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Agronomic Importance of First Development of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) Under Semi-arid Conditions: I. Effect of Powder Humic Acid

H. Ulukan, N. Bayraktar and N. Kocak
Due to slow growth and weakness of the first development of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) plant could not combatted with weeds and easily get caught up by Ascochyta blight (Ascochyta rabiei (Pass) Labr.) disease; esp. under the late sowing and semi-arid conditions, due to effect of biotic and abiotic stress factors, significant yield losses could be arised. To be able to avoid from them is only possible to accelerate the first development of this crop. So, one of the best solutions is to use of “soil conditioner” chemical compounds such as HA at optimum dose. With this aim, it was established in order to find out the optimum dose range of HA. Three doses (D0 = 0 g, D1 = 100 g and D2 = 200 g), four varieties (V1 = Er–99, V2 = Gökçe, V3 = ILC-482 and V4 = Australia) and five yield components (Plant Height (PH), First pod height (FPH), Number of Branches per Plant (NBP), Number of Pods per Plant (NPP) and Number of seeds per pod (NSP) were investigated. Obtained results are: Recommended (Optimum) HA doses and interactions were ranged and found as (V4>V2=V3>V1); (D2>D0=D1); (D1xV4) for the PH and FPH, (D2xV3) for the NBP and (D1xV3) for the NPP, respectively. It was concluded that when the recommended HA dose applied, it was seen that the first development has been clearly accelerated and increased under the semi-arid conditions in terms of investigated traits and cultivars.
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H. Ulukan, N. Bayraktar and N. Kocak, 2012. Agronomic Importance of First Development of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) Under Semi-arid Conditions: I. Effect of Powder Humic Acid. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 15: 203-207.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2012.203.207

Received: January 26, 2012; Accepted: January 31, 2012; Published: May 04, 2012


Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is one of the most cultivated and consumed legume crop in the world. It is the second most important pulse crop in the world (used in human and animal feed), in at least 33 countries in South Asia, West Asia, North Africa, East Africa, Southern Europe, North and South America and Australia (Siddique et al., 1999) and account for 6.4% (11.6 mil ha) for the area and 7.0% (8.8 mil ton) of global production of pulses (Anonymous, 2008). Seeds have 3.0% fiber; 16.4-31.2% protein; 38.1-73.3% carbohydrate; 3.0-6.0% oil; 1.6-9.0% cellulose; 0.2% calcium; 0.3% phosphorus and 3.0% ash per grain, Ca, P, Mn, Fe and B vitamins (Huda et al., 2003; Ozer et al., 2010). Findings were shown that humic substances have a positive effect on plant growth, physiologic events increases in root and shot lengths, stimulate the germination and increase in grain yield of soybean (Glycine max. Merrill), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), rapeseed (Brassica napus L.), maize (Zea mays L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), durum (Triticum durum Desf.) and common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), Pea (Pisum sativum L.) and chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) (Vaughan and Malcolm, 1985; Xudan, 1986; Chen and Avaid, 1990; Senesi et al., 1990; Valdrighi et al., 1996; Lobartini et al., 1997; Chen et al., 2004; Kaya et al., 2005; Kolsarici et al., 2005; Ulukan, 2008a, b). The main aim of this research was to fill this scientific information gap via determine or to find out the optimum dose application of powder HA on the yield components of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) varieties during (2008/2009) and (2009/2010) under the semi-arid conditions.


This study was carried out at the University of Ankara, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Field Crops, Ankara, Turkey during the (2008/2009) and (2009/2010) years. Geographical coordinates of experimental site’s are (39o 57’N and 32o 51’E) and asl is 848 m, soil structure is clayed, light alkaline with 1.78% organic matter content and lime content between 0.34 and 0.66%, pH : 6.34–6.54. Available P2O5 content is 57.2%, K2O content is 162.0%. All plots were fertilized 60 kg P2O5 kg ha-1 in triple superphosphate form and 40 kg N kg ha-1 in ammonium before sowing. Climatic data for the experimental site are shown as monthly averages were presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Meteorological data of the experimental site (monthly average)
1 LTA: Long term averages (Source: General Directorate of Meteorology)

