Chickpea(Cicer arietinum) is a high-quality source of protein that is currently little cultivated in Austrian agriculture, although demand has increased steadily in recent years.
The Austrian protein strategy aims to achieve independence from imports and improved self-sufficiency in domestic vegetable protein. In addition, the review of site suitability and the targeted use of new, water-efficient, heat-tolerant crop varieties is a concrete recommendation for action from the Austrian strategy for adaptation to climate change. Many Austrian farmers lack the appropriate seeds and practical knowledge for cultivating chickpeas. Currently, no chickpea variety is listed in the Austrian variety list. The aim of the project is to determine the (yield) potential of chickpeas with a variety trial and to build up and pass on further expertise.
Recommendations on cultivation techniques and seed procurement will be compiled through discussions with farms, research institutions and breeding companies as well as literature research. In order to collect seeds of about 24 different varieties, selected breeding companies with as different geographical origins as possible will be contacted. In addition, seeds of three accessions will be obtained from the AGES Genbank in Linz. The chickpeas will be grown in 2023 at a dry site in the east of Austria (AGES experimental station Fuchsenbigl in Marchfeld) in quadruplicate and the three accessions in single replicate due to limited seed quantity.
Each genotype is phenotypically described on the basis of one plot (e.g. leaf shape, flower color, beginning of flowering, maturity, growth habit). In addition, yield-related traits are analyzed (e.g., growth height, number of pods per plant) and the yield potential of the different varieties in the dryland is determined after harvest. The main focus is on the parameters that could be relevant for a higher yield reliability of chickpea in Austria: Cold tolerance at flowering, determinate growth and double podding. Occurring diseases and pests are surveyed and possible varietal differences are determined. After harvesting, further botanical characteristics such as grain color and shape are recorded. In addition, analysis of nutrient composition and antinutritives (substances that restrict nutrient uptake) is carried out in the laboratory for further characterization of the varieties.
Benefit of the project
The main objective of the project is to build further expertise for chickpea cultivation in Austria. A variety trial will be used to evaluate the (yield) potential of chickpeas of different origins for cultivation in the Austrian drylands. A network for the promotion of chickpea cultivation in Austria will be established.
Through a nutrient analysis, first findings will be collected regarding a comprehensive investigation of chickpea from field to plate (farm-to-fork). In addition, the national genebank benefits from this project as it can more easily establish descriptive traits for chickpea accessions due to the high number of reference varieties.
Last updated: 10.08.2023