Growers’ e-bulletin – May 5, 2017

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5 May 2017

Reserve your gumboots for Panama Open Day

With only one week until the DAF South Johnstone Research Station opens its doors to showcase the latest Panama R & D, those planning to attend are urged to RSVP, with your shoe size.

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

Strict on-farm biosecurity procedures will be in place and all attendees will therefore be supplied with new gumboots.

The half-day event will be held on Friday, May 12 from 8:30am to 12:30pm, followed by lunch.

RSVP with your shoe size to Tegan Kukulies on 0459 846 053 or email

Bacterial rot may mask Panama TR4

Biosecurity Queensland is reminding growers that bacterial rot – otherwise known as Erwinia – may mask symptoms of Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4).

Panama TR4 Program Senior Plant Pathologist, Wayne O’Neill, based at the Ecosciences Precinct laboratory, has reported that almost a third of plants that tested positive for Panama TR4 from the infested property at Tully, also had symptoms of bacterial corm rot or other bacterial rots.

If you would like to know more, subscribe to the Panama TR4 Program Update by contacting Moira Sultana via email or by phoning 4091 8150.

Wash-down designs published

Wash-down designs to combat Panama TR4 will soon be mailed out to all Far North Queensland growers.

Cleaning, washing and decontaminating vehicles, machinery and equipment is important for controlling the spread of the disease.

If your contact details have changed in the last two years, or you’d like to be added to Biosecurity Queensland’s mailing list, complete their short survey via the link

Water quality workshops

Actions, locations and people are the three keys to the success of the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project and were the focus of workshops last week in Mourilyan and Tully.

Farmers, scientists and community members came together to help finalise the project design, and learn how their 550 reef water quality ideas have been grouped under six themes to improve water quality and contribute to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Of special interest to all workshop goers were farm scale real-time water quality monitoring, catchment repair and treatment systems, whole-farm extension, and innovative financing that could provide farmers with ongoing income for environmental results. These activities have never been delivered in a whole of catchment approach before.

The project is funded by the Queensland Government. Feedback on the draft design is open to the community until 5pm on 7 May.

Click on to access the information papers and feedback form.

Reef pollution minimum standards

In response to recommendations from the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce, the Queensland Government has requested that the Office of the GBR develop proposed minimum standards, targeting nutrient and sediment pollution, for all key industries in all reef catchments. These include; agriculture (bananas, cane, grazing, horticulture and grains), urban development and industrial activities.

The document is intended to support initial consultation with stakeholders and outlines some options for possible regulatory minimum standards, to reduce nutrient and sediment losses from banana farms in reef catchments.

For more information and to make comment contact Robert Mayers on 0447 000 203 or email

Duranbah field day

The Sub-Tropical Variety field day will be held at the Duranbah field site at Andersons Road, Duranbah, on Thursday May 25, starting at 10am.

Growers are invited to come and view the three ‘best bet’ varieties from the recently completed Banana Plant Protection Project. These varieties will now be grown in semi-commercial plantings to develop growing, ripening and handling recommendations, as well as undergo consumer acceptance testing.

Staff from the Rural Counselling Service will also be on hand at the field day to advise growers about ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie recovery efforts and assist with disaster grant applications.

Morning tea and lunch will be provided. For catering purposes it is important to RSVP to Matt Weinert via email or call 0438 644 136. Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and Nambucca growers should contact Wally Gately on 0419 660 175, as the Coffs BGA will be organising a bus or car-pooling.

Agriculture match making

An agricultural speed dating forum in Babinda this week was all about matching the right idea with the right advice.

Organiser Fiona George, Terrain’s Regional Landcare Facilitator, said the event was part of an innovation strategy to link technical advisors and mentors with farmers who have a good idea they want to get off the ground.

“It’s all about connecting people. Farmers and landholders often say they don’t know where to get information, and a lot of technical people say they’ve got all of this info, but don’t know how to get it out there. It’s a bit experimental, but taking a speed dating approach to filling this gap is a fun way of linking people in with support and thrashing out ideas together,” Ms George said.

She said an added benefit was being able to provide farmers with a $1000 subsidy to engage an advisor or mentor to help with their good idea.

Big savings for Howe Farms

QFF Energy Savers has produced a video case study on Howe Farms.

The farm is on track to save 45% on their power bill for one of their pump stations, with a new variable speed drive and a tariff change recommended in the Energy Savers’ audit.
To view the video click on the link;

Other general and useful energy saver information is also available on this link;

Congress fast approaching

Excitement is building for the Australian Banana Industry Congress to be held in Sydney this June.

Registrations have been coming in strong, with the event kicking off with welcome drinks and a State of Origin night at the Sheraton on the Park on Wednesday, June 21.

If you are yet to register, please think about joining us to celebrate the industry and enjoy the exciting line up of special guest speakers and presenters over the three-day event.

For full details go to

Tune in for banana ads

Keep an eye on your favourite TV programs over the next week for the final run of banana ads as part of Australian Bananas’ national advertising campaign.

Some of the programs to look out for are listed below. For more information contact Elisa King at or phone 0403 378 888.

Programs include:

* Sunday 2000 2100 – House Rules 
* Wednesday 1930 2030 The Last Resort – Launch Episode 
* Sunday 1900 2000 Masterchef
* Tuesday 1830 1930 The Project

* Wednesday 1800 1900 Nine News 
* Thursday 1930 2130 Masterchef 
* Friday 2130 Graham Norton
* Thursday – 2100 2200 Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares

* Wednesday 2030 2130 Aussie Property Flippers 
* Friday 2200 – 2400 Lethal Weapon – about to be swapped for Seven News. 
* Thursday 1830 1930 The Project

* Wednesday – Aussie Property Flippers 2030 2130 
* Tuesday – Love Child T2030 2130 
* Saturday – The Voice 1900 2100 
* Wednesday The Project 1830 1930 
* Thursday The Project 1830 1930

* Wednesday – Aussie Property Flippers 2030 2130 
* Tuesday – Nine News 1800 1900
* Tuesday – Love Child – 2030 2130
* Wednesday – 1930 2030 – The Last Resort – Launch Episode
* Friday – 1830 1930 –The Project


* Wednesday – Home and Away – 1900 1930 
* Monday – The Project – 1830 1930 
* Tuesday – The Project – 1830 1930 
* Wednesday – Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares – 1900 1930

* Sunday – The Voice – 1900 2000
* Monday – A Current Affair – 1900 1930  
* Wednesday –Masterchef – 1930 2030

* Monday – Nine News – 1800 1900 
* Wednesday – Masterchef – 1930 2030
* Tuesday – Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares – 2130 2230

* Wednesday – 1900 1930 – A Current Addiar 
* Saturday – 1930 2030 – Nine News
* Wednesday – 1930 2030 – Masterchef  
* Friday – The Living Room – 1930 2030

* Monday – 1830 1930 – The Project 
* Monday – 1930 2030 – Masterchef Australia 
* Friday – 1800 1830 – Family Feud 
* Friday – 1930 2030 – The Living Room

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.