Seed yield and yield stability of chickpea in response to cropping systems and soil fertility in northern latitudes
Improved cultural practices are required to enhance the adaptability of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) in northern latitudes. Field experiments were conducted to determine the effects of cropping systems, cultivar choices, and soil fertility on the stand establishment, seed yield, and yield stability of chickpea in northern latitudes. Four cultivars were tested in no-till barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), no-till wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and tilled-fallow systems at six environments in southern Saskatchewan, 2004–2006. Crop received N fertilizer at 0, 28, 64, 84, and 112 kg N ha–1 with or without Rhizobium inoculant (GR). The no-till barley and no-till wheat systems did not differ from the tilled-fallow system in days to plant emergence and stand establishment, and the two no-till systems averaged 2100 kg ha–1of seed yield which was 83% of the yield in the tilled-fallow system. In the absence of GR, increasing N rates increased seed yield significantly in the two no-till systems, no yield responses in the tilled-fallow system, and decreased plant density in all the three systems. Compared to the non-GR control, the use of GR increased seed yield by 37% in the no-till systems and 8% in the tilled-fallow system. Chickpea inoculated with GR produced a similar yield as was fertilized at 112 kg N ha–1. Chickpea receiving fertilizer N plus GR produced a similar yield as the crop received GR only for all cultivars. Use of optimal cropping systems, improved cultivars with high yield stability, and application of effective N-fixing inoculants will enhance the adaptability of chickpea in northern latitudes.