Substantial gains in grain yield may be obtained by substituting winter sowing of chickpea to the traditional spring one, particularly in dry areas of South Italy. The plants are able to develop large vegetative frames, but both resistance to Ascochyta rabiei and tolerance to cold are essential requisites. Spring sowing is interesting for the rainfed and cool Italian areas, where early varieties can tolerate water deficit and high temperatures; a good grain quality should compensate for low yields. According to the winter and spring ideotypes identified through a 15 year research activity on chickpea, a wide variability for morpho-physiological characters, yield components, resistance to Ascochyta blight and cold tolerance was found within a collection of foreign and local germplasm. Seven winter varieties, named Sultano, Califfo, Pascia, Visir, Ali, Otello, and Emiro, were released or requested for inscription to the National List of the Italian Ministry for Agriculture Policies by ENEA, Experimental Station for the Wheat Culture in Sicily, University of Naples. These varieties contributed to the improvement of the chickpea crop in Italy because of their yield which is higher than 2.5 t ha-1 the good degree of resistance to Ascochyta blight and cold, and their adaptability to mechanical harvesting. Pascia and Visir, adapted to human consumption for their large grain, represent a real breakthrough because the large seeded Italian germplasm is highly susceptible to A. rabiei. Other varieties, named Principe and Calia and jointly released by ENEA and Experimental Station for the Wheat Culture in Sicily, are well adapted to the spring cultivation of chickpea. The high productivity of Italian chickpea varieties, together with the reduced costs due to the mechanization of the agronomical practices, have improved the competitiveness of the crop with other species, qualifying it as an alternative in the cereal-dominated crop systems of Italy.
|Publication status||Published - 2000|
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