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12 February, 2021

There’s still time to plant mungbeans and reap the rewards

THE 2021 mungbean season has kicked off well with timely rain falling across the main production areas and a favourable market outlook.

THE 2021 mungbean season has kicked off well with timely rain falling across the main production areas and a favourable market outlook.

The Australian Mungbean Association is proud to have played an important role in the development and growth of the Australian mungbean industry for 35 years.

Strong demand for quality Australian product

Mungbean exporters are reporting strong interest in Australian mungbeans to help fill a shortfall in production in China. Following two low production years there is no carryover stock of mungbeans in Australia to meet the current demand and both India and China are sourcing product from other countries until the new crop is harvested in Australia.

Chandru Hiremath, Golden Harvest Grain Exports, says there is steady interest from Chinese importers looking for Australian product for shipment from April to June.

“The Chinese are currently sourcing lower cost mungbeans from Myanmar and Uzbekistan,” he says. 

“But they are wanting the higher quality Australian product as soon as it is available. Growers will have no trouble marketing grain this season and we would expect the price to be around $1000 to $1200 per tonne to the grower, depending on quality.”   

Olam’s pulse trader Srinivas Boyapalli agrees, saying the Chinese demand for Australian processing quality beans is strong, but cautions that this market is price sensitive and will respond to changes in the value of the Australian currency.

“If the Australian crop is up around the 100 to 150 thousand tonnes mark that could eventuate if the rain continues to fall, there will likely be a drop in price once China leaves the market,” he says. 

“Later sown crops might budget on around $800 to $1000 per tonne to the grower.”

The other factor to consider is that the Indian government will announce fresh import quotas early in April and there is an expectation that licences will be issued soon after, effectively bringing this important market back into play for the new crop Australian mungbeans.

Paul’s tips for successful mungbean production

Pulse Australia’s Paul McIntosh knows what it takes to grow the best mungbean crop possible, and recommends growers follow a few basic guidelines that optimise yield and grain quality.

1.      Assess the available soil moisture and don’t plant unless you have at least 100 mm of plant available water (PAW) in the profile. If available, irrigation is of benefit from flowering to early podding.

2.      Employ the services of an Accredited Mungbean Agronomist and contact an AMA member to assist with marketing your crop.

3.      Double check previous herbicide use to ensure the paddock is safe to plant mungbeans. Mungbeans are sensitive to metsulfuron, picloram and any of the triazine actives, plus some others. Also avoid paddocks with recent history of biosolids or feedlot manure applications.

4.      Plant mungbeans on narrow rows of 30 to 50 cm if possible to maximise yield and compete with weeds.

5.      Inoculate the seed with the correct rhizobia to achieve successful nodulation, providing the crop with most of its own nitrogen requirement.

6.      Apply basic starter fertiliser and address any nutrient constraints.

7.      Aim to plant into paddocks with low or no weed pressure. Do everything you can to stop weed seed set during the growing season.

8.      Start with weekly scouting for insects in the vegetative stage and then ramp up to twice-weekly beat sheet checks for the main insect pests such as helicoverpa, mirids, podborers and bean bugs. At this stage, fall armyworm does not seem to be seeking out mungbean crops.

9.      Once the crop starts to mature, crop desiccation is generally required as a harvest aid. If you are in a position to trial swathing instead of herbicide desiccation, this could be an option for managing late germinating weeds and getting the crop off the paddock earlier.

10.  Mungbeans are a quick-growing crop and every effort should be made to maximise grain quality to ensure the best returns.

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