A field of mungbean plants.
Many of the countries that compete with Australia in the international mungbean market use traditional farming methods and hand harvest their mungbeans. Labour-intensive hand harvesting results in a grain product with exceptional seed quality. Australian mungbeans are sold against hand-harvested product, so, to compete effectively, the Australian industry has developed varieties and management practices that enable our growers to produce high-quality mungbeans under mechanised production systems.
The marketing of your mungbeans and choice of variety go hand in hand as the first steps in integrating mungbeans into your farming system.
Mungbean (Vigna radiata)
In the pulse industry, the term 'mungbean' refers mainly to green-seeded types with pods borne toward the top of the plant.
Berkin is a medium-large, evenly sized, bright green, seeded mungbean that is relatively easy to market because it produces the large sprouts preferred by buyers. Berken is still one of the preferred varieties grown for the sprouting market. Its popularity is largely due to the ease of marketing, ready availability of seed and premium achievable over other varieties when seed quality is high.
Berken is very prone to powdery mildew and tan spot. Heavy crops may lodge as grain is susceptible to weather damage and cracking. Without the implementation of best management practices, it is difficult to achieve a premium for sprouting grade beans.
Crystal is a large-seeded, bright green mungbean. It was released by the National Mungbean Improvement Program, under PBR, to the Australian Mungbean Association in 2008, and is a cross between White Gold, Emerald and CPI109897.
Crystal is a very consistent performer in all regions. Across five years of regional testing, it achieved an average of 20 per cent higher yields than Emerald and 4 per cent higher yield than White Gold. It offers significant advances in grain quality and has a low level of hard seededness.
Crystal is a relatively tall, erect variety with similar lodging resistance to Emerald. It has the best available combined suite of resistance to powdery mildew, tan spot and halo blight. Crystal has low levels of hard seed, increasing its attractiveness to the cooking and processing markets.
Crystal has a widespread adaptation to planting times and is suitable for both spring plantings (September/early October), due to its weathering ability, and conventional summer plantings (December/January), due to its level of powdery mildew resistance.
See Crystal Variety Management Package (PDF, 1.42 MB)
This variety was released by CSIRO through the Australian Mungbean Association in 1993 and is subject to PBR. This variety was reselected and increased from original breeders´ seed to minimise problems with seed quality variability in lines of Emerald that had been in circulation for up to 10 years. In comparative trials, Reselected Emerald established higher plant populations than regular Emerald seed. Growers are advised to source Reselected Emerald (see Figure 3: A graph of variety & yields in the Mungbean reselected Emerald table ).
It has medium-large, bright green seed, and is almost identical in appearance to Berken. Levels of hard seed may be quite high (50 per cent), which currently limit its acceptance into sprouting markets. Demand for this variety is mainly from cooking and processing markets in Asia.
Yields are similar to Berken under tough conditions, but may be up to 20 per cent higher than Berken under favourable growing conditions or where crops are likely to be affected by powdery mildew (late plantings).
Emerald has been a mainstay of the Australian mungbean industry for many years and is particularly favoured in Central Queensland. It grows taller than most other varieties and is less likely to lodge than Berken. It now has only a low level of resistance to powdery mildew. Crystal, Satin II, White Gold, Emerald and Delta are still the preferred varieties for late plantings. Emerald is resistant to Cercospora leaf spot. Maturity can be delayed and uneven where soil moisture levels remain high during the grain filling period.
High levels of hard seed can cause problems with volunteer plants in subsequent rotational crops (especially cotton).
This variety was released by the CSIRO through the Australian Mungbean Association in 1997 and is subject to PBR. It is a small seeded variety with similar grain quality to Celera. Hard seed levels can be as high as 70 per cent.
Green Diamond is a relatively quick maturing variety that has an even pod set and is quick to dry down. It has performed very well in spring-plant situations.
Green Diamond has an erect growth habit with the pods carried high in the canopy. It often performs better than the other varieties under relatively drier conditions, and may be more suited to double-crop situations and the drier western areas.
It is a dull-seeded mungbean grown for a niche market. It has superior seed quality with increased seed size, and improved evenness of seed colour, size and shape.
Satin II has the potential to out yield Satin by 20 per cent, and offer improved disease resistance to both powdery mildew and tan spot. Satin II also has improved lodging resistance and equal plant maturity compared to Satin.
Seed segregation and varietal integrity are crucial if growing two or more different mungbean varieties. Varietal mixtures are unacceptable in the market place, and mixtures of 'bright' and 'dull' seeded mungbeans would greatly reduce the value.
See Satin II Variety Management Package (PDF, 811.7 kB)
Black gram (Vigna mungo)
The black gram species is closely related to mungbean but has dull grey-black seeds and pods borne throughout the bush. It is more difficult to harvest as pods are set lower on the plant and maturity is often uneven.
This variety has a dark grey seed with good resistance to cracking and weather damage at maturity. Under wet conditions, Regur is more likely to produce seed of reasonable quality.
It is more tolerant to water logging than the mungbean varieties but is often more difficult to harvest, as it is usually shorter growing than mungbeans and pods are set lower on the bush. Regur also tends to flower over a prolonged period, ripening unevenly. Regur can make excessive vegetative growth under favourable growing conditions and is prone to lodging.
Flowers can abort if prolonged periods of overcast, wet weather are experienced at flowering.
Nodulation is often a problem with Regur and the crop can be responsive to nitrogen fertiliser. Some growers opt to grow Regur in a back-to-back rotation after mungbeans to help overcome nodulation problems.
There is strong demand for high-quality Regur beans for export to Japan. There are a number of grading sheds and grain traders specialising in the marketing of Regur. Processing-grade beans are sold into other markets for dhal and flour. Growers contemplating Regur must ensure effective segregation of black and green-seeded mungbeans in the paddock, the header and in storage, as mixed seed lots cannot be sorted and will be very difficult to market.
Regur is not recommended in Central Queensland, where plants only grow very short and delayed maturity limits yield.
|Variety||Seed colour||Weathering resistance||Height||Powdery mildew resistance||Lodging resistance||Approximate no. of seeds/kg|
|EmeraldA (reselected)||Green||Fair||Tall||Mod. susceptible||Good||15,000-20,000|
|Satin II||Green (dull)||Fair||Tall||Mod. susceptible||Good||14,000-17,000|
Note: Seed size for some varieties may be up to 10 per cent larger or smaller depending on growing conditions.
- Figure 2a: Mungbean yields overall, average of varietal trials 2002-07
- Figure 2b: Mungbean yields in CQ, average of varietal trials 2002-07
- Figure 2c: Mungbean yields in SQ, average of varietal trials 2002-07
- Figure 2d: Mungbean yields in NSW, average of varietal trials 2002-07
* A indicates varieties that are protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994 (PBR). Unauthorised sale of seed of these varieties is an infringement under the Act. See IP Australia for Plant Breeder's Rights.
For more information on growing mungbeans in northern Australia, see: