Deterioration Factors and Their Control
As noted above, moisture control via temperature control and proper aeration can minimize crop loss due to deterioration. Exposure to sunlight can also cause a degradation in color. Good storage facilities maintain the product by protecting it from direct sunlight.
Care needs to be taken when handling chickpea seed in order not to damage the beak or crack the seed coat, which impact the quality. This is especially important under conditions of extreme cold. The cold can damage the seed coat by causing it to become quite fragile and crack easily when handled. Many pulse producers forego use of the typical grain auger and elect to use a conveyor to transport the chickpea to the bin to minimize the risk of damaging the seed.
Similar sensitivity is shown when handling lentil seed to avoid cracking the seed coat. In fact, handling is minimized where possible and the use of conveyors favored. Extremely dry seed can be tempered in the spring before seeding to decrease the risk of mechanical damage. The lentil seed coat, like pea seed, is prone to greater fragility under extreme cold and can crack easily when handled.
Methods of Reducing Deterioration
Handling and storage procedures described above reduce deterioration due to seed coat damage or heat. Pesticide and fungicide use is minimized when pre-harvest and post-harvest controls are carefully monitored. In addition to reducing the cost of storage, limited chemical use maintains the crop well below maximum residue limits (MRLs).