Name and synonyms:
Neelam is a hindi/urdu word (the most widely spoken languages in the Indian Subcontinent) meaning the gem -Blue Sapphire. This follows the WA convention of naming chickpea varieties in the language of the target market and referring to gems or precious metals found in Australia.
NeelamA has been tested as WACPE2155, 99-451A-WAD7 and 99-451A-WAD007.
Area of Adaptation:
Neelam Desi Chickpea is well adapted to most areas of southern Australia consistently ranking in the top yielding varieties; ranking higher than PBA Slasher and GenesisTM 836. Limited trials in NSW and Queensland show Neelam yields competitively.
Breeding: This variety has been developed by Dr Tanveer Khan (former DAFWA Plant Breeder), Winthrop Professor Kadambot Siddique (The University of Western Australia) and the Pulse Breeding Team of DAFWA. Neelam was developed from germplasm bred by Dr Michael Materne and Mr Kevin Meredith and the DPI Pulse breeding team from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, Horsham as part of the GRDC National Chickpea Breeding Program.
The cross 99-451A (pedigree: 8511-19/ICC 13729) was made in 1999 by VIC DPI and was developed to a F3 population and subjected to natural selection for ascochyta blight resistance under high disease pressure at Horsham that increased the frequency of resistance.
This population was distributed to DAFWA as part of the GRDC funded National Chickpea Breeding program. The segregating population was grown at Merredin 2003 and subjected to ascochyta blight epidemic. A single plant showing ascochyta blight resistance and desirable agronomic traits was selected by Dr Khan and harvested individually. The progeny of this single plant was grown in 2004, again at Merredin, along with other single plant selections. This line was then observed as genetically fixed and tested at multi-location breeding trials until 2011.
The agronomy of growing Neelam is similar to all current Australian chickpea varieties. Neelam has the following agronomic characteristics:
- Plant height is similar to most Australian varieties (higher than PBA SlasherA) but slightly lower than GenesisTM 836
- Mid flowering similar to GenesisTM 836
- Lodging has not been seen in any trial in WA including trials where Neelam has yielded more than 4 t/ha
- Neelam is a mid maturity variety similar to PBA Slasher and GenesisTM 836.
- Neelam is resistant to ascochyta blight, as found over several years of testing in WA and in variable environments in India and NSW.