Fungicides are Key to Canada’s Large Chickpea Crop

Chickpea is among the newest crops in West Canada, where it has been produced in sizeable quantity since 1997. Canada is now a competitive producer, processor and exporter of chickpeas, with exports valued at $50 million per year. Fungal diseases pose the most important constraints on chickpea production in Canada – ascochyta blight is the most problematic. Fungal infections cause initially small whitish spots that enlarge to become tan colored as the cells in the leaves die. Stem infections are considered very damaging as they often cause stem breakage, thereby destroying healthy branches.

“Ascochyta blight of chickpea has been a major biotic constraint to chickpea production in Saskatchewan where the vast majority of Canadian chickpea is grown. Under conditions conducive for disease development, yield losses of close to 100% have been encountered in the Canadian prairies. … Host plant resistance to the pathogen is partial and plants become increasingly more susceptible with the initiation of flowering. Major resistance breakdown due to genetic changes in pathogen populations has been observed in Saskatchewan.”

“The timely and efficient use of fungicides has remained a major factor in the successful management of the disease and the economic viability of the crop.”

Authors: S. Banniza¹, C.L. Armtrong-Cho¹, Y. Gan² and G. Chongo¹.
Affiliation: ¹Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan; ²Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatchewan
Title: Evaluation of fungicide efficacy and application frequency for the control of ascochyta blight in chickpea.
Publication: Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. (2011) 33(2):135-149.

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