The chickpea breeding challenge: tools and techniques to deliver varieties for an Australian pulse revolution

Kristy Hobson

1 New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, 4 Marsden Park Rd, Tamworth, NSW, 2340,


Chickpea production in Australia has increased significantly over the past ten years peaking at 2 million tonnes in 2016 (ABARES). Whilst production largely came from the established chickpea production areas in the northern grain growing region, there has been increased grower interest from non-established or expansion areas in producing high value pulses. Improving the adaptation and reliability of chickpea in both the established and expansion areas provides a great opportunity and challenge to the Australian chickpea breeding community.

The availability of ‘modern breeding approaches’ such as high throughput and advanced phenotyping, rapid generation cycling, expanding genomic technologies, and the use of genomic selection all provide exciting capability to a plant breeder’s tool box. Prioritising and integrating the most relevant tools and technologies, and the ability to adapt plant breeding logistics are the major challenges to adopting these approaches in a variety development program. However the importance of understanding the biology of the crop and trait validation in the target environment still remains critical to the successful application of these approaches to improve crop genetic gain. The delivery of the improved variety and associated information, particularly in new production areas, is essential to ensure grain growers can fully exploit the variety and get a profitable impact in their farming system.


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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