Agro firm unveils new green gram variety for dry areas

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Green grams are rich in proteins and have enormous health benefits comprising but not limited to fighting of breast cancer, controlling blood pressure, weight control and are diabetic friendly

The Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization (KALRO) has unveiled a new green gram variety called (N26/KVR 26 (KAT/MB26 Katumani mung Bean 26)

The new variety has a determinant growth habit with black pods containing shiny green grains at maturity. This variety matures in 60-65 days with potential yields ranging from 300-1500kg/ha or 520-600kg/acre.

Green grams commonly known as ‘ndengu’ in Swahili are beans belonging to the family of legumes which include kidney beans (madondo) and black beans (njahi) amongst others. Green grams are rich in proteins and have enormous health benefits comprising but not limited to fighting of breast cancer, controlling blood pressure, weight control and are diabetic friendly.

N26 is suited to well- drained sandy loams and because of its earliness it has proved more successful in the drier areas of lower Machakos, Kitui, Mwingi, Tharaka, Mbeere and Makueni Counties. At elevations of more than 1800m above sea level, it has very poor pod set.

The field should be well prepared without big soil clods and have a fine filth. Hoe, oxen and tractor can be used for ploughing. Early planting is recommended but not before 30mm of rainfall is received. Spatial planting is also recommended.

 When using oxen plough for planting, place the seed at the side of the furrow at a seed rate of 10-15kg/ha (4-6kg/acre) and plant at least 2 seeds per hill. The depth of planting should be kept at 4-5cm. The distance between rows should be 45cm and between plants 15cm.

 The first weeding should be done 2 weeks after emergence and the second weeding before flowering. Mung beans do not respond well to nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer application. In most cases it is not necessary to apply them. However, where the soils are highly eroded and very deficient in these nutrients, a basal dose of 10-15kg/ha of nitrogen and 20-25kg/ha of single or triple super phosphate fertilizers may be broadcasted.

 Insect pests of economic importance include thrips, aphids, and pod sucking bugs, apion beetle and bruchids.

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 Chemical Control

Insect pests

i). Thrips - Thiodan, sherpa plus, duduthrin

ii). Aphids - Thiodan, sherpa plus, Karate

iii). Pod sucking bugs - Dimethoate sherpa plus

iv). Apion beetle - Thiodan and Karate

v). Bruchids - Super Actellic

Apply at manufactures’ recommended rates.

Diseases

Diseases include powdery mildew and yellow mosaic virus. Powdery mildew is prevalent during the long rains whereas yellow mosaic occurs in both seasons. Use Benomyl and Copper oxychloride to control the diseases.

 Harvesting

Time of harvesting - Harvest when 95% of the pods have turned black. When pods do not mature at the same time uproot the entire plant and dry in the sun before threshing.

 Storage

The mung beans should be dried well before storage because grains that are not well dried are prone to weevil attack. It is recommended to store the dry in covered tins, drums, pots, sealed containers or bags. When stored in bags, the grain should be protected from weevils. Add ash or neem leaves to the dried grain, or mix with actellic at 50g per 90 kg bag.