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Revista mexicana de ciencias agrícolas

versão impressa ISSN 2007-0934

Rev. Mex. Cienc. Agríc vol.7 no.2 Texcoco Fev./Mar. 2016



Row spacing, nitrogen and chickpea production residual moisture

Maricela Apáez Barrios1 

José Alberto Salvador Escalante Estrada1 

María Teresa Rodríguez Gonzalez1 

Eliseo Sosa Montes2 

Patricio Apáez Barrios1  § 

1Colegio de Postgraduados-Campus Montecillo. Carretera México-Texcoco, km 36.556230. Montecillo, Texcoco. Estado de México. Tel: 015959529299. Ext. 1330. (;;;

2Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Departamento de Zootecnia. Carrera México-Texcoco, km 38.5 56230 Chapingo, Estado de México. Tel: 01595 95 216 42.


The chickpea is used in food and feed. It is grown without fertilization, 80 cm row spacing yield of 0.6 t ha-1. A suitable topological arrangement and nitrogen fertilization can increase the yield of chickpea. The objective was to determine, under conditions of residual moisture, topological arrangement and appropriate to increase performance and profitability dose of nitrogen. The study was established in Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico, in 2011. We used a Creole, seeded 40 and 80 cm row spacing (D40 and D80, respectively), and fertilized with 0, 50 and 100 kg of N Ha-1 (N0, N50 and N100, respectively). The total biomass (BT), harvest index (IC), grain yield (RG), efficient use of water for BT (EUAB) and RG (EUAG) was evaluated. The results were analyzed with SAS and Tukey test at 5% probability. In addition, an economic analysis was applied. The results indicate that BT, RG, IC, EUAG, EUAB were significantly affected by D, N and D*N. With D40 and N100 as BT (818 g m-2), IC (31%), RG (227 g m-2), EUAG (0.68 g m-2 mm-1) and EUAB (2.15 g m-2 mm-1). The RG increased is resulted from increase in the number of pods (781 m-2), weight of hundred grains (51 g), number of grains (791 m-2) and economic profit ($ 20 649). The heat requirement was 2 295 °C days and evapotranspiration of 380 mm of planting to maturity.

Keywords: Cicer arietinum L.; harvest index; profitability; total biomass


El garbanzo se utiliza en la alimentación humana y animal. Se cultiva sin fertilización, a 80 cm de distancia entre hileras con rendimiento de 0.6 t ha-1. Un adecuado arreglo topológico y fertilización nitrogenada puede incrementar el rendimiento del garbanzo. El objetivo fue determinar, bajo condiciones de humedad residual, el arreglo topológico y dosis de nitrógeno apropiadas para incrementar el rendimiento y rentabilidad económica. El estudio se estableció en Huitzuco, Guerrero, México, en 2011. Se utilizó un criollo, sembrado a 40 y 80 cm de distancia entre hileras (D40 y D80, respectivamente), y fertilizado con 0, 50 y 100 kg de N ha-1 (N0, N50 y N100, respectivamente). Se evaluó biomasa total (BT), índice de cosecha (IC), rendimiento de grano (RG), eficiencia en el uso del agua para BT (EUAB) y RG (EUAG). Los resultados se analizaron con SAS y Prueba de Tukey al 5% de probabilidad. Además se aplicó un análisis económico. Los resultados indican que la BT, RG, IC, EUAG, EUAB fueron afectados significativamente por D, N y D*N. Con D40 y N100 se logró la mayor BT (818 g m-2), IC (31%), RG (227 g m-2), EUAG (0.68 g m-2 mm-1) y EUAB (2.15 g m-2 mm-1). El incremento en RG resultó del aumento en el número de vainas (781 m-2), peso de cien granos (51 g), número de granos (791 m-2) y ganancia económica ($20 649). El requerimiento de calor fue de 2 295 °C días y evapotranspiración de 380 mm de siembra a madurez fisiológica.

