High quality, high return mungbean harvest gathers pace

Liz Wells, April 24, 2020

MUNGBEAN growers are reaping the rewards of high prices and high-grade grain as harvest of the short-season crop gets into swing in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales.

An estimated 70,000 hectares of mungbeans have been sown this year from the Burdekin in northern Queensland to northern New South Wales.

Paige, Callum and Briana Reimers in a crop of Jade mungbeans growing on their family’s Darling Downs farm at Back Plains

Australian Mungbean Association president, Mark Schmidt, said about 20 per cent of the crop had been harvested in southern Queensland so far.

“The quality has been very good and some of the early crops have yielded higher than growers had budgeted on, above 1 tonne/hectare. But we are seeing the later crop starting to reduce in yield significantly because of the dry,” he said.

“As we get later in the season those crops will become lower yielding. With the dry conditions, initially we had budgeted on an average crop of 1t/ha but I think it will come back to about 0.8t/ha.”

Mr Schmidt said mungbean prices were very strong and continued to strengthen.

“They are now at $1400/t for manufacturing grade, $1500/t for processing and $1600 for No.1 grade. We are seeing good processing mungbeans come off, along with No.1 beans, so most of the product being delivered has been good processing through to No.1 quality,” he said.

Mr Schmidt said the industry hadn’t seen any significant disruption from COVID-19 restrictions, but traders and exporters were keeping tabs on whether there might be a shortage of containers.

“So far that hasn’t occurred. As long as containers are available, we are hoping we will be able to get all the product in and shipped in a prompt fashion. There is plenty of demand out there for mungbeans,” he said.

The mungbean crop in Central and North Queensland, which was planted in mid-February and will be harvested later, has benefited from handy rains.

Jason and Nedine Reimers in their crop of Jade mungbeans at Back Plains on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

First-time grower success

For first-time mungbean growers, Jason and Nedine Reimers, the 50 hectares of Jade mungbeans nearing maturity on their farm at Back Plains on Queensland’s Darling Downs is a welcome sight after a tough couple of summer cropping seasons.

After 188 millimetres of rain in January, the Reimers planted the crop on February 2.

“We had 125mm over 10 days following planting. It was a very wet start during germination and establishment. The overcast, showery weather after planting set it back a bit, but luckily it is on sloping contour country, so it wasn’t sitting in water,” Mr Reimers said.

“It has had a dry finish, but it will make a crop. It would have been nice to have had a couple of inches in March. We will spray it out around the end of April.”


Crop competition

The Australian Mungbean Association (AMA) has launched a crop competition for mungbean growers.

AMA presidcnet, Mark Schmidt, said the competition focused on recognising growers who were applying best practices.

“It is not all based on yield, it is about why you are growing mungbeans, whether you are using an accredited agronomist and all the best practices. It might not be the highest yielding crop that wins the competition,” he said.

The competition is broken up into regions: Burdekin, Central Queensland, southern Queensland and NSW.

Mr Schmidt said there was a prize and perpetual trophy for regional winners, and the overall winner gets to go to the Australian Summer Grains Conference.

Nominations: Simply send an email to [email protected] stating that you intend to enter. Nominations can be received by the grower, agronomist or AMA member.

Nominations close on 31 May and all crops entered must be detailed in the Finalist application by COB 31 July, 2020. Photographs showing nodulation and the crop at different growth stages are encouraged.

Download Finalist application form.

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