Sum­mer grains fea­ture

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

MUNGBEAN mar­kets re­main at­trac­tive for grow­ers with the ma­jor­ity of last sea­son’s crop now sold. While price is im­por­tant, it is pre-ex­port value-adding that re­ally max­imises re­turns to grow­ers and main­tains Aus­tralia’s rep­u­ta­tion for high-qual­ity prod­uct in the global mar­ket­place. De­mand across all mar­kets re­mains strong for good qual­ity beans with prices ex­pected in the range of $800 to $1100 per tonne for pro­cess­ing qual­ity beans in 2017-18. Woods Grains’ grain buying and mar­ket­ing man­ager, Bruce Woods, said ex­pe­ri­enced grow­ers were mak­ing in­quiries now to se­cure seed and other sup­plies, ready to take ad­van­tage of rain when­ever it falls.

“There are ar­eas where the win­ter crop has suf­fered from lack of rain and grow­ers might be keen to plant an early crop of mung­beans if suf­fi­cient rain falls next month or early Oc­to­ber,” Mr Woods said.

“For many though, the safer op­tion is to hold some area for plant­ing mung­beans in Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary 2018. Last sum­mer’s heat­wave had a very bad im­pact on early sown crops and I’d ex­pect many grow­ers to shy away from the ear­lier plant­ing win­dow. If grow­ers do plant early they would prob­a­bly want to have the crop har­vested in De­cem­ber at the lat­est.”

To make the most of the op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­duce mung­beans the Aus­tralian Mungbean As­so­ci­a­tion en­cour­ages grow­ers to pur­chase AMA-ap­proved seed and ne­go­ti­ate area con­tracts avail­able to them through pack­ing plants. These con­tracts re­duce pro­duc­tion risks as all qual­ity grades will be ac­cepted and the rel­e­vant con­tracted price paid on de­liv­ery. This means that even if the sea­son is not favourable and crops do not meet the ton­nage, qual­ity or de­liv­ery tim­ing hoped for, the mung­beans pro­duced will be ac­cepted at the rel­e­vant con­tract price. The grad­ing of the Aus­tralian mungbean crop into No.1 pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing grades value-adds to the prod­uct and al­lows grow­ers to max­imise their re­turns. Value-adding be­fore ex­port means the best qual­ity grain can be mar­keted into the high­est re­turn­ing mar­kets. Lower qual­ity prod­uct can also be mar­keted to achieve the high­est re­turn with­out com­pro­mis­ing the value of high-grade beans.

Last sea­son there was con­sid­er­able in­ter­est in mungbean pro­duc­tion in all the tra­di­tional grow­ing ar­eas and as far south as Dubbo. Al­though the sea­son was harsh for all sum­mer crops, to­tal mungbean pro­duc­tion was around 65,000 tonnes and the in­dus­try ex­pects a sim­i­lar level of in­ter­est this year or higher if the com­ing sea­son is favourable.

NI­TRO­GEN SUP­PLY

Al­though mung­beans fix their own ni­tro­gen sup­ply when the seed is in­oc­u­lated with the cor­rect rhi­zo­bium bac­te­ria, some grow­ers are ap­ply­ing ni­tro­gen prior to plant­ing in ad­di­tion to, or in­stead of in­oc­u­lat­ing. Paul McIn­tosh from Pulse Aus­tralia said for this prac­tice to work ef­fec­tively, the ni­tro­gen must be ap­plied pre-plant so a sub­se­quent rain event can push the ni­tro­gen deeper into the soil pro­file where the roots of the young mungbean plants can ac­cess it early in the crop’s de­vel­op­ment.

“A nu­tri­ent anal­y­sis of the soil pro­file well in ad­vance of plant­ing will help avoid hav­ing a sad, ni­tro­gen-de­prived mungbean crop three to four weeks af­ter plant­ing,” he said. “There is no ad­van­tage in ap­ply­ing a high rate of ni­tro­gen fer­tiliser and also ap­ply­ing in­oc­u­lant, be­cause rhi­zo­bia will only fix ni­tro­gen ef­fec­tively if the soil ni­tro­gen lev­els are low. How­ever, if your ap­plied ni­tro­gen re­mains po­si­tioned in the drier top soil layer, then seed in­oc­u­la­tion may still be very ef­fec­tive.”

If nodu­la­tion is ef­fec­tive, mung­beans can fix about 60 to 70 Kgn / ha, which is suf­fi­cient to grow a 1 t/ha crop. If the rhi­zo­bial in­oc­u­lant is not ap­plied or if the bac­te­ria are ex­posed to high tem­per­a­tures and die, this ni­tro­gen will need to come from resid­ual ni­tro­gen re­serves in the soil or from a pre-plant ap­pli­ca­tion of urea or Big N. High biomass crops and nar­row row spac­ing pro­mote in­creased ni­tro­gen pro­duc­tion through fix­a­tion, con­tribut­ing more to the N-bud­get of the ro­ta­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion: www.mungbean.org.au.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Mung­beans are an ex­cel­lent op­tion to fac­tor in to the sum­mer crop­ping pro­gram. AMA-ap­proved seed pro­vides the best as­sur­ances for high­est pos­si­ble seed pu­rity, best seedling vigour and min­imised risk of seed-borne dis­ease.

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