Growers’ e-bulletin – September 18, 2017


18 September, 2017

Growers needed for new benchmarking
See your levies at work
New QBAN project
Tweed elects new executive
Reef Alliance Awards
MIP info sessions
North Queensland WH&S workshops
Busy times for banana marketing
Best wishes to Paula Doran
Banana Mag online

Latest banana benchmarking 

A new round of benchmarking in the Australian banana industry – commissioned by Hort Innovation – has begun.

Pinnacle Agribusiness (formerly CDI Pinnacle Management) has previously completed four years of benchmarking data collection and reporting in the banana industry.

Ninety banana growers participated in previous benchmarking rounds and received personalised comparative reports for each year they contributed data over three years to 2013.

The two biggest costs for the participants were labour and contracting (39 per cent of all costs) and freight (17 per cent). Packaging made up 11 per cent of costs and farm inputs (chemicals, fertilizers, bunch bags etc) accounted for 10 per cent.

The next round of benchmarking will specifically include analysis of capital investment made on farm biosecurity and the impact of this ‘new order’ on operating costs and returns.

It will also identify trends and issues on how farm biosecurity is being implemented and managed and gather feedback and ideas that participants have about how to continuously improve this crucial aspect of the industry.

Data collection will be taken from the past two financial years, ending June 30, 2017.

Howard Hall from Pinnacle Agribusiness has begun contacting and visiting growers to participate in the new data collection. If you would like to be involved please call Howard on 0412 674083 or email

New HORTLINK – See your levies at work

Don’t miss the latest edition of Hort Innovation’s Hortlink, which provides an update on all new, current and recently completed levy-funded activity in each levy industry.

Check out the banana section at

Hortlink includes easy-to-read project updates, results and resources you can use in your business, plus case studies, industry contacts and more.

You can choose to browse the whole banana snapshot or use the interactive project list to jump straight to the information you want. Also, look out for new ‘ACT NOW’ tags to easily identify project resources and information you can make use of straight away.

Stay in the loop with your levy by becoming a member of Hort Innovation, the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture. Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a member, but signing up is free at

New QBAN project

ABGC and The Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) have formed a partnership and are about to start a new project to transition the existing Quality Approved Banana Nursery (QBAN) Scheme from a government run scheme to an industry run scheme.

The new scheme will  target priority disease such as Panama TR4, Banana Bunchy Top Virus and will provide a superior disease-tested product that is the preferred, cost-effective source of planting matial. This should assist banana growers to enhance their on-farm biosecurity and allow them to meet their General Biosecurity Obligation under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

The scheme will cover tissue culture laboratories and grow out production nurseries but will also investigate the feasibility for clean mother blocks and in-ground production nurseries for the supply of clean bits and suckers.

NGIA will administer the new scheme including the auditing and accrediting of the production nurseries and laboratories to the NIASA/BioSecure HACCP standards.

ABGC will provide governance/ oversight and will issue QBAN Certificates, set the criteria to achieve QBAN and in partnership with NGIA, monitor review and update the scheme as required. This will be done in consultation with the relevant technical experts and industry stakeholders.

ABGC will also promote which businesses have QBAN certification as preferred planting material suppliers.

The development and implementation of the new scheme is expected to take around 2 years and is funded through Hort Innovation Australia project BA14014 Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 4 Research Program.

New Tweed Executive elected

The Tweed Brunswick Banana Growers’ Association elected a new executive during their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, September 6.

Twenty two growers attended the meeting and voted on a new committee. They are;

– President – Colin Singh
– Vice-president – Ethan McKeever
– Secretary – Don Bentley
– Treasurer – Zac McKeever

The new committee thanked the departing executive David Perry, Geraldine O’Flynn and Andy Everest for their significant contribution to the Tweed BGA and for keeping it running for so many years. The executive noted that it was great to see a lot of new and young growers at the meeting, stepping up to keep the BGA running.

The next meeting of the BGA will be at 6pm on November 25, to finalise the Murwillumbah Show arrangements.

Nominations needed for champions of the reef!

