CHICKPEA FARMER: Chris Ryan's brother-in-law farmer Tony Ronnfeldt with their chickpea crop.
CHICKPEA FARMER: Chris Ryan's brother-in-law farmer Tony Ronnfeldt with their chickpea crop. Jessica Dorey

Chickpeas thrive in warm, wet winter

CENTRAL Queensland farmers are set to reap the rewards from a wetter- than-average winter.

Chickpea crops, will show a faster rate of maturity and higher yield due to a combination of high rainfall and warm winter temperatures.

Emerald recorded its wettest winter in 25 years with 262mm of rain - four times the seasonal average.

It was also one of the hottest winters on record with minimum temperatures 1.8 degrees above average at 13.2 degrees.

Agronomist Graham Spackman says the rainfall happened at the right time for chickpea crops.

"The soil moisture is just right at the moment and that's due to the rain we experienced earlier this season. But we don't need very much rainfall now," he said.

Although more rainfall won't be detrimental to the crops, Graham says, it will increase the risk of disease spread.

"Chickpea crops are susceptible to disease such as grey mould and ascochyta blight. Continuous rainfall would spread these diseases.

"But farmers have been spraying fungicide and all the crops are looking good so far."

Along with good weather conditions promoting higher yields, the pulse crop also fetches a reliable return, says Cotton farmer Chris Ryan.

"The price of chickpeas is good at the moment. We currently have 1000 acres of chickpeas growing which are set to mature around October," he said.

Spread of disease is always a worry he says but once the crop is sprayed the concern isn't as big.

"A little bit of rain is okay. It's continuous rain for four or five days that can cause a serious threat to the crop."


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