“In recent years we have uncovered, and are now exploiting, new sources of bacterial resistance available in black gram germplasm.”
Rod’s harvester cuts each plant off 5 cm above ground level using individual row rotary cutters on skids. This allows the front to follow the lay of the land, even on contour banks and through gullies, while avoiding picking up any dirt. The whole plant is taken into the harvester on rubber alligator belts with no shattering of the pods in front of the header.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries senior research scientist, Col Douglas said black gram varieties have more flowering sites than green mungbean varieties and they set pods from very low on the plant to the top. This means the crops require very thorough scouting, right to the base of the plants, to protect pods, flowers and buds from insect damage, all at the same time.
Australian Mungbean Association
23 October, 2018
“Compared to green mungbean, black gram requires more intense management to meet the requirements of a premium, niche market,” he said. “Onyx-AU has delivered increased resilience and productivity for experienced black gram growers like the Fergusons.”
Norwin farmer Rod Ferguson was very pleased with the performance of the newly released Onyx-AU black gram variety.
Planted in the first week of January, 2018 at a rate of 20 kg/ha and inoculated with rhizobia in a peat slurry, Rod was pleased with the 90 per cent germination of Onyx-AU. With about 60 mm of in-crop rain, 40 kg/ha of Starter Z fertiliser and two scud sprays for mirids, both crops performed well. The only set-back was a high level of tan spot infection.
“Milkweed species serve as nectar sources for adult monarchs and are the only plants monarch caterpillars feed on, making the roadside addition of the plant beneficial for every life stage of monarchs,” said John Cleckler, the Caltrans Liaison for the Service’s Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. It was Cleckler that first approached Caltrans with the idea to add native milkweed to roadside landscaping. Currently Caltrans uses a process known as hydroseeding to establish native plants over barren land that has been disturbed by construction.
Hydroseeding is a planting process that uses hoses to spray a slurry of seeds and mulch to cover bare ground, ultimately providing both aesthetic value and erosion control along roadsides. Caltrans has a standard hydroseeding mix that consists of native plants for each region, many native plants are drought tolerant and including them in landscaping avoids the need to water along roads. The milkweed added to the Caltrans hydroseeding mix is also a local variety that is well-adapted to the dry California climate, thus no additional water will be needed for the roadside areas.
Bay area highways connect thousands of vehicles to their destinations daily and thanks to a new partnership between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service these same roadways will soon provide habitat for monarch butterflies. Caltrans District 4, which services Bay Area counties including Contra Costa, Napa, San Francisco and Sonoma, will be adding milkweed seeds to some roadside landscaping areas.
Native milkweed seed is readily available and its inclusion in restoration programs is unlikely to result in additional costs to the transportation department or taxpayers and it will help create habitat for the monarch butterfly.
California roadsides can provide sufficient habitat for butterflies as the roadsides are usually surrounded by low vegetation and receive a lot of sun making them ideal for monarch habitat. “Incorporating milkweed into the seed mix for the project on Highway 121 was straightforward, doing this in the future will be an easy way for us to partner with the Service in fulfilling our obligations in helping to recover and prevent the listing of imperiled species,” said Caltrans Biologist Lindsay Vivian.