Palabras clave: Cicer arietinum L.; biomasa total; índice de cosecha; rentabilidad económica


Among the food legumes, chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) in dry grain is second in human consumption in Mexico (FAOSTAT, 2013). It is also consumed in green beans, however, there is no documented information. In addition, it is used as an ingredient in baby foods as pasta and porridge (Peralta and Veas, 2014). This presents high protein (20%) fibers (10%), minerals (40%), vitamins C, E and phenolic compounds (Kou et al., 2013). The aerial part of the plant is considered high quality forage protein (Rangel et al., 2011). As for Mexico production it ranks third in the world with 131 894 t of grain grown on 98 295 ha (FAOSTAT, 2013). The average yield of dry grain in Mexico is 1.8 t ha-1 under irrigation, 1.1 t ha-1 in temporary and 0.6 t ha-1 residual moisture (SIAP, 2013).

In the state of Guerrero, the municipalities of Chilpancingo, Tlapa and Huitzuco are major producers (SIAP, 2013), in which regional Creoles are sown, materials which exhibit a degree of outcrossing under conditions of residual moisture, which refers the stored and available in the soil after the rainy water, which is used by short-cycle crops. Under these conditions, grain yield is low, since the available moisture is consumed by the crop during the early vegetative stages and decreases in the reproductive cycle (Escalante, 1999). Also, the decrease in productivity under these conditions is attributed to the lack of fertilization and sowing in inappropriate population density, considering a distance of 80 cm between rows.

Which limits the use of such moisture and agrosistema productivity, better utilization of stored water can be achieved by reducing the distance between rows that generate high population density with a suitable nitrogen fertilization. In this sense the nitrogen is credited with 75% of the increase in agricultural output (Danso and Eskew, 1984). In this regard, Padilla et al. (2008) mention that at a dose 120 kg N ha-1 increased 30% yield and protein concentration garbanzo beans, Geerts and Raes (2009) indicate that chickpea seeded at high density without limiting moisture, It exhibits an increase in yield of up to 35%. Also they indicate that one of the strategies to increase performance is to increase dry matter partitioning to the organ of agronomic interest (grain).

However, softly conditions of residual humidity are scarce the background on influence of N and population densities in relation to the growth, assignment, distribution of dry matter for organ, performance and his chickpea's components, as well as the efficiency in the use of water. The objectiveof this study was to determine the distance between rows and dosage most appropriate to raise efficiency in water use, biomass production and distribution in the plant, harvest index, yield, its components and the profitability of nitrogen garbanzo, under conditions of residual moisture. Where a positive effect measured by increased performance and components to increase the density of the population by reducing the distance between rows and using N expected

Materials and methods

The study was established during the autumn-winter 2011 cycle under conditions of residual moisture in Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico at 18° 15' latitude, 99° 09' of longitude and altitude of 1 086 m. The climate of the region is warm humid with summer rains (AW1) (García, 2005). The soil is clayey, pH 7.2, electrical conductivity of 0.32 dS m-1, 1.69% organic matter, total nitrogen 0.08% and mg kg-1 (P2O5). White chickpea planting native of the region took place on November 2, 2011. The experimental design was a randomized block in split plot arrangement with four replications product of the combination of three nitrogen fertilizer levels 0, 50 and 100 kg N ha-1 (N0, N50 and N100), which corresponded to the lower plot and two row spacings (D) 40 and 80 cm (high pitch) with a population density was 15 and 30 plants m2 (D40 and D80, respectively). As a source of N ammonium sulfate (20.5% N), which was applied at the time of planting by hand to the bottom of groove it is used. The experimental unit was 9.6 m2. Soil moisture was recorded monthly by the gravimetric method, which involves removing soil samples at depth of 20 cm, which are weighed and subsequently dried in a forced air oven at a temperature of 80 °C to constant weight (Method GG_08).

