperatures were identified.Identification of chilling tolerance in elite breeding material will inform breeding efforts, , potentially improving the ability of future cultivars to set pods under sub optimal temperatures,  enabling shifts in the cropping window to avoid terminal heat and moisture stress.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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