Mungbean opportunity after summer rain

Mungbean opportunity after summer rain

Cropping
Matthew Pattie, Mulgildie, in Jade variety mungbeans expected to be harvested next week.

Matthew Pattie, Mulgildie, in Jade variety mungbeans expected to be harvested next week.

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Pulse crops are proving profitable in dryland operations in the North Burnett region.

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Pulse crops are proving profitable in both dryland cropping rotations and opportune planting operations for growers in the North Burnett region.

For Mulgildie farmer Matthew Pattie, 75 millimetres of rain on Christmas night was the beginning of a promising growing season which has seen consistent in-crop rainfall.

Planting almost 70 hectares of Jade variety mungbeans in the first week of January, Mr Pattie said they had germinated well and fully emerged seven days after planting.

"We had half a profile of moisture from wheat stubble which we harvested in October, and they've had a pretty good run," he said.

"We purposely didn't plant anything before Christmas because the heat that we had through spring was just unforgiving; you wouldn't have grown mungbeans.

"Although January was a bit dry, we've had 237mm for the last two months and the wheat stubble has done a great job of preventing soil erosion during recent storms."

Despite not following a set cropping rotation, Mr Pattie said following a winter cereal with mungbeans worked well because of the ground cover and the crop offered great weed management through the summer.

"We don't have a set rotation, it's all opportunity cropping.

"We just try and work on the fact that we've always got something in the ground.

"With the weather changes so quickly here, you need flexibility and opportunity cropping gives us that."

Planted at 30 to 35kg/ha on 320mm spacings, flowers started emerging in the last week of January, with minimal pest pressure throughout the season.

"We've done one bug spray for the season, and they've been really clean," Mr Pattie said.

February saw the crop treated for powdery mildew, but otherwise, it was a season without many hiccups.

In a climate with "pretty consistent rainfall" that supports a dryland mungbean average yield of above 1 tonne per hectare, Mr Pattie said expectations were for a good yield.

"Quality wise, they'll be pretty good and the return is pretty attractive at the moment," he said.

Forecast rain from ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther had been of concern as preparations were made for the crop to be sprayed out, but the failure to eventuate was a welcome relief, with the crop sprayed in mid March and an expectation of harvest next week.

"The overnight temps have been down around 15 degrees and the days have been warm with some quite strong wind at times," Mr Pattie said.

"This should help dry down of the crop."

The crop will be followed by a wheat or barley crop in winter 2020.

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