Fertility requirements for chickpea are not well-defined. Based on limited data, the requirements for phosphorus, potassium and sulphur are similar to pea or lentil.
A well-inoculated crop should not require nitrogen fertilizer, provided the appropriate Rhizobium inoculants are used and nitrogen fixation is optimized.
If nitrogen fixation is not optimized due to unfavourable growing conditions (e.g. relatively dry seed bed), chickpea may benefit from low rates of starter N in some years.
High rates of starter nitrogen
Some growers and researchers are testing the application of higher rates of starter nitrogen (applied away from the seed) without inoculant to enhance chickpea's early vegetative growth and to speed crop maturity by causing a nitrogen deficiency in late summer.
Excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer, or high levels of available soil nitrogen, reduces nitrogen fixation and may delay maturity. A soil test will provide a guideline for fertility needs.
Sensitivity to fertilizer
- Chickpea seed is very sensitive to seed placed fertilizer.
- Nitrogen fertilizer should not be placed with the seed.
- Pulse crops require phosphorus to support healthy growth, hasten maturity and support nitrogen fixation.
Under good moisture conditions, 17 kg/ha (15 lb./ac.) actual phosphate can be safely seed placed with a 2.5 cm (1 in.) spread and 15-18 cm (6-7 in.) row spacing.
- If additional phosphorus is required, side-banding, a wider distribution spread, or the use of Jumpstart® is recommended.
- If potassium or sulphur (sulphate form) fertilizer is required, it should be side-banded or mid-row-banded. Applications of ammonium sulphate can be broadcast.
- If irregular patches appear in the field that indicate a possible macro-nutrient or micro-nutrient deficiency, conduct a comparative tissue-plus-soil test to determine if a deficiency exists. It is important to remember that irregular patches in the field may be related to disease symptoms.
To date, no research has been conducted in Saskatchewan to assess micro-nutrient requirements of chickpea. Apply test strips of the plant-available form of the possible deficient nutrient(s) and harvest the strips separately to determine whether there is an economic benefit, or improved yield or quality. Contact your soil testing laboratory for diagnostic tissue and soil sampling procedures.
If irregular patches appear in the field that indicate a possible macro-nutrient or micro-nutrient deficiency, conduct a comparative tissue-plus-soil test to determine if a deficiency exists. It is important to remember that irregular patches in the field may be related to disease symptoms.