In the research, four chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) varieties (V1 = Er–99, V2 = Gökçe, V3 = ILC–482 and V4 = Australia) and three doses (D0 = 0 g, D1 = 100 g and D2 = 200 g) were used. HA was applied as powder by hand at the sowing on the beginning of April. The sowing procedure was done by hand (on the date of 2nd April, 2009 and on the date of 3rd April, 2010) in six row plots of 6 m length with 20 cm between row distances as to give 40 viable seeds per m2. The experimental design was laid out based on Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) consisted of three blocks with varieties as main plots and doses as sub–plots. Data were recorded for examined trase components based on five randomly selected plants which were selected from two central rows of each plot. All calculations and sampling procedures were done according to Biçer et al. (2004) and Biçer (2005).

Plant height: Measured from the base of the plant to the top peduncle on the main branch
First pod height: Measured as the distance (cm) between the first pod and the soil surface.
Number of branches per plant: Found by individually counting the mature plants which are partitioned into branches
Number of pods per plant: Fixed by individually counting the pods of the sampled plants
Number of seeds per pod: Found by harvesting, counting and averaging the pods of the ten sample plants

Statistical analysis: All data were subjected to one-way analysis of variance (one way ANOVA) using MSTAT-C statistical software (MSTAT-C, 1998). Differences among mean values of the treatments were tested using the Least Significant Difference (LSD) range test at 0.05 and 0.01 statistically significance levels (Steel and Torrie, 1984).


According to mean of two yearly data, statistically significant differences were found among the examined five seed yield components (Tables 2, 3).

Plant height: Statistically significant variations were found for (V), (D) and (DxV) Table 2. Powder HA doses were fixed as 28.89 cm in the D0, 33.20 cm in D1 and 28.67 cm in D2 for V1; 30.89 cm in the D0, 32.13 cm in the D1 and 29.07 cm in the D2 for V2; 32.03 cm in the D0, 33.27 cm in the D1 and 33.00 cm in the D2 for V3; 31.33 cm in the D0, 33.87 cm in the D1 and 33.20 cm in D2 for the V4; and, variety averages were realized as 30.25 cm in the V1, 30.69 cm in the V2, 32.76 cm in the V3 and 32.80 cm in the V4; (DxV) was determined as 28.67 cm (min.) in (D2xV1) and 33.87 cm (max.) in (D1xV4) Table 3. It was found that the longest plant height for the powder HA application occurred in the D1, V4 and that the longest plant height was produced by the (D1xV4). Therefore, obtained results support previous findings showing that HA has an additive and cumulative effects on increasing of the plant height (Fig. 1), reported by Pundir and Rajagophan (1988), Chen and Aviad (1990), Senesi et al. (1990), De Sanfilippo et al. (1990), Sandhu and Gumber (1991) and Turk et al. (1999). It was also observed that applied the powder HA doses increased the height of plants and resulted of the averages this trait in varieties.

First pod height: ANOVA results revealed that statistically significant variations were calculated among the (D), (V) and (DxV) Table 2. The average first pod heights were 15.93 cm in the D0, 17.57 cm in the D1 and 14.40 cm in the D2 for the V1; 16.53 cm in the D0, 18.00 cm in the D1 and 14.40 cm in the D2 for the V2; 16.40 cm in the D0, 17.77 in the D1 and 16.47 in the D2 for the V3; 17.50 cm in the D0, 18.30 cm in the D1 and 17.57 cm in the D2 for the V4; values are recorded as the V1 = 15.96 cm, the V2 = 16.31 cm, the V3 = 16.88 cm and the 17.79 cm in the V4; (D2xV1) and (D1xV4) showed a range from 14.40 cm (min.) to 18.30 cm (max.), respectively (Table 3).

