Growers’ e-bulletin – October 16, 2017


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16 October, 2017


Banana TV campaign success!
New Lady Finger databar
Tractor seat belt warning
New TR4 shed posters
More reef grants
New banana women’s network
Next Gen NT tour
Ergon remote meter rollout
Tweed BGA meeting
Feedback sought on BQ survey
Calls for flood victim stories
Quad bike survey

TV advertising success 

The latest burst of TV activity from Australian Bananas ended on September 30 and reached its intended targets!

The goal of the five week campaign was to reach 40-45% of people aged 25-49 and for them to see the Australian Bananas TV commercial at least twice. This target was reached in all metro and regional markets.

The campaign ran during an important period for each of the networks, with a range of key programming available on Seven, Nine and Ten to take advantage of.

The final weeks of the Bachelor, and launch of the Bachelorette on the Ten Network propelled the campaign to great heights, with Australian Bananas featuring in both programs across multiple markets, as well as consistently rating programs The Project and Have You Been Paying Attention.

Channel 9’s The Block returned this quarter and continued to be a ratings juggernaut for the Nine Network, consistently reaching one million people each night. Australian Bananas appeared in The Block over 12 times across a number of regional and metro markets.

The rest of the campaign is still powering on which includes Out of Home (shopping centre panels, bus panels, gym and cinema) and Digital advertising.

Please refer to this month’s Cassowary Coast report for more details or contact Elisa King at or phone 0403 378 888.

Lady Finger databar

As previously foreshadowed in the banana monthly Cassowary Coast update, an industry-wide sticker/databar has been designed to be placed on Lady Finger bananas.

The purpose is to ensure Lady Finger bananas are scanned correctly at the register, which in turn ensures retailers are replenishing banana stock correctly.

The sticker / databar includes the Australian bananas logo, the databar for scanning (each databar will be exclusive to a grower/packing shed), the PLU 4233 for cash register staff to type in if the databar doesn’t scan and the grower name, which adds transparency and traceability.

Databars are being standardized across other industries, and PMA A-NZ has recently instigated discussions with Australian and New Zealand retailers looking at databar technology and how it might be applied for fresh produce.

One of the key focuses of the discussion has been looking at what a common set of protocols for databar in Australia and New Zealand might look like. The discussions to date have been positive and PMA A-NZ expect to open up the results of the retailer discussions for wider industry consideration in the near future.

Tractor seatbelt warning

The Department of Workplace Health and Safety has issued a seat belt warning after a Queensland banana grower was recently fined $1000 over a tractor accident involving an international worker.

According to the Department, in September 2015, the backpacker was driving the tractor when it veered off a farm road, into a ditch. He was thrown from the machine and sustained minor injuries.

The tractor had been fitted with a roll-over protective structure, but no seat belt.

Appearing in court recently, the banana business and the tractor supply company both pleaded guilty to breaching their obligations under work health and safety laws.

The banana farm operator was fined $1000 and the mobile plant supplier was fined $2000. No convictions were recorded.

The magistrate took into account that the lack of a seat belt may have been an oversight and the company promptly fitted seat belts to all tractors within days.

Life cycle of TR4 shed poster

To increase the awareness and understanding of Panama Tropical Race 4, the Panama TR4 Program has developed a life cycle poster of the disease.

The shed poster was developed in consultation with leading Banana Fusarium Wilt experts illustrating how the disease infects a banana plant, produces spores, the different stages of plant death and how it continues to survive after the death of the plant.

The shed poster is A1 size and made from durable, waterproof and long lasting material, which is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

The poster will be distributed free to all banana growers on request. Please contact Rachel Densmore with your name and postal address via email or by phone on (07) 4091 8140.

Do you want to improve your environmental footprint?

Applications for incentive grant funding is now open through the Reef Alliance Program to banana growers in north Queensland to assist in the improvement of on-farm sediment and nutrient farming practices. Get in quick as there is a limited amount of funds!

