MARKETS such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, The Philippines and Vietnam are generating solid demand for Australian mungbeans in the face of import restrictions from India.
“They’ve said they will buy 300,000 tonnes of mungbeans from April 1, and in the meantime, we’ve got good support from other markets in Asia,” he said.
“We’re not just relying on India, and their quota system has encouraged us to make sure we are servicing other destinations.”
Mr Schmidt said prices for new-crop mungbeans were currently quoted at $800 per tonne delivered Downs for manufacturing grade, $900/t for processing, and $1000/t for No. 1 grade.
“Those prices are lower than they have been in the past two years, but they’re in line with the five-year average.”
Planting area down
Mr Schmidt said mungbean plantings were well down on what was grown last year due to the widespread dry conditions.
“The main planting window is in the December/January period, but there hasn’t been the rain in that period for everyone to be able to plant,” he said.
“I estimate 30,000 to 40,000 hectares have been planted this season. Last year it was 70,000 to 80,000 hectares.”
Mr Schmidt said the opportunity to sow mungbeans in the southern growing areas had passed, but there was still time in the northern regions.
“The cut off for plantings in NSW is around mid-January, so now is really too late for anyone to plant there,” he said.
“The sowing window for the eastern Darling Downs traditionally cuts off at the end of January. With mungbeans, they are a 90 to 110-day crop. Growers on the eastern Downs tend to get early frosts, so the last day of January is close to the end of the window for them.
“The Darling Downs proper is normally the end of January/first week of February. The western Darling Downs can sow until about the middle of February. In Central Queensland, they can plant until the end of February.”
So, Mr Schmidt said there were still some areas that had the opportunity to plant mungbeans this season if conditions allowed.
“If we have rain on the weekend, you might even find some people in the eastern Downs may still plant, if they have their own seed and are aware of the risks of planting a late crop,” he said.
Mr Schmidt said the main two mungbean varieties, Crystal and Jade, were performing well in all growing regions.
“There are minor crops of Black gram and Celera 2, but on a later plant, growers are probably better to stick with Crystal and Jade,” he said.