The Journal of Agricultural Science

Research Article

Effect of supplementary irrigation during reproductive growth on winter and spring chickpea (Cicer arietinum) in a Mediterranean environment

M. C. Saxenaa1, S. N. Silima1 and K. B. Singha1

a1 Food Legume Improvement Program, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), PO Box 5466, Aleppo, Syria


Inadequate soil moisture is one of the main constraints on the productivity of chickpea in the rainfed farming systems of the dry areas in West Asia and North Africa. The response to irrigation at flowering and pod filling of winter- and spring-sown kabuli chickpea was studied in 1983–86 at ICARDA's main research station at Tel Hadya in northern Syria. In 1983/84 when the cultivar ILC3279 was sown in winter, irrigation increased yield by 105% over a crop receiving 229 mm of precipitation. In 1984/85, ILC3279 was sown in winter and spring. Advancing the date of sowing to winter increased yield by 65% and irrigation increased seed yield by 73% in winter and 143% in spring sowings compared with crops grown receiving 373 mm rainfall.

In 1985/86, six cultivars (ILC482, ILC3279, FLIP81–57W, FLIP81–293C, FLIP84–19C and FLIP84–80C) were compared, but differences in their response to irrigation were negligible. Advancing sowing from spring to winter increased seed yield by an average of 66%. Irrigation increased seed yield in winter and spring sowings by 56% and 72%, respectively, over those receiving 316 mm annual precipitation. Irrigation is, therefore, a way of increasing the productivity and yield stability of chickpea in northern Syria but the improvement in yield depends on the total rainfall and its distribution over the growing season.

(Revised November 17 1989)

(Received November 17 1989)

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