North Queensland banana growers will be contributing their ideas for an electronic app being developed to further improve best management practices on their farms.
The app will give growers a quicker and easier way to record and manage information about farm practices, such as applications of nutrients and crop care chemicals, that impact on local water-ways and the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.
Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) Project Leader Reef Protection Robert Mayers is leading the app project that is funded by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Robert is asking banana growers to contact him on 0447 000 203 to contribute ideas and to volunteer to trial the first version which is scheduled to be ready for testing by early next year.
Growers will also be asked to contribute ideas for topics to be discussed at farm practice workshops.
“This project is a great opportunity for growers to be involved in developing new technology to make it an even easier to keep track of the key information that will help them further improve their farm’s environmental performance,” Robert said.
“The app can be installed on smart-phones and other devices used by growers when they’re out in the paddocks recording information about farming practices such as fertigation, inter row management, crop care treatments and soil health.
“That information can then be used to support the Bananas Best Management Practices Environmental Guideline which growers are using to assess and continually improve their environmental performance.”
Robert said the improved farming practices would also help growers to increase on-farm biosecurity measures and better safeguard their farms against the banana plant disease Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4).
“TR4 can move in soil and water so reducing soil movement and run-off helps reduce the risk of the disease spreading in our banana growing regions,” Robert said.
Some of the growers’ initial ideas will feature at a Banana Field Day planned for November in North Queensland.