Insect pest risk
||Dry winters in breeding areas (low population source and absence of frontal wind systems that provide opportunities for migration).|
|Infestation by virus-vectoring aphids in early seedling stages.||Retained cereal stubble helps to restrict aphid colonisation in wide row crops|
|If paddock comes out of pasture (higher risk of soil insects).|
Chickpea has only one major pest, the native budworm caterpillar Helicoverpa punctigera. Caterpillars do most damage at pod set through to maturity, and can reduce both grain yield and quality.
|Present||Present in crop but generally not damaging|
|Damaging||Crop susceptible to damage and loss|
Insects other than native budworm are rarely a problem in chickpeas post-establishment. Chickpeas secrete an organic acid (malic acid) from hairs on their leaves, stems and pods, making the crop unattractive to insects.
Seedlings are most vulnerable to damage:
- before they develop 3-4 ‘true’ leaves
- during periods of moisture stress
- when other factors (such as low soil temperature or soil compaction) limit plant growth.
Key IPM strategies for chickpeas
- Tolerate low-moderate early damage. Chickpeas can compensate for early damage by setting new buds and pods, however excessive early damage can reduce yields and delay harvest.
- Mortality of small larvae can be high. Refer to records from successive checks to help interpret check data and make decisions about the need for, and timing of, control.
- Aim for one well-timed spray: chickpea can tolerate moderate to high numbers of native budworm larvae (10-20 larvae/m2) through late vegetative and early flowering stages.
- Yield loss is sustained from damage at pod fill – the most critical stage for protecting the crop. Post treatment checks are critical to determine efficacy and possible reinfestation prior to harvest.