The difference between the weight of the wet sample and the dry, is the amount of water contained in the sample. The ratio of the amount of water to the weight of dry soil sample represents the moisture content at the time of sampling. Managing weeds is performed manually. The effect caused by pests was minimal, for this reason it was considered negligible by not affect the experimental data. During the growing season maximum temperature (Tmax, °C), low temperature (Tmin, °C), evaporation (Ev, mm) and precipitation (mm) was recorded; and ontogenetic stages of the cycle as days occurrence of emergency (E), to flowering (R1), start fruiting (R2) and physiological maturity (RH), according to the criteria presented by Padilla et al. (2008). Further, by the residual method of Snyder, (1985), they were calculated development grades days [GDD= [(TminTmax)/2-Tb]. As the base temperature (Tb) for the crop it was considered 5 °C with equation UC= (Tmax+Tmin)/2Tb. Where: UC are units heat °C Tmax and Tmin are the maximum temperatures. Minimum daily, during ontogenetic cycle. Tb, base temperature (Padilla et al., 2008). The crop evapotranspiration (ETc) was calculated from the data type evaporation tank, with a coefficient for pan evaporation (Ke) of 0.75 and values of crop coefficient (Kc) based on crop development whose values were 0.35 (Kc start), 1.0 (maximum Kc) and 0. 25 (final Kc).

Through the relationship FTE= (Ev) (Ke) (Kc) (Allen et al., 2006). A physiological maturity (MF) 5 floors of the middle row is taken and the total biomass (BT, g m-2) and their distribution in different organs of the plant are recorded, for which the material was dried in a forced air oven at 75° to constant weight. Moreover, the grain yield (RG, grain weight to 12% humidity, g m-2) and its components as the number of grains per m2 (NG), weight of hundred grains (P100G), number of registered pods per m2 (NV) and grains per pod (GV). The efficiency of water use for BT and RG (g m-2 mm-1) was also calculated with the equation USA= BT or RG / etc. Where: USA, efficient use of water, etc., accumulated evapotranspiration (Escalante, 1995; Santa et al., 2005).

The variables studied were applied a variance analysis and those with statistical significance testing Tukey to 5%. Statistical analyzes were done using SAS version 9.0 (SAS, 2001) package. To determine the degree of association between some components RG and correlation analysis it was applied. In addition, an economic analysis was applied to determine the highest net income in accordance with Volke (1982).

Results and discussion

Elements of climate, phenology and soil moisture

In Figure 1 having the Tmax and Tmin (year average) and precipitation (ten sum) during crop growth is noted that the Tmax was between 33 and 37 °C and Tmin between 12 and 18 °C. The higher Tmax (37 °C) occurred in the first ten days after emergence (E) and then decreased as the season progressed crop. The lower Tmin (12 °C) occurred after the start of flowering (R1) and start fruiting (R2). The heat range for crop development is 5-35 °C, with an optimum around 22 °C (Benacchio, 1982) Under these conditions the culture reached physiological maturity and considering the temperature as a non-limiting factor for the growth and development of the crop. Regarding precipitation is was 7 mm during the growing season because it usually rains in the region are presented in summer.

E= emergence; R1= beginning of flowering; R2= start fruiting; RH= physiological maturity. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011.

Figure 1 Ten-year average maximum temperature (T max), minimum (T min)) and decadal amount of rainfall during the growing season chickpea.  

The days occurrence of phenological phases were similar among treatments. Thus, the (E) occurred at 10 days after sowing (ddp), the initiation of flowering (R1) at 55 dds, dds R2 at 67 and RH to 118 dds. The GDD accumulated E was 213, in 1010 to R1, R2 of 1 225 and HR 2 295 °C d respectively. ETc accumulated physiological maturity (RH) was 380 mm.

In the Figure 2 shows that the residual moisture decreased as advanced crop development. This trend to a quadratic regression model was adjusted. At the beginning of the experiment 25% moisture (field capacity) and 118 days (end of the cycle) 2% (about permanent wilting point) it was recorded. According to the regression model, the reduction of moisture per day averaged 0.46%. During the development of visually crop plants it wilt not observed, which suggests that a tolerant crop limited moisture conditions. Which can be attributed to chickpea leaves secrete an aqueous solution composed of oxalic acid and malic capture humidity during the night, which could help supplement the water requirement for growth (Martínez and Calderón, 2005).

E= emergence; R1= beginning of flowering; R2= start fruiting; RH= physiological maturity. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011.

Figure 2 The dynamics of soil moisture (%) during cycle chickpea.  

