Australian Mungbean Association
Australian-grown mungbeans have quality written all over them!
Three bites at the mungbean cherry
Wondai farmer Mick Guse and BGA Agriservices agronomist Damien Sippel inspecting a crop of Crystal mungbeans sown on 20 December and due for harvest in late March.
27 February, 2018
The South Burnett has been under some very handy rain this summer, which has given mungbean grower Mick Guse the unusual opportunity to establish three mungbean crops.
The first was a self-sown crop on 52 ha that established on early rain that slightly delayed the wheat harvest. With no inputs required to establish the crop and a yield of 1.68 t/ha when the crop was harvested in January, this crop represented a handy boost to farm profitability.
“Last winter was so dry so when the rain came and delayed harvest for a short time we had an impressive germination of mungbean and the crop looked so good we decided to keep it going,” he says. “We applied some herbicide for grass control and that was about it to produce a very nice looking crop that yielded well too.”
On the 20 December Mick planted mungbeans on 180 ha and then another 120 ha was sown on the 5 January, both following good falls of rain. These two crops endured extreme heat and little to no rain in January through to mid February. Mick is feeling confident now with the rain that has fallen in the last week or so that should see these crops through to a successful finish.
Mick brought mungbeans into his farming system three or four seasons ago in response to the high prices on offer but has since been convinced of the spin-off benefits for his crop rotation. He has found Crystal to be the variety best suited to his farming system and environment.
“We can plant mungbeans straight into wheat stubble using no-till gear with no problem at all,” he says. “It also works well into sorghum stubble and now that the dryland cotton planting window is wider we have more summer cropping options open to us.”
Mick’s farm, just north of Wondai, has relatively shallow soils with restricted water-holding capacity so he tries to utilise a full profile with a crop rather than using fallows to store moisture for the future.
This year Mick applied 80 kg/ha urea after the wheat was harvested to provide an extra boost to crop growth. He says the crop has kept a good colour throughout the season and has still nodulated to fix its own nitrogen. “Some strips were left without urea applied so we will get an idea of the cost benefit of the added nitrogen,” he says. “Our average yield here has been around 1.6 t/ha so it will be interesting to see if the added nitrogen increases yield. The self-sown crop was healthy and achieved the average without any additional fertiliser so that is also important information to have.”
“Crop nutrition is the key to productivity here,” says Mick. “We have been applying feedlot manure every few years ahead of sorghum or cotton. This way the manure is broken down and incorporated before we plant mungbeans. The manure analysis shows good levels of potassium and zinc, both of which are needed in our soils.”
Mick aims to keep wrinkled seed to a minimum by keeping on top of insect pests such as mirids and yield-damaging pests such as heliothus and bean podborer. He says the timely application of insecticide using aircraft can be worth $100/t in improved quality and yield.
Mungbeans have also been a good break crop from sorghum over the last few years and given us the opportunity to apply Verdict to deal with increasing patches of feathertop Rhodes grass.”
Care required when using manures and compost
Mungbeans require special consideration when using manures, biosolids and composts to build soil fertility. Australian Mungbean Association president, Mark Schmidt said it is important for growers to fill out the Grower Commodity Declaration, informing potential buyers of any application of animal, industrial or municipal waste products within the last two years.
The AMA recommends that mungbeans are grown in fields where there has been at least two years between the application of manure or compost and the planting of mungbeans.
“This precaution is very important because mungbeans often do not go through any heating process that would kill pathogens that may be present through the use of animal waste fertilisers,” he said. “It is a human safety issue and the industry needs to ensure that contamination risks are reduced throughout the production, processing and storage chain.”
“The AMA recommends that growers who are targeting the sprouting market avoid using manures and the like for crop nutrition or soil conditioning.”
Contact Paul McIntosh Pulse Australia, Industry Development Manager–Northern Ph: 0429 566 198