Onyx-AU streaks ahead of Re­gur in the Black gram stakes

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Advertisement - by Cindy Ben­jamin

BILL AND ROD FER­GU­SON have been grow­ing black gram, a close rel­a­tive of mung­bean, on their farm at Nor­win for over 20 years. Un­til the com­mer­cial re­lease of Onyx-AU last sea­son, the only black gram va­ri­ety avail­able to Aus­tralian grow­ers was Re­gur, re­leased by CSIRO in 1975. When Onyx-AU was re­leased, the lim­ited yield data avail­able sug­gested it would achieve a 10–11 per cent yield ad­van­tage over Re­gur, and be­ing cau­tiously op­ti­mistic, the Fer­gu­sons wanted to make sure that the new va­ri­ety would out-per­form the old on their farm. They planted half their usual 200 ha area to each va­ri­ety in a side-by­side com­par­i­son af­ter a long fal­low fol­low­ing sorghum. They plant black gram on 90 cm row spac­ing to en­able them to dou­ble crop back to wheat or bar­ley. Planted in the first week of Jan­uary, 2018 at a rate of 20 kg/ha and in­oc­u­lated with rhi­zo­bia in a peat slurry, Rod was pleased with the 90 Onyx-AU. per cent With ger­mi­na­tion about 60 mm of of in-crop rain, 40 kg/ha of Starter Z fer­tiliser and two scud sprays for mirids, both crops per­formed well. The only set­back was a high level of tan spot in­fec­tion. “The Onyx-AU was in­fected but to a much lesser ex­tent, and the bushes re­mained health­ier and darker green com­pared to the Re­gur,” said Rod. “The level of tan spot in­fec­tion in the pad­dock was very un­usual – I had never seen that be­fore.” Ahead of har­vest, when 90 per cent of the pods were black and crispy, Rod ap­plied glyphosate to kill the plants and ini­ti­ate dry-down. About a fort­night af­ter this ap­pli­ca­tion the crop was ready for har­vest and primed to achieve a clean sam­ple of high qual­ity beans. Rod’s har­vester cuts each plant off 5 cm above ground level us­ing in­di­vid­ual row ro­tary cut­ters on skids. This al­lows the front to fol­low the lay of the land, even on con­tour banks and through gul­lies, while avoid­ing pick­ing up any dirt. The whole plant

is rub­ber shat­ter­ing of about taken Rod the 1.2 header. was al­li­ga­tor into t/ha of pleased the the from belts har­vester pods to the with har­vest in Onyx- front no on AU huge com­pared half 70 of per the to cent the pad­dock, 0.7 bet­ter t/ha a yield from was a the com­bined Re­gur sec­tion. ef­fect of This a higher yield­ing va­ri­ety and the im­proved tan spot re­ac­tion of Onyx-AU. Rod has pre­vi­ously achieved black gram yields up to 1.8 t/ha in a good year. De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries se­nior re­search sci­en­tist, Col Dou­glas said black gram va­ri­eties have more flow­er­ing sites than green mung­bean va­ri­eties and they set pods from very low on the plant to the top. This means the crops re­quire very thor­ough scout­ing, right to the base of the plants, to pro­tect pods, flow­ers and buds from in­sect dam­age, all at the same time. “Com­pared to green mung­bean, black gram re­quires more in­tense man­age­ment to meet the re­quire­ments of a pre­mium, niche mar­ket,” he said. “Onyx-AU has de­liv­ered in­creased re­silience and pro­duc­tiv­ity for ex­pe­ri­enced black gram grow­ers like the Fer­gu­sons.” “In re­cent years we have un­cov­ered, and are now ex­ploit­ing, new sources of bac­te­rial black As­so­ci­a­tion Aus­tralian gram re­sis­tance germplasm.” pres­i­dent Mung­bean avail­able in Mark in­ter­ested Sch­midt in grow­ing said grow­ers black gram should con­sult with their mar­keter first re­gard­ing price. “We usu­ally ex­pect black gram to at­tract a $50–100/t pre­mium over the green mung­bean price, but yields are of­ten lower,” he said. “It is crit­i­cal that black gram grain is com­pletely free of green mung­bean grain on de­liv­ery. Black gram is a niche mar­ket that suits some grow­ers very well, but it is not for every­one.” More in­for­ma­tion: www.mung­bean.org.au

Nor­win farmer Rod Fer­gu­son was very pleased with the per­for­mance of the newly re­leased OnyxAU black gram va­ri­ety.

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