Total biomass and its distribution in plant organs

Accumulation BT present significant changes interaction effect D*N (Figure 3). With the combination D40-N0, D40D40-N50 and N100, respectively the MS grain, leaves, stem and leaflets increased by 47, 49, 50 and 48%, respectively, relative to N0-D80, D80 and D80-N50 -N100.

N0= no nitrogen; N50= 50 kg N ha-1; N100= 100 kg N ha-1. D40= row spacing of 40 cm; and D80= row spacing of 80 cm.

Figure 3 Total biomass and its distribution on the ground depending on the distance between rows and doses of N. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011. 

Moreover, the distribution of MS in plant organs was similar between treatments, which averaged 30% for stem, 30% for corn, 30% to 10% leaves and leaflets. This suggests the possibility that environmental variation related to changes in row spacing and N, was not as severe to affect the distribution of MS in chickpea.

As for the interaction D*N, Figure 4 shows that the response to interaction BT adjusted to a quadratic polynomial. Thus in D40, the response BT to N was higher, since for every kg N ha-1 that BT was applied increased by 7.6 g m-2, whereas D80 increased by 3.8 g m-2. Also, most BT was generated with D40-N100, with increases of 56% compared to N0-D80 (Figure 3). Such a response is determined by a higher growth stimulated by plant canopy N, by its effect on leaf expansion (Escalante, 1995, Escalante, 2001) and increased ground cover planting caused by short distances, leading to greater radiation interception and a more efficient use of water. Similar results were reported in sunflower (Aguilar et al., 2005).

D40= row spacing of 40 cm and D80= distance between rows of 80 cm.

Figure 4 Response of total biomass (BT) to the distance between rows according to the dose of nitrogen, total biomass interaction Huitzuco x N., Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011.  

Harvest index

Harvest index (IC) showed significant changes as a result of D, N and interaction D*N (Table 1). With the IC D40 was superior to D80, which is attributed to the efficient use of all resources such as water and nutrients. With regard to N, with the IC N100 increased by 8% and 10% compared to N0 and N50, respectively. Similar trends were reported in sunflower (Olalde et al., 2000). In relation to interaction D*N, the highest IC met D40-N100 (4.2% from D80-N0). These results indicate that the N, generating increased demand for fotoasimilados by increased production of pods and grain rises MS allocation to these structures and the high population density makes more efficient use of resources including water and nutrients (Olalde et al., 2000; Escalante and Rodriguez, 2010). Similar results were found Saxena and Johansen (1988), who in chickpea cultivars cold tolerant reported IC 32%, close to the average value of this study.

Table 1 Harvest index (CI), grain yield (RG), number of pods (NV), one hundred weight of grains (P100G) and number of grains (NG), depending on the row spacing and nitrogen dose. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011. 

Distancia entre hilera (cm) Nitrógeno (kg ha1) 1С (%) RGgm2 NVm-2 PlOOGg NGm-2
80 0 26.8c 103c 364c 18.2c 382c
50 29.1b 147b 519b 25.2c 529b
100 30.6b 149b 533b 41.3b 543b
40 0 29.8b 141b 540b 33.4b 550b
50 30.0b 189a 706a 45.2a 716a
100 31 0a 227a 781a 51.4a 791a
Distancia (cm) 80 cm 29.9b 133b 522b 35.6b 528b
40 cm 31.2a 186a 779a 42.3a 789a
Nitrógeno (kg ha1) 0 28.7c 122b 559b 34.4c 568c
50 29.1b 168a 648ab 44.4b 658b
100 31.6a 187a 745a 50.7a 745a
Media general. ProbF(DMS0 05) 30 159 651 38.9 659
D *(1.3) **(22) **(118) **(7.2) **(261)
N *(0.40) **(33) *(177) **(4.2) **(87)
D*N *(1.6) **(44) **(155) **(11.8) **(147)
CV 4.2 15 20 3.8 17

En cada columna los tratamientos con letra similar indica que las diferencias no fueron significativas, según Tukey (α= 0.05) *, ** = p ≤ 0.01 y 0.05, respectivamente, DMS0.05= diferencia mínima significativa al 5 % de probabilidad de error. CV = coeficiente de variación.

