Adaptation of chickpea to high latitude areas with short growing seasons: biomass and seed yield responses
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This study was conducted to determine plant establishment, biomass and seed yield of chickpea under diverse environmental and crop management conditions. Four cultivars were grown on three types of seedbed using N fertilizer rates of 0, 28, 64, 84, and 112 kg N ha-1 with and without Rhizobium inoculant (GR), at six sites in Saskatchewan, Canada. On average, chickpea grown on fallow seedbed produced the highest straw biomass, 5.8 t ha-1, or 28% greater than chickpea grown on barley stubble and 13% greater than being grown on wheat stubble. Similarly, chickpea grown on fallow produced seed yield of 2.5 t ha-1, 22 and 14% greater than chickpea grown on barley and wheat stubble, respectively. The cultivar CDC-Frontier produced biomass of 7.6 t ha-1, 13% greater than CDC-Xena and 7% greater than Amit and CDC-Anna. Increasing N rates from 0 to 112 kg ha-1 without GR increased biomass production and seed yield in a linear relationship with the slopes being 0.556, 0.475, and 0.089 (t ha-1 per kg of N fertilizer) for biomass produced on barley-, wheat-, and fallow-seedbeds, respectively, and the slopes for seed yield being 0.231, 0.226, and 0.055, respectively. CDC-Frontier produced the greatest biomass and seed yield and was the most stable cultivar across the diverse growing environments, whereas CDC-Xena had the lowest productivity with highest variability. This study showed that there was large variability in primary production of chickpea biomass and seed yield in these high latitude areas, but the variability can be minimized by adopting best management practices such as optimizing seedbed conditions, selecting cultivars with high yield potentials, and use of effective N-fixing inoculants.
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