Growers’ e-bulletin – 21 April 2017

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21 April, 2017

Banana supply strong despite cyclone damage

Banana growers in northern New South Wales continue to rebuild and recover from severe flooding and wind damage caused by ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie.

The majority of impact to the industry was felt in the Tweed, Brunswick and Ballina regions of coastal NSW.

There was also damage to southern Queensland banana crops, from Bundaberg to the border.

NSW Banana Industry Development Officer Matt Weinert has done a great job ringing affected growers in northern NSW and collecting damage assessment data.

The ABGC is confident that Matt and the NSW Department of Primary Industries have put forward a strong case on which the Government should  announce cash grants (i.e. Category C assistance) for those growers worst affected in NSW, like they have  in Queensland.

As at 21 April, NSW banana growers worst affected only have access to Category B natural disaster funding, which means access to concessional interest rate loans of up to $130,000 and freight subsidies.

In Queensland, Category C natural disaster funding was announced for eight regional Shires and part Shires, from the Whitsundays to the Gold Coast, offering eligible primary producers the chance to apply for cash grants of up to $25,000.  Growers can check their eligibility for this funding by calling the Queensland Government hotline 1800 623 946.
Growers in NSW can visit the DPI’s website CLICK HERE for information on a range of disaster related topics.

They can also contact DPI Rural Resilience Officers who can provide information on support available for farming families recovering from recent flood damage. These are;

  • Jen Haberecht – Coffs Harbour – 0400 160 287
  • Danny Byrnes – Tweed – 0400 374 258

Grants closing soon for 2016 flood victims

On the subject of disaster relief, NSW banana growers are reminded that they have until May 8, 2017 to apply for natural disaster recovery grants available for primary producers impacted by the east coast storms and floods, which struck in June last year.
Banana producers eligible for relief grants include those in the Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Nambucca and Tweed regions.

Information on the grants can be found HERE 

Panama Open Day

All growers are invited to attend a Panama R & D Open Day at the DAF South Johnstone Research station on Friday, May 12.

This interactive event will include a tour of the banana paddock at the research station to see; tolerant varieties and grasp the strategies being taken to develop them, disinfectant demonstrations, soil health practices, options for remote and proximal sensing and understanding the effect of urea in the destruction process.

The half-day event will be held from 8:30am to 12:30pm, followed by lunch. For catering purposes and since strict on-farm biosecurity practices will be implemented to enter the paddock, please RSVP with your shoe size to Tegan Kukulies on 0459 846 053 or

Banana production this year 

Hort Innovation has supplied ABGC with its banana levy receipts so far in 2016/17 compared to last year.

The trend line in the graph (below) indicates higher production compared to last year, to end of March.

However, growers should note that even if production was consistent from month to month (which of course it isn’t), the Government’s monthly receipts from agents for the growers’ levy are not consistent each month.

Congress ticket sales!

Tickets are selling fast for the Australian Banana Industry Congress to be held in Sydney this June.

The event will kick off with welcome drinks and a State of Origin night at the Sheraton on the Park, on Wednesday, June 21. Please join us to celebrate the industry and enjoy hospitality from both ABGC and key sponsors.

For full details of the incredible event we’ve planned for you go to

Become a Nuffield Scholar

The call is out for the next wave of dynamic primary producers who would like to join the world’s pre-eminent agricultural study program and become a 2018 Nuffield Scholar.

Nuffield Scholarships are among the most prestigious research, leadership and development programs offered in the Australian agriculture sector.

Scholars gain significant insight into global agriculture practices and have influenced industry and community change, boosted agricultural productivity, and provided new industries and economic development to rural communities Australia-wide.

Successful 2018 applicants will commence their program at the 2018 Contemporary Scholars Conference in the Netherlands next March. They will then embark on a 16-week program, conducted over a two-year period.

The Scholarships are open to Australians aged between 28 – 45 who are engaged in farming or fishing as an owner, manager or active member of a farming business. The full list of available scholarships is available online at

Wet tropics workshop

Growers are invited to attend two workshops next week designed to continue the development of the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (WTMIP).

The WTMIP aims to reduce nutrient and chemical run-off onto the Great Barrier Reef and is being co-ordinated by Terrain NRM on behalf of the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership, Australian Banana Growers Council, local government, community groups, consultants, investors and researchers.

Growers who attended two previous workshops held at Tully and Innisfail earlier this month, generated more than 500 reef water quality ideas.

The project is now inviting the community to ‘solutions workshops’ to see how these ideas have come together and give growers the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed WTMIP design and locations.

The previous workshops were well attended by community members and cane growers, so it is important that banana growers make some time to consider the proposals and how they might work in the banana industry.

The next workshops will be held at Australian Sugar Heritage Museum, Mourilyan, on April 27 from 9am-1pm and at the Tully Mill Recreation Hall, Tully, on April 28 from 10am-3pm. RVSP asap to

Calling young innovators

Budding young innovators are being urged to sign up for an intensive accelerated development program, designed for young people working in primary producer sectors, such as horticulture.

The 12-month, Young Food Innovators program, aims to help participants develop new opportunities in domestic or export markets, implement innovative new business models and adopt leading edge technologies within their business.

The program is aimed at future-focused, open-minded young producers and rural professionals, learning to use the latest innovation tools to develop a ‘whole-of-chain’ (paddock to plate) approach to their operations.

Applications close next Friday (April 28). Participants will be provided with full scholarships to cover tuition and program fees. However, they will need to pay for travel and accommodation (approx $7000) to attend four residential workshops. For more information CLICK HERE.

Hort opportunties

If you are interested in keeping up to date with projects that are being tendered by Hort Innovation (HIA), join the HIA service delivery partner mailing list or visit their website by clicking the link HERE .

The site advertises opportunities available to become a delivery partner on research, development and marketing projects for Australian horticulture.

You can join the mailing list and receive email notifications by registering at HIA’sdelivery partner registration form.

The relevant documentation for each opportunity is also available on

Banana Magazine

Keep an eye on your mailboxes next week for the latest edition of the Australian Banana Magazine!

The April edition is jam packed full of the latest industry information and activities, including Congress 2017, Innisfail’s World Record banana split and much, much more!

Tariff Trial

Queensland farmers are being encouraged to sign up to the Agricultural Tariff Trial to get a better understanding of their electricity usage and to save money on their electricity bill.  Any farmers located in the Ergon Energy area can join the trial with registrations closing Tuesday, May 2.

The trial will give farmers the chance to test off-peak and demand based electricity tariffs under the Business Support Package.

Details/registration here

This e-bulletin is produced by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council as a part of the Communications Project for the Banana Industry funded by HIA Ltd using the banana industry R&D levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.

Contact Details
It is important that ABGC is advised if you know of growers who are not receiving these e-bulletins or the Australian Banana magazine. We may have out of date email or postal addresses for these growers.Please email any updated contact details to:

Also, it is important for membership purposes that growers advise ABGC if they change trading name or their agent (wholesaler) or add one, and also to let their agent know.