Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Pulse breeding advances
GROUNDCOVER 15 Issue 125 | Nov -- Dec 2016 | PULSE BREEDING ADVANCES PULSE CHECK THE RISE AND RISE OF MUNGBEANS By Sarah Clarry n Pulses are increasing in popularity with consumers and growers alike, and none more so than mungbeans. Taking about 100 days from sowing to harvest, mungbeans are a quick cash crop that fits nicely into the rotation for northern growers. Paul McIntosh from Pulse Australia says much of the credit for the mungbean's rise to prominence sits with breeders and the long-term investments by the Australian Mungbean Association (AMA). "The GRDC-supported National Mungbean Improvement Program led by Col Douglas and his team from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have done extremely well. Their efforts have really boosted yields and quality," Mr McIntosh says. "In some previous years, mungbeans were good dollars per tonne, however yields and quality were invariably poor. More recently, the dollars and the yields have been present, and these improved financial returns to the grower have all happened in the past eight to 10 years." Growers are also being supported by mungbean agronomy training and accreditation courses. 'HERO' VARIETIES The focus of the mungbean breeding program has been plants with more flowers and more pods. They have been bred taller and carry their pods higher in the canopy, resulting in greater harvestability and a higher harvest index. They are also better at hanging onto their pods and much less prone to shattering than older varieties. Mr McIntosh says that two new varieties, Jade-AUA and CrystalA, have really "kicked goals" for the industry. Jade-AUA (released in 2013) is a large-seeded bright green mungbean broadly adapted to Australia's northern regions. It is suitable for both spring planting (September/early October) and as a conventional summer crop (sown December/January). It was released with yields of up to 12 per cent higher than CrystalA across all regions of central and southern Queensland and PHOTO: PULSE AUSTRALIA northern NSW. It is highly regarded by the market for its grain quality. Jade-AUA has the best available combined suite of resistance to powdery mildew, and the breeding team is working on increasing its tan spot and halo blight resistance ratings to be equivalent to or higher than that of other varieties. CrystalA (released in 2008) is a broadly adapted large-seeded bright green mungbean. It is well suited to high-yielding situations where lodging can be a major constraint to yield, such as in irrigated crops. It holds its pods higher on the plant, helping to increase harvestability. FUTURE The AMA has set a goal to increase production to an average of 170,000t per annum over the coming five years via the National Mungbean Improvement Program (NMIP), in partnership with Queensland DAF and the GRDC. NMIP takes a multifaceted approach via: n increased genetic diversity; n understanding disease resistance and building more resilient varieties; n squeezing in more generations per year to reduce the time taken to develop new varieties; and n incorporating proven genomic KEY POINTS n A record 125,000ha of mungbeans were planted in 2015-16 n Australian exports were worth $180 million in 2016 n Australia exports the highest quality large- seeded shiny green type mungbeans to Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East technologies from other successful breeding programs such as sorghum and winter cereals. Mr McIntosh says that with an increased focus on disease-resistance breeding efforts, combined with applying sustainable agronomy packages and decreased prices in other grain commodities, there is no reason why mungbeans should not continue their meteoric rise. "We are getting a lot of grower interest from north to south and right out to the coastal areas," he says. "There's no doubt they are becoming a mainstream crop." o GRDC Reserach Codes DAQ00172, ICY78 More information: Paul McIntosh, 0429 566 198, email@example.com Mungbeans are a valuable summer crop as they are relatively drought tolerant, quick maturing and require minimal fertiliser input. Record prices in recent years have further increased their appeal to growers.
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