The possibility of increasing seed yield in chickpeas was studied by changing sowing time from spring to autumn in an experiment conducted in central Greece over 4 years. Six chickpea varieties, two susceptible to Ascochyta blight and Sclerotinia diseases and four resistant, were evaluated in two sowing seasons (autumn and spring).
Results showed that autumn sowing in comparison with spring influenced reproductive and growth periods of the varieties as follows: advanced initiation of flowering (April instead of May), increased flowering duration of the varieties from 7 to 13 days and advanced time for harvest, on average up to 4 days when an exceptionally rainy spring prevailed and up to 30 days when exceptionally dry. Due to the above changes induced by autumn sowing, varieties yielded on average from 23–188% (655–1015 kg/ha) more than if they were sown in spring. The largest per cent increase was observed during the year with the driest spring and the smallest during the year with the wettest spring. The two susceptible varieties ‘Thiva’ and ‘Gravia’ when infected by Ascochyta blight and Sclerotinia diseases in autumn sowing, had yields similar to the spring sowing. However, during the years without infection these two varieties yielded more in autumn sowing.