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Notes on Chickpea ( Cicer arietinum L )

Notes on Chickpea ( Cicer arietinum L ):

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Source: Modern Techniques of Raising Field Crops Book by Chhidda Singh

Introduction to Chickpea:

  • Role in Indian Agriculture: Premier pulse crop in India, integral in cropping systems.
  • Nutritional Value: Major source of protein, rich in essential amino acids, and aids in soil nitrogen fixation.
  • Production Statistics: In 1999-2000, total food production in India was around 209 million tonnes, with pulses, including chickpea, constituting 13.4 million tonnes.

Origin and History:

  • Known Since: Chickpea has been cultivated from ancient times in Asia and Europe.
  • Place of Origin: Southwestern Asia, countries like Afghanistan and Persia.
  • Historical References: Mentioned by Aykroid and Doughty (1964) and De Candolle; has a Sanskrit name indicating long-standing cultivation in India.

Area and Distribution:

  • Global Distribution: Cultivated over 12.0 million hectares worldwide.
  • Leading Producers: India, Pakistan, Burma, Turkey, with India being the top producer.
  • Indian Statistics: Occupies about 38% of the area under pulses in India; major producing states include Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab.


  • Types of Gram: Desi or Brown Gram (Cicer arietinumL.) and Kabuli or White Gram (Cicer kabulium).
  • Characteristics: Desi variety has smaller, varied colored seeds; Kabuli has white, bold grains.

Botanical Description:

  • Family: Leguminosae.
  • Plant Structure: Small, branched, herbaceous, rarely exceeding 60 cm in height.
  • Root System: Well-developed with a central tap root and lateral branches.

Climatic Requirements:

  • Season: Winter season crop; vulnerable to severe cold and frost.
  • Rainfall: Suited to areas with moderate rainfall of 60-90 cm per annum.

Soil Preferences:

  • Soil Types: Grown on a wide range of soils; best in well-drained, sandy loam to clay loam soils.
  • Soil pH: Preferably near neutral, unsuited to soils with pH higher than 8.5.


  • Desi Varieties: Includes Avrodhi, Pant G-186, Gaurav, Uday, Pusa-256, and many others.
  • Kabuli Varieties: Includes C- 104, L-550, Pusa- 1003, and others.
  • Characteristics: Vary in maturity period, resistance to diseases, and yield potential.

Cropping Systems:

  • Common Systems: Includes rotations and mixtures with rice, maize, pearl millet, sorghum, etc.
  • Benefits: Helps in controlling soil-borne diseases.

Field Preparation:

  • Seedbed Requirements: Requires rough seedbed, special care in preparation.
  • Sowing Timing: Optimal sowing periods vary by region.

Seed and Sowing:

  • Sowing Period: Varies by region, generally in October or November.
  • Seed Rate: 75-100 kg per hectare, sown at 8-10 cm depth.

Manures and Fertilisers:

  • Nitrogen Fixation: Chickpea fulfills part of its nitrogen requirement symbiotically.
  • Fertiliser Application: Responses to phosphorus and potassium applications are variable.

Water Management:

  • Irrigation: Typically rainfed, but requires irrigation under certain conditions.

Weed Control:

  • Weed Management: Requires hand weeding or intercultural operations; herbicides like Fluchloralin can be used.


  • Common Diseases: Wilt, sclerotinia blight, grey mold, rust, and Ascochyta blight.
  • Control Measures: Include using resistant varieties and fungicides.

Insect Pests:

  • Major Pests: Include gram cutworm and pod borer.
  • Control Measures: Use of pesticides like Monocrotophos and Endosulfan.

Harvesting and Threshing:

  • Harvest Period: When leaves turn reddish-brown and start shedding.
  • Threshing Methods: Includes beating with sticks or trampling under the feet of bullocks.


  • Potential Yield: A well-managed crop can yield 20-25 quintals per hectare.

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