Practices that are eligible for funding include:

* Sediment management
– Farm layout mapping with soil conservation plan, roads, headlands
– Equipment to better maintain ground cover
– Technology to enable the use of reduced tillage and permanent beds
– Installation of sediment trapping structures
– Earth works to slow the movement of surface water such as laser levelling, contouring or diversion banks

* Nutrient management
– Installation of a fertigation system (manual or automated)
– Addition of automation to an existing fertigation system
– Precision equipment for targeted nutrient application to the bed area

To be eligible for incentive grant funding growers need to have completed their Banana Environmental BMP. Applications for incentive grants close on 30 November 2017. For more info please contact Robert or Sarah on (07) 4015 2797.

The Reef Alliance Program is a partnership between agricultural industry, regional NRM and facilitated by Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF), with a common goal of securing the future health of the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef Alliance Program is funded by the Australian Government and delivered through the Reef Trust.

Women’s Banana Network

ABGC is launching the Banana Women’s Network which will provide a way for women in the industry to share ideas and experiences with people who understand the industry while having a bit of fun. 
The network aims to support and promote the important role that women play within the industry – ensuring its continued profitability and success – by recognising their significant contribution and providing them with a platform to extend their personal and professional connections. 
The network has received support from a pilot group of women.  At this stage, the details of the network are being finalised, but the first meeting is intended to be held at the end of October.

The proposed structure of the network is to have a get-together roughly three times per year and to feature guest speakers, training and cover any issues identified by the group.

Any women interested in being part of a network is urged to join our Banana Women’s Network private Facebook group.  If you would like to keep up-to-date with helpful information, events, and stay connected with other women in the industry, please contact Sarah Simpson ( or Dale Bennett ( to join the group.

Next Gen NT tour

A group of enthusiastic, young growers recently took part in a three-day visit to the Northern Territory, as part of a fact-finding Next Gen tour.

Participants have reported gaining a host of knowledge from the trip, which included a tour of the Panama disease Tropical Race 4 variety trial site and the opportunity to network at the Nuffield Australia National Conference in Darwin.

Ergon remote meter program

Ergon Energy continues to roll out its program to install remotely-read electricity meters on all eligible North Queensland banana farms by the end of the year.

The project gained widespread media coverage last week. Hear Wangan banana grower Gavin Eilers talking about the scheme on the ABC’s Queensland Country Hour on the link below.

If you are a grower in the Innisfail/Tully region and you have not been contacted about moving across to the remote meters, you are urged to contact Ergon on 13 74 66 during business hours.

Tweed BGA meeting

The next meeting of the Tweed Banana Growers’ Association will be held on October 25.

The meeting will kick off at 6pm at the Murwillumbah Golf Club and will include discussion to finalise the Murwillumbah Show arrangements.

Grower feedback sought

Biosecurity Queensland is seeking feedback from the banana industry in regards to the Panama TR4 Program’s communication activities as part of an independent evaluation that will assist in future engagement.

Activities to help communicate information to growers, other farmers, contractors and stakeholders in the region included coverage in the media and social media, email bulletins, website activity, an advertising campaign and community and stakeholder engagement activities.

A variety of resources for growers as part of the Panama TR4 Grower Kit have also been developed and distributed. Feedback from the evaluation will guide the Program’s future activities to ensure that information is relevant and meeting the needs of industry.

All growers will receive an email soon asking them to take part in the evaluation survey which should take just ten minutes to complete. All information collected is confidential and securely stored.

For further information contact Panama TR4 program communication and engagement manager Simone Newman-Webster on 4091 8159.

Flood victim survey

Residents of the NSW Northern Rivers community, including farmers, rural landholders and businesses, are being asked to share their flood stories, following heavy rain and flooding in March/April this year.

Six months on, the University Centre for Rural Health want to know how people affected by the flooding have recovered from the disaster, as well as any ongoing issues.

The questionnaire can be found online at and is for anyone 16 years and over.

Quad bike market research

Two years after launching its public awareness campaign about quad bike safety – Ride ready – the government is now looking for your feedback.

More than 70 people have been killed on quad bikes in Queensland since 2001 and the Ride ready campaign aimed to reduce future tolls.

Independent research company Kantar Public is currently conducting a survey to gauge opinion of the campaign. To participate in the confidential on-line survey go to Ride ready –

For further information contact Luke Rogers on 07 3011 4215 or email:

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.

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.