Varieties of chickpeas

Two distinct types of chickpea are grown in Australia: Desi and Kabuli. Varieties displaying an asterisk symbol (*) are subject to Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) and protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994. Any unauthorised sale of seed of these varieties is an infringement under the Act.

Desi chickpea prices generally range from $350-500. Chickpeas are becoming increasingly popular in Central Queensland, with the area where chickpea is planted continuing to increase. Central Queensland growers must remain vigilant about sourcing seed free of Ascochyta from Central Queensland origin to maintain the region's low disease status for Ascochyta blight.

Heliothis is the major pest of the chickpea. It is imperative that you monitor larval numbers, and factor the expected yield, crop value, crop growth stage and soil moisture into any spray decisions. Flowering/podding crops are more likely to suffer economic damage than vegetative crops.

The former Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (now Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) and New South Wales Industry and Investment (NSW I&I) published a comprehensive compilation of research on the many benefits of chickpeas in the farming system. 'Northern grain production - a farming systems approach' was released at Chickpea Focus in 2005 and is now in its second edition. The book is also available in hard copy from Pulse Australia and DAF.

Desi and Amethyst varieties

Desi

These chickpeas have relatively small, light brown angular seeds that are used for split pea (dahl) or flour after the hulls are removed. The main markets for this seed type are India and Pakistan. India, our main buyer, prefers larger, light-coloured grain. Desi varieties are the most widely grown under dryland production in Queensland. With effective management, Desi chickpeas are also suitable for irrigated production.

Amethyst

This variety was released in 1987 by the NSW I&I. This tall, erect variety stands well and is relatively easy to harvest. However, Amethyst is very susceptible to phytophthora and should be grown only in areas where the disease is not likely to be a problem. The seed is considerably smaller than other varieties and tends to split easily, especially if it receives rain before harvest. The Amethyst seed quality is variable, as it is prone to throwing black seeds, which degrades the sample.

Varieties protected under Plant Breeders Rights Act

The following varieties are protected under the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994. Seed of these varieties can be bought only from the owner of the variety or an agent authorised by the owner. Anyone who trades seed without authorisation will be liable for prosecution and court action for damages. Once purchased, a grower can maintain seed of a variety with PBR protection. Farmers can sell the products of a protected variety for commercial use as feed or food but cannot sell the variety for seed.

Flipper*

This variety was bred by NSW I&I and released in 2005. Flipper has the highest level of resistance to Ascochyta of current chickpea varieties and is the variety of choice when the risk of Ascochyta is high. Flipper is recommended for production in higher rainfall areas of New South Wales and adjacent border regions of southern Queensland. Flipper's disease resistance must be balanced against later matuirty and reduced yield potential. It is does not perform well in western areas of southern Queensland. Seed is available from AWB Seeds. See Pulse Australia for the variety management package.

Kyabra*

Kyabra was released in 2005 and has exceptional seed quality. Kyabra is the highest yielding chickpea variety available in southern Queensland and has agronomy similar to that of Jimbour. This variety has undergone limited evaluation in Central Queensland - in seven trials between 2005 and 2006 Kyabra produced yields equivalent to Moti. Seed are available from Plant Tech and dedicated Central Queensland origin seed will be available. See Pulse Australia for the variety management package.

Jimbour*

This variety was released by the former Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (now DAF) in 2001. Jimbour is well suited to most of the chickpea-producing areas of northern New South Wales and Queensland. The plant is erect with the bottom pods set well above the ground, which facilitates easier harvest, particularly in dry seasons and short crops. Jimbour has useful resistance to Phytophthora and botrytis grey mound. It has large, creamish grain that is suitable for segregation. For further information, contact Mt Tyson Seeds. Seed sourced from Central Queensland is available.

Moti*

This variety was released in 2003 by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture (DAWA) specifically for production in Central Queensland. Due to its susceptibility to Ascochyta blight, Moti must not be grown south of Theodore/Rolleston. It is the tallest and highest yielding desi chickpea cultivar currently available, and is suited to dryland and irrigated production. In yield trials between 1999 and 2005, Moti out-yielded other commercial varieties by 12 per cent on average. Moti is faster to flowering and pod set than Jimbour and Amethyst, and offers exceptional performance from planting dates in May through to late June in Central Queensland. Due to its early flowering, care should be taken with early planting dates in areas that are prone to heavy frosts. Seed size is similar to Jimbour. Seed is available from AWB Seeds. See Pulse Australia for the variety management package.

PBA HatTrick*

This was the first variety to be released through Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA), an unincorporated joint venture between GRDC, University of Adelaide, SARDI, DPI Victoria, NSW I&I, DEEDI, DAFWA and Pulse Australia. Its commercial partner is AWB Seeds. This variety is moderately resistant/resistant to ascochyta blight. It is also moderately resistant to phytophthora root rot. It is high yielding across all current chickpea-growing areas in northern NSW and southern Australia, similar to that of Jimbour. It is a tall, erect variety similar to Jimbour and Kyabra. It has mid-season maturity, medium-sized seed and excellent milling quality.

Yorker*

Yorker was bred by NSW I&I and released in 2005. It has the highest level of resistance to Phytophthora of current chickpea varieties and is the variety of choice when the risk of Phytophthora, rather than Ascochyta, is high. Yorker is recommended for production in northern New South Wales, west of the Newell highway and the Darling Downs region of Queensland. Yorker's disease resistance must be balanced against later maturity and a potential reduction in yield potential. It does not perform well in western areas of southern Queensland. Seed is available from AWB Seeds. See Pulse Australia for the variety management package.