Nominations are open for the 2017 Reef Alliance Awards which celebrates primary producers and enterprises for their outstanding efforts to enhance land management practices which improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

Banana growers who have participated in the Australian Government Reef Program and/or Reef Trust Initiative are encouraged to nominate before the closing date Friday, September 29, 2017.

The winner of each category (or their representative) will be required to attend the Reef Awards Dinner in Townsville on Wednesday, November 22, in conjunction with the Queensland Government’s Annual GBR Synthesis Forum. Travel costs for each of the winners plus one accompanying partner each will be met.

For further information on the awards, including nomination criteria, go to

MIP: Game On!

Now that the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (MIP) has been officially launched, the MIP team would like to invite you to an information session and informal celebration as the program moves from “design” to “doing”.

Tully: Friday 29th September, 4pm – 7pm (Tully Mill Rec Hall)
Mourilyan: Friday 6th October, 4pm – 7pm (Australian Sugar Heritage Museum)

From 4-6pm the MIP team will head up an information session to bring everyone up to speed and go through the action plans, and look at what is needed to get cracking. This will be followed by beers, bubbly and nibbles.

For more detail visit the MIP webpage, or RSVP here

WH&S workshop

Attention north Queensland growers: Workplace Essential workshops will be held locally  next month, focussed on workplace health and safety, specifically tailored for farm managers, team leaders and supervisors.

Funded by the Queensland Government and facilitated by the Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN), the full day workshop will include comprehensive information on people management and Workplace Health and Safety laws/regulations, including managing risks and hazards; performance and behaviour management; and how to handle conflict and workplace bullying.

The NQ workshops will be held in Mareeba on Tuesday, 17 October and in South Johnstone on Wednesday, October 18.

More detailed information about what will be covered and the link to register go to

Busy times for Banana Marketing!

It’s been another busy couple of weeks for the Australian Bananas’ marketing team with some major banana promotion and activities.

National Weight Check Day, sponsored by Australian Bananas, was held on Sunday,  September 3. Benny Banana (pictured) proved an absolute hit handing out bananas, with over 6.3 million people reached by the whole campaign.

Keep an eye out this month also, as the national multi-media campaign fully kicks in!

Look out for bananas on buses and in shopping centre, gyms and movie theatres. And, don’t forget to tune into your favourite television programs to see the 15 second banana ads that will be aired on free to air and digital screens next week. The TV highlights are;


SYD: Seven News – Sun
The Block – Wed
Doctor Doctor – Thurs

MEL: First Dates Australia – Tue
The Block – Wed
Nine News – Fri
BRI: Seven News – Tue
A Current Affair – Wed
Have You Been Paying Attention – Mon

ADL: Australian Survivor – Tue
A Current Affair – Fri
Doctor Doctor – Thur

PER: Seven News – Fri
The Block – Tue
The Bachelorette – Wed


NNSW: This Time Next Year – Mon
Seven News – Fri
Home and Away – Thurs

SNSW: The Block – Sun  
First Dates – Tue
800 Words – Tue

VIC: The Block – Mon
800 words – Tue
Nine News – Tue

QLD: Sunday Night – Sun
The Block – Wed
Australian Survivor – Sun

WA: The Project – Sun
Home and Away – Tue
Nine News – Fri

Farewell and best wishes to Paula Doran

The ABGC’s Communications Manager Paula Doran will be leaving the ABGC at the end of this month, after accepting a position at a Brisbane PR firm.

The ABGC would like to sincerely thank Paula for her significant contribution during her time with the council – including steering the organising committee for this year’s Congress – and wish her all the best with her future endeavours.

Senior Communications officer Sonia Campbell has been appointed to the role of Communications Manager, and will remain based at South Johnstone. The ABGC has advertised for a less senior Communications officer, to be based in Brisbane.

Australian Banana Magazine

By now you should have received your copy of the latest Australian Banana Magazine.

If not, it is now uploaded online at
If you are not on the magazine mailing list, but would like to be, please contact the ABGC head office by emailing

Hort Innovation


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.