Optimizing Phosphorus Fertilization and Inoculation in Chickpea and Lentil

Develop recommendations for pulse growers in optimizing rhizobial and/or P-solublizing inoculants and fertilizer P for direct-seeding of kabuli and desi chickpeas and lentils in the semiarid regions of western Canada.


18 Feb 2003

2002 Annual Interpretive Summary

Optimizing Phosphorus Fertilization and Inoculation in Chickpea and Lentil, 2002

Saskatchewan is the world’s largest exporter of lentils and has the fastest expanding acreage of chickpeas. These two drought-tolerant pulse crops have been integrated into the farming systems in the semiarid regions of western Canada as a means of diversifying crop production and improving whole-farm economics. In order to expand our knowledge with these new crops, a project was initiated at two locations in the semiarid region of Saskatchewan, evaluating the effect of fertilizer phosphorus (P) on crop development and grain yields for Desi and Kabuli chickpea and lentil grown on soils with a medium level of residual P.

This field study is being conducted to determine the impact of starter P on growth, yield, and seed size in chickpea. Field trial data collected from six site-years of the study showed that starter P, as compared to a zero-P treatment, did not affect plant establishment or maturity of either Desi or Kabuli chickpeas. In only one of the six site years did starter P increase seed yield, with a response of 5.4% for Kabuli chickpea and 6.1% for lentil, compared to the zero-P treatment. However, starter P was found to increase the lowest pod height of Kabuli chickpea by 0.6 in., implying an improvement in harvestability of 6% for this crop species. When Kabuli chickpea was seeded in mid to late May (late seeding), and P fertilizer applied at the highest rate (30 lb P2O5/A), an increase in the proportion of the >9 mm (0.35 in.) diameter seeds (54% vs. 59%) triggered an increase of the price premiums that would be paid for the large seed. However, this response was not observed with early seeding of the crop (early May). The earlier-seeded chickpea may have developed a larger root system, increasing the uptake of nutrients from the soil and reducing the response to added fertilizer P. SK-25F