Chickpea Harvesting & Storage
Ideally, chickpeas should be harvested when most of the plants are yellow and pods are mature. Chickpeas are very sensitive to late season frosts, and seeds can be adversely affected by as little as 2 to 3 degrees of frost during the pod filling and ripening stage. Time your chickpea harvest appropriately to ensure the highest possible yield. The following tips will help you in combining your chickpeas.
- Combines may either be specialized units designed specifically for harvesting chickpeas or conventional units with either a cylinder or rotor threshing system.
- Chickpea is very susceptible to splitting and cracking, so the RPM of the cylinder and the clean grain elevators should be reduced as much as possible. Cylinder speeds between 170 and 350 rpm are satisfactory for most threshing conditions.
- Clearances between the cylinder and concave, and between the wires in the concave, must allow the seed to pass through freely.
- The use of perforated sheet metal (3/16 round) and slotted screens in the feeder housing or screening on the combine table will help eliminate dirt from the grain — and save wear and tear on the equipment.
- The unloading auger should run at an idle speed to prevent damage to the seed. If you see evidence of seed damage or splitting, make immediate adjustments
Proper chickpea storage management is important to prevent a grade decrease. Handle chickpeas with care, using a conveyor instead of an auger if possible, as chickpeas are susceptible to breaking.
Drying or aerating down to 14 per cent moisture should be done gradually. Chickpea seed becomes fragile if the seed moisture content goes below 13 per cent, so take care to ensure seed moisture stays above that number.
Chickpeas will darken and deteriorate in quality the longer they’re stored. This deterioration worsens if the seed moisture content, humidity, and temperature are high, so if you’re considering longer-term storage of up to 12 months, reducing storage temperatures and aerating your seed can help maintain its quality.