Grain yield and its components

The nitrogen response according to the distance between the spinneret RG, a second degree polynomial model is adjusted. With D40 response in the RG up to 100 kg N ha-1 found (230 g m-2); whereas D80, the highest RG (140 g m-2) was achieved with 50 kg N ha-1 (Figure 5). In this sense, García (1997) obtained a yield of 3 t ha-1, seed from 15 november to 15 december residual moisture.

D40= row spacing of 40 cm and D80= distance between rows of 80 cm.

Figure 5 Response grain yield (RG) to the distance between rows according to the dose of nitrogen. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011. 

In the Table 1 shows that the RG and its components, number of pods (NV), weight of hundred grains (P100G) and number of grains (NG) showed significant changes due to the D, N and interaction D*N. With D40, the RG increased 53 g m-2, 257 m-2 NV, 6.6 g P100G and NG 361 m-2 in relation to D80. With N100, the largest RG, NV, P100G and NG was achieved. Regarding the combination D*N, the greater RG, NV, P100G and NG-D40 was achieved with N100, with increments of 45, 46, 35 and 48% respectively in relation to D80-N0. According to the statistical analysis of the main factors, the most influential factor in this response was the distance (Table 1). This behavior is attributed to the more efficient use of inputs for crop growth. In addition, under conditions of residual moisture, by planting in narrow rows and the resulting increase in population density, generates more ground cover from the early stages of crop development, this reduces water loss by evaporation, so there greater availability of water and time to be used by the crop (Roy and Sharma, 1986).

As for the factor N, the initial level was low (0.08%), resulting in the lowest RG N. failing to apply this necessitates the provision of that nutrient in these conditions to achieve an acceptable RG. In this regard in India, reported increases of up to 30% RG applying 100 kg N ha-1 (Roy and Sharma, 1986). In bean (Vicia faba L.), significantly increases NV, NG and consequently in the RG with application of 99 kg N ha-1 (Escalante and Rodriguez, 2010). Danso and Eskew (1984) emphasize the importance of N as a factor of increase to 75% in the RG of agricultural crops.

Relationship between grain yield and its components

In Table 2, showing the relationship between the RG and components as NG, and P100G NV, it shows that the NG was more related to RG, followed by NV. This indicates that to raise the RG should increase the size of the demand for photosynthates such as the NG and NV (Escalante and Rodriguez, 2010), which can be achieved through crop management practices, among them the distance between rows sowing and nitrogen supply.

Table 2 Relationship between grain yield (RG) and yield components. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011. 

Rendimiento de grano vs Significancia R2
NG ** 0.98
NV ** 097
PIOOG * 0 82

NV= número de vainas m2; P100G= peso de 100 granos; NG= número de granos m2; R2= coeficiente de determinación.

Efficiency in water use

By reducing the distance between rows of planting more ground cover is achieved from the early stages of crop development (Escalante and Rodriguez, 2010). This means more water available for the crop to reduce evaporation losses, generating US higher (Table 3). With the D40 EUAB EUAG and was higher by 0.27 and 0.88 g m-2 mm-1, for D80. With N the EUAG and EUAB rose by 0.25 and 0.71 g m-2 mm-1 in relation to the control (without fertilization).

Table 3 Efficiency in water use for grain (EUAG) and total biomass (EUAB) chickpea depending on row spacing and doses of nitrogen. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011. 

Distancia entre hilera (cm) Nitrógeno (kg ha-1) EUAG (g m-2 mm-1) EUAB (g m-2 mm-1)
80 0 0.18c 0.61c
50 0.29b 0.97b
100 0.34b 1.07b
40 0 0.36b 1.21b
50 0.58a 1.95a
100 0.68a 2.15a
Distancia (cm) 80 cm 0.27b 0.88b
Nitrógeno (kg ha-1) 40 cm 0.54a 1.76a
0 0.26c 0.90b
50 0.43b 1.45a
100 0.51a 1.61a
Media general Prob F (DMS0.05) 0.40 1.32
D *(0.27) *(0.88)
N *(0.08) *(0.17)
D*N *(0.11) *(0.30)
CV 3.8 4.5

En cada columna los tratamientos con letra similar indica que las diferencias no fueron significativas, según Tukey (α= 0.05) *, ** = p≤ 0.01 y 0.05 respectivamente, DMS0.05= diferencia mínima significativa al 5% de probabilidad de error. CV= coeficiente de variación.

