Long Bean (Vigna sesquipedalis spp) from Leguminaceae family is a creeping fruity vegetables. It was grown as commercial commodities for local and export market. It is a popular vegetables consumed in Malaysia as daily dishes. Long consumed as Ulam or fried or steamed depending on cooking preference. Longbean believed to be originated from India and it was grown in Asia, East Africa and Central America on Tropical climate with temperature from 20-30 Celsius. Longbean need rainfall pattern between 138-168 mm monthly with pH level on soil between 5.5 to 6.8. I manage to visit many long bean farm during my tenure as Mersing, Segamat and Muar District Agriculture Officer for more than 13 years. There are 5 popular long bean grown in Malaysia from light green, dark green, white seeds, black seed and crunchy varieties. This article i would like to share my experience on long bean knowledge based on my own farming experience for almost 30 years.
In Malaysia , as my observation for Longbean was commercially grown in Johore, Perak and Pahang. In 2006 about 3,319 hectare of longbean was grown (Total Production 45,924 mt) and the area decrease to only 2,820 ha (Production about 38,360 mt) in 2009. According to DOA statistic report, Bentong District in Pahang grow the largest longbean in 2009 (257 ha) followed by Muar Johor (185 ha) and Kuantan Pahang (129 ha) respectively. Recently KNYS No 398 variety was popular in Muar District. Long bean are consumed as fresh vegetable and considered as salad or locally known as "ULAM-ULAMAN". The fresh young longbean eaten with 'sambal belacan' together with rice and others.
As my experience in the land preparation, it started 2 weeks before planting with ploughing activity and preparation of irrigation and drainage system. Liming activity with about 2.5 mt /ha of GML (Ground Mangnsium Limestone) is recommended to increase to pH 5-7. Bed preparation with 1.2m x 25 cm height layered with plastic silvershine and basic manuring with organic manure about 3 - 5 mt /ha. Requirement of Silvershine Plastic about 20 unit/ha and first manuring program with NPK 15:15:15 for about 700 kg/ha before planting. Selected seed (KNY398) direct sowing on the bed (2 seed/hole) and seed requirement about 8 kg/ha. Planting distance 60 cm x 40 cm and 10 days later start preparing the creeping posts. The support system (Trellis) erected using wood post 2.5 m height and 6 cm size connected each other with dawai (Dawai no 10) and strengthened each post at the end.
Weed control using Glufosinate ammonium or manual weeding. Turn on sprinkler system from day 1 to harvesting period according to weather condition. Second manuring program with NPK 12:12:17:2 about 250 kg/ha or 12 gram/tree applied after 28 days. Third manuring program applied 49 days later about the similar quantity with NPK 12:12:17:2. Harvesting started 45 days after planting to approximately 70 days (25 days harvesting period). The harvested fresh long bean cleaned, graded and sent to the middle man or direct to whole-sellers. Local long bean remain fresh for 2-3 days after harvesting without ant coo temperature treatments.
Among popular pests attacked longbeans were Aphids (Aphis craccivora), Bean Fly (Melanagrommyza phaseoli), Pod Borer (Marucca testutalis), Pod Borer (Euchrysops cnejus) - see photo and Thrips (Thrips spp). Use pesticide and manual (sanitation approach) to control pests attack. Recommended insecticides that sprayed such as Diaznon, Dimehhoate, Deltramethrin, Diafenthiuron and cypermethrin. Diseases for longbean are Antracnose (Collectotricum lindemuthianum) that attacked leaf and fruit and controlled with carbendezim or copper oxychloride. Other disease was Leaf spot (Cercospora canecens), Rust (Uromyces appendiculates) , Leaf mozaic (Mozaic virus) and Root Rot (Rhizoctonia solani). Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) was practices by commercial farmers to ensure high quality, safe and free from chemical residue introduced by DOA.
Long bean potential yield between 14 - 16 mt per hectare. From my observation and field experience at Muar District in Johor, the average production of local long bean about 15 mt per hectare. With ex-farm price for RM 0.80/kg, the farmers able to gain a total gross farm income from RM 12,000.00 per hectare. From the record keeping activities kept by my farmers shows that the total cost of production recorded at RM 7,687.90/ha and he gain the net profit about RM 4,312.10/ha. Cost of production per kilogram of long-beans in Muar District is RM 0.51 and the farmers will get back RM 1.56 for every RM 1.00 spent on long bean growing. The market demand for long bean are quite stable all year round.
The need of introducing new varieties with high productivity and beat appearance are needed in future. The local researchers must start to create a new long bean by plant breeding and produce our local own seeds. Long beans are among less problem commodity to grow in Malaysia in future and the processing activity for canned long beans are the new potential area. I hope this article able to provide to the readers the status and technology of growing long bean in Malaysia.