Chickpeas fit well into a direct seeding crop system under both minimum and no-till soil management. Chickpeas prefer well-drained land or soil with lighter texture. Research at Swift Current from 1996-1998 and in the year 2000 determined that seeding into tall (25 to 36 cm, 9.8 to 14 inches) standing stubble increased chickpea yields by nine per cent as compared to short (15 to 18 cm, 5.9 to 7 inches) standing stubble. Pod height was also increased with tall stubble.

Use of high quality seed is extremely important for successful chickpea production. It is important to have seed tested by a seed-testing laboratory for germination, purity, and seed-borne disease. Contamination from seed-borne diseases should be as low as possible. Seed-borne Ascochyta easily transmits to seedlings in the field and only seed with close to zero percent seed-borne Ascochyta should be used.

Application of certain herbicides prior to harvest can also effect seed germination and/or vigour. Seed from fields treated with pre-harvest glyphosate should be avoided.

Table1. Guidelines for Tolerances of Seed-borne Diseases in Chickpea Planted Seed 

(These are guidelines only and should be considered along with farming practices and level of disease risk for the situation)

Disease (Pathogen) Tolerance and Factors Affecting the Level

(Ascochyta rabiei)

Use with seed less than 0.3 per cent Ascochyta infection.
Even though a seed test may indicate zero per cent infection, the seedlot may still contain infected seed and seed treatment is recommended.
Seed-to-seed transmission of Ascochyta blight is high in chickpeas. The disease is very aggressive and can spread quickly in a field once established.

Seed Rots and Damping-off

These are soil-borne diseases and are not tested for at seed testing labs.
The use of seed treatment is strongly recommended for Kabuli varieties. 

Seed Rots and Seedling Blights

Sclerotinia, Rhizoctonia, and Fusarium are primarily soil-borne. Botrytis and Fusarium are also often seed-borne and can be tested for at seed testing labs.
Up to 10 per cent infection (Sclerotinia and Botrytis) may be tolerable, but will result in significant seedling blight if a seed treatment is not used.


  1. New seed treatments are continually being registered. Contact the Ag Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377, your local agri- retailer, or industry representative for updated information on seed treatments registered in pulses. Always refer for the product label before applying product to the seed.
  2. The level of seed-borne infection is not the only factor to consider on whether or not to apply a seed treatment, as most seed treatments are also effective against soil-borne pathogens. Refer to product label for details.
  3. Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) will not support claims for Ascochyta loss that are made on chickpea fields that had over 0.3 per cent seed infection and no seed treatment was used. Refer to the SCIC website at:

Source: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (SMA)

Seed Treatment

Seed-to-seedling transmission of Ascochyta blight is high in chickpeas and seed treatment is usually recommended.

In the Brown and Dark Brown soil zones, seed testing zero to 0.2 per cent Ascochyta infection is suitable for planting, but all seed should be treated with fungicide controlling Ascochyta as even a zero per cent result may contain some infected seeds at a lower frequency than what was detectable by the lab. Kabuli varieties, with their thinner seed coats, should always be treated for seed/seedling diseases and seed-borne Ascochyta. Desi chickpeas, which have a thick seed coat and tannins in the seed coat, do not usually require a seed treatment to protect it from pythium, although it too is susceptible to other seed and seedling rots and blights.

Seed treatment for control of insect pests in chickpeas are much more limited. Currently, Cruiser Maxx Pulses®, Cruiser 5FS®, and Stress Shield 600® are registered for use on chickpeas for wireworm control.

Certain fungicides and insecticides may be harmful to inoculants. Check the label of both the inoculant and the seed treatment to ensure compatibility. For optimum results, seed treated with a fungicide should be dried prior to applying nitrogen-fixing inoculant. Once inoculated, plant as soon as possible, as delays can reduce the seed efficacy of the inoculant. The use of granular inoculant will avoid any problems with direct contact between seed treatment and inoculant.