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Chickpea Adaptation

The world’s main chickpea producing regions are bounded by latitudes 20˚ and 40˚, with the one notable exception being near equatorial Ethiopia. Although this range encompasses a diversity of soil types, temperature regimes, photo periods and rainfall distributions, two major chickpea cropping patterns can be identified:

  • chickpea is adversely affected by excessive moisture and high temperatures and is therefore grown exclusively in post-rainy seasons
  • chickpea is almost always grown on residual soil moisture, without irrigation

The following are other characteristics of chickpea:

  • onset and duration of flowering is a function of temperature and photo period
  • although some chickpea genotypes show a small response to cold-induced dormancy (vernalization), there are no true winter types
  • chickpea is a long day length plant, but in most environments temperature is the most important growth criteria – in areas of high temperatures and soil water depletion, physiological maturity is dramatically hastened (the ability to yield reliably under these difficult finishing conditions has contributed to chickpea’s somewhat dubious reputation as a drought-tolerant species)
  • chickpea grows best when daytime temperatures range between 20˚ and 30˚ C, and night temperatures range from 18˚ to 20˚ C
  • desi types require approximately 110 days to mature, while kabuli types require up to 10 days longer (120 days) under optimum conditions
  • chickpea is best adapted to medium textured, loamy soils, but produces well on a range of soils with good internal drainage
  • chickpea prefers a soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH of 7.0 to 8.0 (at high pH levels, iron becomes relatively unavailable, and some genotypes show severe chlorosis)
  • saline soils should be avoided when growing chickpea