The Journal of Agricultural Science

Research Article

Root and shoot growth and water use of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) grown in dryland conditions: effects of sowing date and genotype

S. C. Browna1, P. J. Gregorya1, P. J. M. Coopera2 and J. D. H. Keatinge p1

a1 Department of Soil Science, University of Reading, London Road, Reading RG1 5AQ, UK

a2 Farm Resource Management Programme, ICARDA, PO Box 5466, Aleppo, Syria


Growth and water use of kabuli-type chickpea was measured during the 1982/83 and 1983/84 growing seasons in northern Syria under rainfed conditions. Winter-sown (November) and springsown (March) crops of cv. ILC 482 were grown in 1982/83 while in 1983/84 spring-sown crops of contrasting genotypes (ILC 482, ILC 1929 and ILC 3279) were compared.

In 1982/83, shoot dry matter and seed yields of the winter-sown crop were almost twice those of the spring-sown crop although the water use of both crops was almost the same. Root growth of both crops was most rapid before flowering but continued until maturity (early June) in the winter-sown and until mid to late pod filling (also early June) in the spring-sown crop. Root dry weight (c. 45 g/m2) and length (c. 45 cm/cm2) were similar in both crops during pod filling.

In 1983/84, shoot weight, root weight and root length were similar in all genotypes but the later maturity of ILC 3279 resulted in lower seed yield and hence harvest index, and greater water use.

The root length density decreased approximately logarithmically with depth in the soil profile although comparison between seasons and with other published results showed that the relations could not be used predictively. Water use efficiency was poorer in the second, drier season and was almost doubled by winter sowing.

(Received January 20 1989)


p1 Present address: ICARDA, Arid Zone Research Institute, Brewery Road, PO Box 362, Quetta, Pakistan.