When handling high population density by reducing the distance between rows and N application it has fast effect of N coverage and increase the crop canopy so the efficiency of water increases (Escalante, 2001). As for the interaction D*N, most EUAG and EUAB recorded with D40-N100, while the lower efficiency D80-N0. About residual moisture under conditions Zhang et al. (2000) with supplementary irrigation EUAB recorded values of 8.7 g m-2 mm-1 and EUAG 3.2 g m-2 mm-1. It is attributed to higher efficiency which is higher water availability.


In studies where the inorganic fertilization involves an economic analysis required by the high cost of its acquisition and application. In the Table 4 having the economic analysis for the RG, it is observed that the D40-N100 treatment generated more RG, the highest total cost (CT) and the highest net income (NI). However, higher earnings per invested peso (GPI) was achieved with D40-N50 and the lowest with D80-N0. The application of inorganic N increased GPI in $0.30 for D40-D80-N50 and N50 compared to treatment without N. In crops such as sunflower, with N100 has also achieved the highest net income (Olalde et al., 2000). Moreover, even when not count with financing for the purchase of fertilizer, by shortening the distance between rows of plants you can achieve considerable IN as in the case of D40-N0 treatment (Table 4).

Table 4 Economic Analysis for chickpea depending on the row spacing and nitrogen rates. Huitzuco, Guerrero, Mexico. Fall 2011. 

Distancia entre hileras (cm) Nitrógeno (kg ha1) RG (kg ha1) IT ($) CF ($) CV ($) CT ($) IN ($) GPI ($)
80 0 1.03Ы 15.465 2 000 6 000 8 000 7 465d 0.93c
50 1.474c 22.110 2 000 7 950 9 950 12 160c 1.22b
100 1.489c 22.335 2 000 8 650 10 650 11685c 1.10b
40 0 1.410c 21.150 2 000 7 000 9 000 12 150c 1.35b
50 1.890b 28.350 2 000 8 750 10 750 17 600b 1.64a
100 2.226a 33.390 2 000 10 750 12 750 20 640a 1.62a

Ingreso total (IT)= rendimiento *precio por kg de grano ($ 15.00); costo fijo (CF)= incluye costos de preparación del terreno, deshierbes y fertilización; costos variables (CV)= incluyen el costo de la semilla para siembra, fertilizante y cosecha; costo total (CT)= costo fijo + costo variable; ingreso neto= IN - CT. IN= YPy – (∑XiPi + CF) donde: IN= ingreso neto; Y= rendimiento (kg ha-1); Py= precio por kilogramo grano de garbanzo; ∑ XiPi= suma de costos variables; GPI= ganancia por peso invertido..

Finally, the results indicate that N and D short chickpea had higher EUAG, EUAB, BT, NV, P100G, NG, IC and because of this higher RG. It's response was superior to D N, which is attributed largely to reducing the distance between rows using inputs efficiently is because most ground cover early stage culture is generated and there reducing evaporation, so that there is more water available is used by the crop. The best combination in terms of production was D40-N100, which also generated the highest economic gain (IN= $ 20 640). The greatest response Chickpea a combination of short and high fertilization is attributed to increasing population density is maximized space and nitrogen requirement is higher, so the nitrogen fertilization is achieved chickpea increased production under conditions of residual moisture.


Under conditions of residual moisture, the time to occurrence of phenological stages of chickpea is not affected by the change in row spacing and nitrogen fertilization. Greater efficiency in water use, total biomass, harvest index, grain yield, number of pods weighing 100 grains, grain number is achieved by planting at close range and the application of nitrogen. The best combination of treatments for the best performance and net income is obtained with D40-N100 while the highest GPI is achieved with D40-N50. To complete its development cycle heat requirement chickpea was 2 295 °C d, with evapotranspiration of 380 mm.

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Received: September 2015; Accepted: January 2016

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