Hand harvesting makes for hard work

Smile or a grimace: Technical officer Kristian Bogdanoff hand harvesting a chickpea trial plot at The University of Sydney's Narrabri Plant Breeding Institute. Photo: Angela Pattison

Smile or a grimace: Technical officer Kristian Bogdanoff hand harvesting a chickpea trial plot at The University of Sydney's Narrabri Plant Breeding Institute. Photo: Angela Pattison

All farm work can generally be considered hard work, but cutting a chickpea crop by hand really does fit the bill.

Research scientist at the The University of Sydney's Narrabri Plant Breeding Institute Angela Pattison said the chickpeas in the photograph were being tested for heat and drought tolerance as part of the broader project: Legumes for Sustainable Agriculture.

Much of the chickpea research in Australia until now has focused on disease, but now it’s turning to other areas.

Dr Pattison is investigating abiotic stresses on chickpeas – and these ones were imported from the Middle East to see how they stand up to hot, dry Australian conditions.

“All the seeds go through quarantine to make sure they don’t have any nasties, so we only received about 20 seeds,” she said. 

And every seed matters, so they were carefully hand harvested.

Due to a very mild year, the chickpea hand harvest took a long time to finish and the crop had to be sprayed before harvesting.