Episode 14

Published on:

23rd Sep 2020

Postharvest in Chickpeas

Can you tell the difference between a garbanzo bean and a chickpea? Neither can I. The bean is referred to as both so pick your favorite. Phil Hinrichs joins us from Hinrichs Trading Company to share his experiences with growing chickpeas and watching the industry grow. Initially chickpeas were mainly grown for export but in the last ten years have developed a domestic market that has really been taking off. With products like hummus and consumer desire for gluten free, chickpeas answer a lot of demands that consumers are looking for. 

“We went in ….and introduced our product and showed that we had the ability to have a consistent product available to the market. And the domestic market started waking up.” - Phil Hinrichs

While the market appears endless with crackers, breads, and even milk and yogurt products up for grabs, there are challenges to growing the crop. Firstly, there is a short planting window. Chickpeas prefer slightly warmer growing temperatures. Chickpeas also take a while to germinate which can leave them vulnerable to pests and further temperature stressors. The bloom stage can last up to 45-50 days creating better yields as opposed to green peas that only bloom for 10-15 days. Of course that time of blooming is in July which can lead to heat stress or summer rains that can affect the end product. 

“This crop does not like humidity. It's not for everybody….that’s what keeps it from expanding across the United States.” - Phil Hinrichs

Growers of specialty crops, like chickpeas, also have to be more flexible with getting paid for their product. Chickpeas move with the market which will likely require some storage and a bit of waiting to see what the need is. This does result in a premium price being paid but requires some forethought.  While the market has been damaged by covid and trading tariffs, Phil is optimistic about the future of chickpeas for both growers and global markets.

“So the part that makes it interesting to our grower is number one, it's a rotational crop for his agronomy on his farm. So he’s going to build soil. He’s also gonna break disease cycles so that's his focus.” - Phil Hinrichs

This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

  • Meet Phil Hinrichs, a longtime chickpea farmer
  • Learn the many benefits of incorporating chickpeas into a crop rotation
  • Discover the difficulty in marketing a specialty crop and the factors that are encouraging the chickpea market
  • Explore the effects of 2020 on the chickpea market and where it might go from here

Growing Pulse Crops Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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About the Podcast

Growing Pulse Crops
The science and business of farming field peas, chickpeas, and lentils
This show features the latest in research, agronomy, and economics of pulse crops (peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.).

Demand for these nutrient-dense, high-protein foods continues to grow. There is also interest from farmers to include more pulses into diverse rotations for benefits like nitrogen fixation and soil health.

But the industry continues to face challenges, and we are eager to address these head on. So if you’re a pulse grower or in any way interested in these important crops, hit subscribe and stay tuned for future episodes. We’ll be back with plenty of information about challenges pulse farmers are facing throughout the U.S. and what solutions are working.

Brought to you by the Pulse Crops Working Group with support from the North Central IPM Center and USDA NIFA.

About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.