Mungbean [V. radiata (L.) R. Wilczek], a member of the Fabaceae family (also known as the Leguminosae family) along with the common pea, chickpea, soybean, alfalfa, and other crops, is a native of India–Burma (Myanmar) region of Asia and is grown principally for its protein-rich edible seeds for use as food or livestock feed. This plant and its production strategy are very similar to that of soybean. The seeds have potential as human food (cooked beans or sprouts) and livestock feed. The plant is a good nitrogen fixer and can also be used as forage or hay (Oplinger et al., 1990).
Mungbean is one of the most important food legume crops in Asia. It is also gaining importance in other parts of the world such as Australia and Canada. The United States imported 12,731, 13,474, and 13,672 Mg of mungbean during 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively (ERS, 2015). Even though previously limited research has indicated that mungbean has potential as a short-duration summer crop in mid-Atlantic region of the United States (Bhardwaj et al., 1999), only limited information is available about mungbean production in this region.
Vigna species including mungbean have potential for introduction or increased production in the United States and this introduction or expansion of the culture of Vigna species in the United States would create new opportunities and provide alternative crops for American farmers, give American consumers access to new and novel foods, and increase the biodiversity of crops used in American agriculture given that these species are suited for production in many areas with heat and drought stresses too extreme for the successful production of other legume crops (Fery, 2002). In addition, Fery (2002) indicated that all of the economic Vigna species have great potential as a supplemental or alternate source of legume protein for the nation’s food supply.
Mungbean needs 90–120 frost-free days to mature and should have great potential as a short-duration crop for production in rotation with winter wheat. Winter wheat (T. aestivum L.) is a major crop in the mid-Atlantic region. Winter wheat was harvested from ≈277,328, 273,279, and 312,955 ha in four mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia), during 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively (NASS, 2014). In the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, winter wheat is generally harvested in the first week of July and the next crop is planted in about mid-October. This results in short growing period for a double-crop soybean crop. Double-crop soybean tends to yield 10% to 30% less than full-season soybean. Over half of the soybean acres in the mid-Atlantic states are double-cropped after small grains. This information indicates that an opportunity exists to enhance farm economies in the mid-Atlantic region if a successful mungbean crop can be produced in rotation with winter wheat.
Our objectives were to determine if mungbean can be produced as a short-duration summer crop in this region and to characterize effects of cultivars, planting dates, and row spacings on seed yield, seed size, and concentrations of protein, sugars, and oil in mungbean seeds.
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