Warm sum­mer sea­son could favour lo­cal bean grow­ers

Central Queensland News - - RURAL LIFE -

AUS­TRALIAN Mung­bean As­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent Damien White said the fore­cast for a drier than av­er­age sum­mer could favour mung­bean this sea­son.

“Mung­bean is the fastest ma­tur­ing of the sum­mer crop op­tions, with very high wa­ter use ef­fi­ciency,” he said.

“In a dry year this could make mung­bean the crop to of­fer the low­est risk and high­est po­ten­tial re­turn to grow­ers. When con­di­tions could be less than ideal but the po­ten­tial re­turns high, it is all the more im­por­tant to es­tab­lish the best crop pos­si­ble at op­ti­mal row width and plant den­sity.

“The DAF re­search has pro­vided com­pelling ev­i­dence to sup­port a change to nar­row row spac­ing wher­ever it is pos­si­ble.”

De­part­ment of Agriculture and Fish­eries re­searcher Kerry McKen­zie said their GRDC-funded tri­als at four

CROP ESTAB­LISH­MENT: Well-nodu­lated mung­beans are self-suf­fi­cient in ni­tro­gen and will con­trib­ute to soil fer­til­ity and con­di­tion for the fol­low­ing crop. Sow­ing on nar­rower rows im­proves yield and in­creases ni­tro­gen fix­a­tion, re­gard­less of the sea­sonal con­di­tion or va­ri­ety sown. sites in Queens­land had demon­strated that agro­nomic de­ci­sions at plant­ing did in­flu­ence crop yield and ni­tro­gen fix­a­tion.

In the tri­als all va­ri­eties per­formed as well or bet­ter at 0.5m or 0.25m spac­ing rather than the tra­di­tional sum­mer crop spac­ing of 1m.

“Grow­ers are likely to see a ben­e­fit if they plant mung­bean at 50cm or less but that doesn’t mean they need to spend more on seed,” he said. “Plant pop­u­la­tion per me­tre square did not greatly in­flu­ence yield so the stan­dard 20–30 plants per square me­tre re­mains the rec­om­men­da­tion.”

When choos­ing pad­docks for mung­bean it is nec­es­sary to be very cau­tious of resid­ual her­bi­cides such as met­sul­furon, chlor­sul­furon and pi­clo­ram used over win­ter or the previous sum­mer.

Her­bi­cides with resid­ual ac­tion break down over time, but the time taken de­pends on fac­tors such as soil pH, soil type, stub­ble lev­els, rain­fall and the ap­pli­ca­tion rate. It is well worth check­ing that it is safe to plant be­fore plant­ing a sen­si­tive, high value crop like mung­bean.

Pulse Aus­tralia north­ern in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment man­ager Paul McIn­tosh sug­gested grow­ers also test for soil nu­tri­tion, par­tic­u­larly for potassium, sul­phur, phos­pho­rus and zinc, in the 0–15, 15–30 and 30–70cm zones to give an in­di­ca­tion of where in the pro­file nu­tri­ents may limit growth.

“With mung­bean be­ing such a short-lived plant it is im­por­tant not to re­strict ac­cess to nu­tri­ents early in the crop’s de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

“There needs to be good soil mois­ture, suf­fi­cient to form a moist ball in your hand, to a depth of 60cm, and no sub-soil con­straints such as sodium or chlo­ride.”

Mr McIn­tosh sees mung­bean as a very vi­able al­ter­na­tive to other sum­mer crop op­tions, be­ing a quick, low cost and high re­turn crop.

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