Rain boosts mungbean crops in the South Burnett

Seeing the benefits of mungbeans in crop rotations


Grain
Wondai farmer Mick Guse and BGA Agriservices agronomist Damien Sippel inspecting a crop of Crystal mungbeans sown on 20 December and due for harvest in late March.

Wondai farmer Mick Guse and BGA Agriservices agronomist Damien Sippel inspecting a crop of Crystal mungbeans sown on 20 December and due for harvest in late March.

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Handy summer rain falls have allowed one Wondai farmer the unusual opportunity to establish three mungbean crops.

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A South Burnett farmer has had the unusual opportunity to establish three mungbean crops this season following some handy summer rain falls.

Wondai farmer, Mick Guse, has planted a total of 352 hectares across three different planting dates because of varied rainfall events filling the soil profiles.

The first was a self-sown crop on 52ha that established on early rain which slightly delayed the wheat harvest.

Mr Guse said with no inputs required to establish the crop and a yield of 1.68t/ha when the crop was harvested in January, this crop represented a handy boost to farm profitability.

“Last winter was so dry, so when the rain came and delayed harvest for a short time we had an impressive germination of mungbean and the crop looked so good we decided to keep it going,” he said.

“We applied some herbicide for grass control and that was about it to produce a very nice looking crop that yielded well too.”

On December 20 Mr Guse planted mungbeans on 180ha and then another 120ha was sown on January 5, both following good falls of rain.

Though these two crops endured extreme heat and little to no rain in January through to mid February, Mr Guse said he was feeling confident that the rain that fell in the past week could see the crops through to a successful finish.

Mr Guse brought mungbeans into his farming system three or four seasons ago in response to the high prices on offer but has since been convinced of the spin-off benefits for his crop rotation.

He has found Crystal to be the variety best suited to his farming system and environment.

“We can plant mungbeans straight into wheat stubble using no-till gear with no problem at all,” he said.

“It also works well into sorghum stubble and now that the dryland cotton planting window is wider we have more summer cropping options open to us.”

Mr Guse’s farm, just north of Wondai, has relatively shallow soils with restricted water-holding capacity so he tries to utilise a full profile with a crop rather than using fallows to store moisture for the future. 

This year Mr Guse applied 80 kilograms per hectare of urea after the wheat was harvested to provide an extra boost to crop growth.

He said the crop had kept a good colour throughout the season and had still nodulated to fix its own nitrogen.

“Some strips were left without urea applied so we will get an idea of the cost benefit of the added nitrogen,” he said.

“Our average yield here has been around 1.6t/ha, so it will be interesting to see if the added nitrogen increases yield.

“The self-sown crop was healthy and achieved the average without any additional fertiliser so that is also important information to have.”

Mr Guse said crop nutrition was the key to productivity on his property.

“We have been applying feedlot manure every few years ahead of sorghum or cotton,” he said.

“This way the manure is broken down and incorporated before we plant mungbeans.

“The manure analysis shows good levels of potassium and zinc, both of which are needed in our soils.”

Mr Guse aims to keep wrinkled seed to a minimum by keeping on top of insect pests such as mirids and yield-damaging pests such as heliothus and bean podborer.

He said the timely application of insecticide using aircraft can be worth $100/t in improved quality and yield.

“Mungbeans have also been a good break crop from sorghum over the last few years and given us the opportunity to apply Verdict to deal with increasing patches of Feathertop Rhodes grass.”

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