Table 2: Variance analysis results of the examined yield components
SOV: Source of variation. Df: Degree of freedom, C1: Plant height (cm), C2: First pod height (cm), C3: No. of branches per plant (No.), C4: No. of pods per plant (No.), C5: No. of seeds per pod (No.), (*Significant at p<0.05, **Significant at p<0.01, ns: non-significant)

Table 3: Mean values with their standard errors of the investigated yield components according to cultivars and doses
V1-4: Varieties, D0-2: Doses, C1: Plant height (cm), C2: First pod height (cm), C3: No. of branches per plant (No.), C4: No. of pods per plant (No.), C5: No. of seeds per pod (No.), Means followed by the same letter are not different according to least significant difference (LSD) range test (p<0.05 and p<0.01)

Fig. 1: HA dosages (D0-2) on varieties (V1-4) in terms of examined yield components (Arrows show standard error of the mean value; C1-C5: Investigated yield components)

For the average of first pod height, the highest averages were obtained from the D1, V4 and (D1xV4) parameters. On the other hand, Observed results were indicate that powder HA application increased the average first pod height of plants Table 3. The findings of our research concerning the effect of powder HA on first pod height support by De Sanfilippo et al. (1990), Chen and Aviad (1990), Senesi et al. (1990) and Turk et al. (1999).

Number of branches per plant: For this trait, statistically significant differences were found between the (V) and (DxV) but not for the (D) Table 2. As show from Table 3, the varieties showed an average number of branches per plant of: 3.74 in the V1, 3.30 in the V2, 4.22 in the V3 and 3.60 in the V4. Similarly, average figures related to the (DxV) had been taken with a min. of 3.06 from the (D1xV2) and max. of 4.43 from the (D2xV3). Moreover, the highest number of branches was recorded in the V3 and (D2xV3) (Table 3). Obtained results for this trait are similar to findings reported by De Sanfilippo et al. (1990), Chen and Aviad (1990), Sandhu and Gumber (1991) and Turk et al. (1999).

Number of pods per plant: It was not found statistically significant difference for the (D) but for the (V) and (DxV) Table 2. As shown in Table 3, values for the number of pods per plant were 28.77 in the V1, 27.74 in the V2, 41.52 in the V3 and 32.63 in the V4; the averages were found as 22.67 min. (D2xV1) and 44.67 max. (D1xV3). Thus, for this trait, the highest average values were obtained from the V3 and (D1xV3) Table 3. Observed findings support those of Tekin (1994), Tan and Nopamombodi (1979), Samal (1980), Gupta and Lal (1981), Pundir and Rajagophan (1988), Chen and Aviad (1990), Nardi et al. (2002) and Kolsarici et al. (2005).

Number of seeds per pod: The (V) and (DxV) were found statistically significant but not for the (D). The min. mean values for this trait were 1.04 in the V1, 1.42 in the V2, 1.20 in the V3 and 1.60 in the V4; min. value (1.00) was found in the (D1xV1) and the max. value (1.80) was fixed in the (D2xV4) Table 2. The highest mean values for this trait were obtained from a control dose of D2 = 200 g, V2 and (D0xV2) Table 3. The current data values are similar to those reported by Virmani et al. (1973), Lal (1976), Chen and Aviad (1990), Jirali et al. (1994) and Anlarsal et al. (1999).


The effective doses were varied between the D1 and D2. The first one (D1 = 100 g) was effected on the yield components such as expressed in length, but, the last one (D2 = 200 g) was effected on the yield components stated in weight. In addition this, the dose effects of powder HA application was showed that (D2>D0 = D1) had the highest mean distribution. On the other hand, in terms of the effect of varieties on examined traits and this ordering was realized as (V4>V2=V3>V1) according to varieties (Table 2, and Fig. 1). On the other hand, it was seen that HA could be used as the accelerator of the first development in chickpea cultivation under the arid conditions within the determined limits. But, this point is clear that, the internal and external factor(s) with their interactions, growth weakness and slowness, etc., constitute the major handicaps for the first development, growth and further stages. Nearly all of them could be determinative factors in the chickpea cultivation under the arid conditions. But, it is essential that as possible as to accelerate the first development. However, to be able to give more decisive result(s) on this topic, further researches should be carried out with the aid of interdisciplinary studies and more variety/ies, chemical substance’s dose/s at the multi locations under the arid conditions. With this context, still researches are being carried out in our department on the chickpea cultivation under the arid conditions.

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