Cropping

Mung beans stage comeback in north

Liz Wells, September 19, 2016

MUNG beans have returned to favour in the northern farming zone, filling the role as a handy, short-season, summer pulse that easily slips into summer/winter cropping rotations.

Mung beans

Mung beans

After being saddled in the past with the disparaging nickname ‘mongrel beans’, the versatile crop has staged a remarkable turnaround, more happily referred to nowadays as ‘money beans’.

Speaking at the Australian Pulse Conference in Tamworth, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries director of crop improvement, Rex Williams, Toowoomba, said there was a great sense of optimism in the mung bean industry.

“We have really turned them into ‘money beans’ with the combination of great R&D, underpinned by a revolution in genetics, management and coping with environmental challenges,” he said.

“We have combined great yields with ways for growers to help them reduce risk and capitalise on opportunities and prices.”

Rex Williams

Rex Williams

Dr Williams said improved genetics and management practices, combined with a better understanding of production environments and market needs, had revolutionised grower confidence and mung bean profitability.

“They are a short crop so you can fit them in as a double crop, you can spring sow them, summer sow them,” he said.

“They are just a great option, particularly this year when soil moisture is good. There is huge interest in a big spring crop. There is a bit more risk in a spring crop compared to a summer crop, but we know a lot now about how to grow a good crop of mung beans.”

Australian mung bean production has skyrocketed from 38,974 tonnes in 2006/07 to 100,000 tonnes in the 2014/15 season and 150,000 tonnes in the 2015/16 season.

Dr Williams said last year’s record crop was driven largely by a corresponding rise in price. Last year mung bean prices hit $1400/tonne.

He said the industry had set a target of producing an average of 170,000 tonnes of mung beans a year over the next five years.

The Australian Mungbean Association pre-season roadshow events for northern NSW and southern Queensland will be held at Dalby (Sept 27), Pittsworth (Sept 28), Goondiwindi (Oct 5), Moree (Oct 6), Narrabri (Oct 11) and conclude in Dubbo (Oct 12). They are designed to assist growers and agronomists make the most of the 2016/17 season.

Contact Paul McIntosh (0429 566 198) to register for the roadshow or check www.mungbean.org.au

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