Mungbean agronomists at the cutting edge

Some 60 private sector agronomists were sweating on rain- and drought-interrupted plantings at the end of November to continue their accreditation to the mungbean industry.

The Australian Mungbean Association and Pulse Australia launched the drive to accredit agronomists to improve the reliability, and overall profitability, of mungbean production across Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The course began with two-day technical workshops in Wee Waa and Dalby, followed by an in-field training session on insect management in early-planted mungbeans.

The main prerequisite for accreditation is the component requiring in-field monitoring and development of best management practice (BMP) in commercial crops.

Queensland Department of Primary Industries specialist mungbean agronomist Mike Lucy said nearly 120 agronomists applied for the 2000-2001 season's 60 available course places — 30 each in Queensland and NSW. Mr Lucy said course organisers conservatively estimate that around 50 per cent of the 2000-2001 mungbean crop would be serviced by private-sector agronomists undertaking the accreditation course.

"Given the current level of interest, that involvement could increase to 75 per cent of total planted area by 2002," Mr Lucy said. "End-of-season assessments and regional debriefmgs will establish a formalised process where all industry sectors will have the opportunity to reassess and redefine BMP for future mungbean production."

A further series of mungbean accreditation workshops is planned for June 2001.

Contact: Mr Mike Lucy 07 4693 1613

Region North