Variety trial information

The following variety trial information is structured around the three GRDC regions for chickpeas:

  • Region 1: North of Theodore in Queensland
  • Region 2: South of Theodore and east of the Leichhardt Highway
  • Region 3: South of Theodore and west of the Leichhardt Highway.

Please note that the results are based on Queensland data only. Please see Pulse Australia for the variety management packages for specific varieties for a comprehensive data set.

Table 1. 'Predicted yield' - derived from the statistical analysis of yields (not just average)
 Biloela (Region 1) Central Highlands (Region 1)
  Predicted (t/ha) Yield (% Moti) Predicted (t/ha) Yield (% Moti)
Amethyst 2.75 92 2.30 96
Jimbour* 2.86 95 2.37 98
Kyabra* 2.92 97 2.56 106
Moti* 3.00 100 2.41 100
No. of sites
2005-08
5 5
Table 2.
 Queensland Region 2 Region 3
  Predicted (t/ha) Yield (% Jimbour) Predicted (t/ha) Yield (% Jimbour) Predicted (t/ha) Yield (% Jimbour)
Kyabra* 2.45 104 2.60 102 2.30 106
PBA HatTrick* 2.38 101 2.55 100 2.22 102
Jimbour* 2.36 100 2.54 100 2.18 100
Yorker* 2.21 94 2.50 98 1.93 89
Flipper* 2.19 93 2.46 97 1.92 88

Notes:

  • Region 2 sites were situated at Brigalow and Hermitage.
  • Region 3 sites were situated at Billa and Dulacca.
  • 14 sites in Queensland 2007-2009.
Table 3. Varietal maturity
Central Queensland
Variety Days to flowering 100 seed weight (g)
Amethyst 63 15
Jimbour* 65 19
Kyabra* 65 23
Moti* 59 20
Table 4. Results from DEEDI trials 2005-08
Southern Queensland
Variety Flowering score (1-9) 100 seed weight (g)
Amethyst 4.8 14
Flipper* 7.2 18
Howzat 5.1 21
Jimbour* 4.8 20
Kyabra* 4.3 24
PBA HatTrick* 4.7 20
Yorker* 6.2 21

Note: Flowering score of 1 to 9: 1 = early, 9 = late; mean across all southern Queensland sites 2004-06

*subject to Plant Breeders Rights and protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994. Unauthorised sale of seed of these varieties is an infringement under the Act.

Kabuli varieties

Kabuli chickpeas are creamy-white and much larger than desi chickpeas. Kabuli chickpeas are usually sold whole, so seed size and appearance are critically important. Ideally, Kabuli chickpeas should be more than 8 mm in diameter (40 g/100 seeds). They flower at a similar time to the Desi types, but do have a significantly longer grain filling period. This renders them more susceptible to both moisture stress and insect damage. They are more attractive to helicoverpa than the Desi types.

The Kabulis have very thin seed coats. They lack the phenolic compounds present in Desi chickpeas, which helps reduce fungal/mould attack in the soil. Hence, Kabulis are extremely susceptible to a range of seed rotting fungi and should always be treated with a fungicidal seed dressing before planting. All Kabuli types are extremely susceptible to Phytophthora.

Planting seed should be handled with extreme care to avoid any mechanical damage to the seed coat during harvest, storage and inoculation. Hairline cracks in the seed coat allow the entry of seed rotting fungi, such as pythium. The fungi are a major cause of seed rots and poor establishment of Kabuli chickpeas. Kabuli can bridge over the outlets of standard airseeders and combines, which further adds to the problem of patchy, uneven stands. This problem can be minimised by filling the planter box only halfway or by fitting agitators.

Yields are generally lower (15-30 per cent) and more erratic than Desi varieties, though this can be offset by premiums for larger chickpeas in the 8, 9 and 10 mm size ranges.

As a general rule, Kabuli production should be attempted only by experienced chickpea growers. Crop marketing and insect control strategies should be discussed with your seed shed and agronomist well before planting.

Bumper*

This was released by NSW I&I in 1997 and has large creamy-white seeds consistently in the 9 mm range. This veriety is protected under the PBR. Seed is available through various retain outlets.

Garnet

This variety was released in 1987 by NSW I&I. Garnet produces mainly 8 and 9 mm diameter seed in approximately equal proportions.

Kaniva

This variety was released in 1988 by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries. While yields have generally been slightly lower than for Garnet, some buyers still prefer this variety. Growers are advised to organise contracts before planting.

Kimberley Large

The Kimberley Large was released in 2004 by DAWA/Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture and intended as a replacement for Macarena in the premium culinary market for very large sized Kabulis. DEEDI-irrigated trials in Central Queensland have shown equivalent yield and agronomic performance, as well as similar seed sizes, for both Kimberley Large and Macarena.

Macarena

This is a very large seeded variety suited to the premium culinary market. This variety was released by DAWA in 1984 but is still widely grown under irrigated producers. It is extremely frost-sensitive and should be grown only in frost-free environments in northern and Central Queensland. Sound insect management is crucial because compensatory potential is very limited. It is very prone to sprouting and weather damage if wet conditions occur around harvest. Weather-damaged beans are very difficult to market. Yields of 2-3 t/ha are readily achievable with well managed irrigated crops.

*subject to Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) and protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994. Unauthorised sale of seed of these varieties is an infringement under the Act.

Further information: