Thirty on-farm trials were conducted in northwest Syria over a period of four seasons to examine the main effects and interaction of sowing date, sowing method, Rhizobium inoculation, phosphate application and weed control on chickpea (Cicer arietinum). Advancing the sowing date from spring or late winter to early winter resulted in substantial yield increases. The effects of Rhizobium inoculation were small and inconsistent. Chemical weed control significantly increased grain yield compared with the unweeded control treatment in winter-sown crops but was less effective than hand weeding. Phosphate application significantly increased yield in the first three seasons, the overall increase being 10%. Drilling chickpea seed gave an overall 10% increase in yield compared with the broadcast sowing commonly practised by farmers. There is no economic or environmental risk to the farmer in adopting the proposed practices either singly or in combination. However, the greatest gains in yield and net revenue are derived from a combination of early winter sowing, drilling, weeding and, where appropriate, phosphate application.
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