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Plant Pathology Journal
Year: 2005  |  Volume: 4  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 46 - 50

Integrating Cultivar Resistance with Row Spacing to Manage Ascochyta Blight for Increased Chickpea Yields

C. Akem, S. Kabbabeh and S. Ahmed    

Abstract: The influence of different row spacings on the development of Ascochyta blight and on the grain yield of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) was evaluated during the 1997 and 1998 cropping seasons. Two chickpea cutivars (Ghab 1 and Ghab 3) and 2 breeding lines (FLIP 90-96 and F 88-85) were used in the field trials at 3 locations, representing the different agroecological zones in which winter chickpea is grown in Syria and in most of the Mediterranean countries. Four row spacings, (15, 30, 45 and 60 cm), were evaluated in all the trials at the different locations. All plots were initially inoculated with infected chickpea debris and disease development followed natural prevailing environmental conditions. Ascochyta blight disease severity ratings were taken at early flowering and again at podding and grain yield for each plot was measured at harvest. There was a significant (p<0.05) decrease in disease severity as the row spacings were increased, in most of the entries at all the locations, for both years. There was a corresponding significant increase in grain yields with less disease at wider row spacings. The increase in grain yield was due to the added factor of increased plant branching at wider row spacings, than from less disease alone. This was noted in the more resistant entry (F90-96) which showed no significant change in disease severity with increased row spacings but still had a significant yield increase at wider row spacings at all the 3 locations. It would appear from this study that under Syrian and Mediterranean conditions, an increase in grain yield is expected when chickpea is planted at wider row spacings during winter. This increase is due both to lower Ascochyta blight severity and increased plant branching.

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