Research ongoing into “mystery” chickpea disease

Some call it a “mystery chickpea disease” while researchers refer to it as an “emerging health issue”

The problem surfaced in 2019 in the Gravelbourg, Assiniboia and Coronach regions of southern Saskatchewan.  It reappeared again the following year. Both those years featured early dry conditions followed by a big dump of rain.  

Chickpea plants had a lot of chlorosis, wilting and some plant die-off. 

“My main conclusion is the mystery persists, we still don’t have a good explanation but we are learning some interesting things about chickpeas in general and things that even if they don’t solve this issue it could be useful to know.” said Michelle Hubbard, a plant pathology research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Swift Current. She made a presentation at a Saskatchewan Pulse Growers regional meeting on Tuesday.

Hubbard says the disease has not spread very much over the past three years, thought there have been reports of the mystery chickpea disease in other parts of the world, such as the U.S. and Australia. Research will continue to study soils and plant samples. 

“We have looked at nutrient analysis in the chickpea residue themselves and a lot of different soil testings like salinity and p-H and found nothing with any of those, and we have one more year of…nutrient analysis comparing the chickpeas from unhealthy and healthy fields from the 2023 season and we’re still waiting for the results on that.” said Hubbard.

(With files from Neil Billinger, CJWW)

More from