Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries (DAF), Mark Furner, said ‘Opal-AU' is the latest gem from Queensland's globally-recognised mungbean breeding program and will be available for growers to buy in later this year.
DAF principal research scientist for pulse crops, Col Douglas, said the new variety represents the most significant breakthrough in protection against halo blight in large seeded mungbeans.
"Opal-AU has the best protection from this bacterial disease and will significantly lift the productivity and reliability of mungbean in southern production areas where the disease is more prevalent," Douglas said.
"Grain yield was 28 per cent higher than the next best variety in seven years of trials from Southern Queensland to Northern New South Wales. The new variety has good early vigour with agronomy and maturity equivalent to the other large-seeded varieties Crystal and Jade-AU."
Mungbeans are one of Queensland's tropical pulse success stories, worth $100 million each year at the farm gate.
The preferred summer rotation crop in Queensland, 100,000 hectares of mungbeans are planted each year, with prices of about $1000 per tonne and a crop duration of 100 days providing quick cash flow to growers.
Based at the Hermitage Research Facility at Warwick, the Department's mungbean breeding program is a joint investment with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
GRDC Chair John Woods said the development of Opal-AU was an example of yet another successful collaboration between DAF and the GRDC that would benefit grain growers.
"It is imperative that, as an industry, we continue to invest in new varieties that offer our growers the genetic tools they need to combat costly diseases, lift production and drive increased profitability," Woods said.
"The GRDC is committed to working with research partners, such as DAF, to continue to deliver improvements in crop varieties that have a significant positive impact on growers' bottom lines.
"This new variety shows promise as a higher yielding mungbean option with improved resistance to halo blight and I am sure that will appeal to growers."
Seed of Opal-AU will be available through commercial partner the Australian Mungbean Association.