GRAIN PRODUCER: Russ Salisbury's mung beans patch is six weeks off harvest. He has the crop for 15 years.Photo Anastassia Perets / Central and North Burnett Times
GRAIN PRODUCER: Russ Salisbury's mung beans patch is six weeks off harvest. He has the crop for 15 years.Photo Anastassia Perets / Central and North Burnett Times Annie Perets

Mung beans are season's flavour for North Burnett farmers

CURRENT mung bean prices of about $1400 a tonne are the highest Monto producer Russ Salisbury has seen in the 15 years he has grown the crop.

"Anything over $1000 a tonne is good for mung beans, the lowest they had been in my time was $600 a tonne," he said.

Recent rain has left his summer patch full of moisture and it won't be thirsty anytime before it is harvested in six weeks.

"When the spring mung beans were planted, there was very minimal subsoil moisture and that was a challenge," he said.

"There were a lot of overcast days whereas the mung beans like the sun and it helps them grow.

"In their 100-day growing period, mung beans need 2 ML of water per hectare and we have stopped irrigating since before the rain began."

With heavy rain comes some downfall for the prone-to-environment crop, but effects this wet season were minimal.

Of Mr Salisbury's 400 acres of mung beans, 130 acres received damage.

"Some parts which went underwater might still be harvestable though as they still have some green leaves, we will see what happens," he said.

"But in general, 24 hours underwater and they're dead.

"Mung beans are planted first week in September to the second week in February, so by the time everything dried up, it was too late to replant the damaged parts. If planted later, you are risking frost when it comes May time."

The storm gave other benefits to Mr Salisbury's work looking forward.

"The rain has given a good moisture profile for the next crop as it is full of nutrition and water," he said. "It has developed a nice silt over the top to help with the nutrition."

Mr Salisbury said other assets of his farm business were also doing profitably well at the moment.

"Pig prices have also spiked," he said.

"Sorghum price has decreased though, which makes mung beans more attractive even though sorghum is far easier to grow and requires less insect control.

"Mung beans are a very fast crop and require high-maintenance.

"They also make for a good rotational crop, in winter I plant wheat or might even do chick peas.

"Mixing them up helps with weed control too."


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