Dry weather a blessing for 2017 season

CHICKPEAS: A field of irrigated chickpeas in 2017.
CHICKPEAS: A field of irrigated chickpeas in 2017. CONTRIBUTED

IT IS a mixed bag of agronomy thoughts this week.

My first comment is that it certainly has been warm in the previous weeks.

This warmth is really contributing to that 1100 day degrees needed to instigate the reproductive stage of our chickpea plants and, needless to say, we have helicoverpa grubs getting to spray thresholds.

Choose your insecticide carefully and consider the ramifications of the increasing level of insecticide resistance to our popular and very effective products like Altacor.

We should all now be well enough informed on appropriate and current insecticide choices and regional strategies to prolong our various insecticide usefulness for many years to come.

The dry weather is really holding our foliar disease of Ascochyta blight at bay and apart from more planting opportunities for this wintertime, the dry weather may be more of a blessing than a curse, as far as chickpeas are concerned.

Not so for our wheat and barley crops, needless to say, which are very dry.

Of course, even our three "moderately" resistant sorta classified varieties are taking Ascochyta blight disease, so do not assume that even PBA Seamer is impervious to any foliar AB disease.

You should also recognise that any chickpea variety in the reproductive stage of flowers and pods loses its resistance capability to Ascochyta blight.

So with row closure occurring in many areas, then a pre-emptive fungicide spray to prevent our other bogey foliar disease, like Botrytis grey mould, causing havoc amongst our chickpea flowers has been a standard recommendation.

I fully realise that BGM needs warmth and wetness in the paddock to proliferate, however future penetration and coverage of your very bulky green paddock may be impossible unless you have some sort of air-blast sprayer.

The other concern I have is that our plant growth has been so rapid that our group A grass control timing window has run out.

I know product labels are difficult to follow or interpret, however for all our group A modes of action, they are not to be sprayed on flowering pulse crops.

The two reasons for ensuring non-spraying of reproductive chickpeas is the crop safety angle and also to ensure maximum residue levels are not exceeded.

Flowers on many legume crops are natural sinks or collection points for our group A herbicides.

As the seed pod forms, it can download the active ingredient from the flower to the seed in the pods.

So do not spray flowering pulse crops.

Where the question marks come in is what happens if we revert to cold conditions and we lose all our current crop of flowers and developing pods that are present on our plants.

There may be no researched answer to that question, however I will be doing literature searches for any information on this potential phenomena.

This time in 2016 we were gearing up to plant many more hectares of chickpeas.

What a very different year is 2017.

Topics:  chickpeas

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