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Good returns, disease management set to drive chickpea production

About

About

Category

  • Cultivate
  • Product News

Date

13 April, 2018

Product

Location

SA

Buoyed by attractive prices and with careful crop disease management, chickpea production in South Australia’s 
Mid North Region could double, according 
to Kapunda-based rural agent Richard Noll.
Chickpea crop disease control in action by team

Above: CRT Kapunda agent Richard Noll, NTS Rural, local growers Nathan and Adrian (right) Laubsch and Bayer Commercial Sales Representative Graham Hatcher pictured inspecting the Genesis 090 chickpea crop on the Laubsch’s property that received two applications of Aviator Xpro fungicide to help control ascochyta blight.

History has shown chickpeas to be on somewhat of a rollercoaster in the region. In the 1990s there were significant areas sown to chickpeas in the lower Mid North; then ascochyta blight (AB) disease hit and production dropped; and new varieties were introduced in the 2000s, including Genesis 090 and the larger Kabuli variety, PBA Monarch, which contained better AB resistance than previously grown varieties.

However, more recently varietal resistance to AB has broken down and diligent fungicide programs have been required.

According to Richard, chickpea crops in eastern states were hit hard by AB over 2015-16, which reduced subsequent plantings and disease build-up. Prices were now around $1300 per tonne for Kabuli chickpeas, particularly those for the large (8-9 mm) canned market, and various growers had achieved yields of 1.8-2.2 t/ha.

“This has been a big faba bean area, but the returns are not great on the back of the Egypt export market struggling at the moment. I think chickpeas will replace faba beans a little.”

Together with Andrew Tremlett, Dwayne Pratt and Grant Smith, Richard has been running the Kapunda CRT agency, NTS Rural, for the past decade. 

The business, which won the SA CRT store of the year in 2016, services a region from Gawler to Manoora and across to the Adelaide Plains, where it is set to open another store at Mallala. Agronomist Bradley Kosta will head up the agronomy services at Mallala. 

The 2017 season was another average to above average season in the area. Richard said the region was fortunate to consistently receive 425-450 mm of rainfall annually, providing good pulse crop production options including lentils, chickpeas and faba beans. Local crop rotations were generally wheat-wheat-pulse or wheat- barley-pulse.

NTS Rural recommended a ve-spray fungicide strategy to combat AB in chickpeas, at 14-day intervals during rainy periods and otherwise 21 days. 

Chlorothalonil fungicide had mainly been used by growers, although treated crops can present a grazing issue due to a 63-day export slaughter interval on stock grazing the stubbles. Mancozeb had also been applied, while recently the new Aviator Xpro fungicide had been included in programs. 

“We had been looking at Aviator (Xpro) at the Mid North High Rainfall Group’s trial site for a couple of years,’’ said Richard. 

In addition to AB in chickpeas, Aviator Xpro, from Bayer, is also registered for blackleg and sclerotinia control in canola. Registration in other crops is anticipated in time for the 2018 season. Always use Aviator Xpro according to the most recent registered label. Aviator Xpro contains bixafen, a new member of the Group 7 (SDHI) fungicides, which offers a new mode of action for resistance management, as well as the proven performance of prothioconazole.

It also offers good compatibility and its patented LeafShieldTM formulation system enhances its activity against diseases. Its short rain-fast period, estimated at around 30 minutes to one hour, is particularly beneficial for chickpea growers spraying ahead of rainfall events. 

Richard said the new mode of action helped to break up the chemistry program and they recommended two applications, including just before pre-canopy closure (August) and again 28 days later at a rate of 500 mL/ha. 

“Growers can start with chlorothalonil at grass spray timing, about four weeks after emergence, apply another 21 days later, then two Aviator (Xpro) sprays, then a late chlorothalonil with a grub spray,’’ he said. 

“Aviator (Xpro) also mixes well with herbicides and insecticides.’’ 

Bayer advises applying Aviator Xpro only twice as part of a preventative spray program, incorporating other fungicides. Aviator (Xpro) was applied in a medium droplet spectrum with 90-100 L of water and had performed well. 

“Getting good coverage right to the bottom of the canopy is important,’’ Richard said. 

“Aviator (Xpro) definitely gives longer protection. We think we could stretch the spray interval beyond the minimum 28 days, depending on the conditions.”

“It kept the pre-canopy closure stage very clean and then the early flowering period was also very clean, which is a crucial growth stage for the crop." 

“Crops weren’t under massive pressure last season. It got wet, but the spray programs worked well – and growers aren’t worried about spending $30/ha (at the 600 mL/ha Aviator Xpro rate) when they are getting $1300/t for the crop.’’

Richard said AB was the number one disease in chickpeas and growers had to be organised with their spray programs. “In a wet year, you could do six to seven fungicide sprays, with a final application at pod set with some fungicides.’’ Seed for sowing is also generally treated with P-Pickel T® or thiram fungicide. 

Adrian and Nathan Laubsch, who farm at Hamilton, north of Kapunda, applied Aviator Xpro twice to a 60-ha paddock of Genesis 090 chickpeas last season and it achieved an average yield of 1.3 t/ha. Adrian said better parts of the paddock yielded up to 2.3 t/ha 

Reduced disease pressure compared with 2016 meant the family applied only four sprays last year, however, Adrian said AB was still a challenge and some neighbours sprayed out crops due to the disease. 

Richard said with the range of pulses grown in the region and following the anticipated registration of Aviator Xpro in other crops, he expected it would have a good t as it could be used across a large group of crops. 

Crop disease management for chickpea crops

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About

Category

  • Cultivate
  • Product News

Date

13 April, 2018

Product

Location

SA