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Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an annual grainlegume or “pulse crop” that is used extensively for human consumption. The seed of this plant, when dried, is commonly used in soup. Its primary use in the United States is for salad bars, while in the Middle East and India it is more frequently cooked and blended with rice dishes. Major chickpea producers include India, Pakistan, Mexico, Turkey, Canada, and Australia. Chickpea makes up more than 20 percent of world pulse production, behind dry bean and pea. Currently, the United States imports more than 80 percent of its domestic chickpea needs.
Since the 1980s, chickpea production has increased rapidly in the northwestern United States. Meanwhile, due to agronomic, processing, and marketing constraints, production in the High Plains has been sporadic and often short-lived. During the past few years, the development of new varieties and the potential for chickpea production under dryland and limited irrigation conditions has generated renewed interest among High Plains producers. With this in mind, the purpose of this publication is to provide information to enhance the potential for successful chickpea production.