Growers’ e-bulletin – November 17, 2017


17 November, 2017


TR4 update
Omethoate permit extension
LNP feral pig funding promise
Marketing: travellers go bananas
Land use in Nambucca Shire
Celebrating AgDay
NSW North Coast storm damage contacts
Reef grants closing soon
Run off research results
Reef Awards finalists
Meet the Mippers

Update on second farm found with TR4 

The results of Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) surveillance done to date on the second infested property in the Tully Valley indicates that Panama Tropical Race 4 is contained within a relatively small area in one part of the property.

There are two distinct areas in close proximity where the disease has been confirmed. At the conclusion of sample diagnosis this farm had a total of 12 plants that were proven to be positive for TR4 (using the Vegetative Compatibility Group test), 11 in the first block of diseased plants and one plant in an adjacent block.

A further 16 samples were taken across the property and returned a negative diagnosis.  Those negative sample results indicate a relatively early detection

BQ’s Panama TR4 Program is undertaking fortnightly surveys of all banana production areas on the property for the early detection of any further instances of the disease.

The farm owners have undertaken a number of steps to control and contain the risk of spread.  This has included the destruction of all bananas in 16 hectares (40 ac) of land, which is over and above the requirements of the Biosecurity Manual and the Notice issued to the property owners. The owners have also fenced off the entire area, as well as the sites around where the diseased plants were found.


Extension to the period of use of Omethoate (Folimat) products

APVMA have extended Permit PER84270 to allow the use of registered Omethoate products (Folimat 800) to 1 December 2018.

The period of retail supply has also been extended to 1 December 2018 for omethoate products manufactured before 31/03/17 as listed in the permit.

Please check the permit for approved labels and uses at the APVMA permits search page here (search for omethoate).

TLNP feral pig funding promise

The Liberal National Party this week committed $3 million over four years, if elected on November 25, to help fund a coordinated feral pig program along the Cassowary Coast.

The ABGC welcomed the announcement, which recognised the significant threat posed to the banana industry by growing pig numbers and their potential to spread Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4).

More details about the announcement and the ABGC’s response can be found here.

Perth travellers go bananas

As part of the Out of Home campaign, Australian Bananas received 4 bonus large format posters.

The image below was taken in Perth – 12,000 people saw the poster during the week it was featured.

This creative was so well received it’s been entered into the OMA Awards for best creative – we’ll find out the results early next year, fingers crossed we win!

Bananas and blueberries in Nambucca Shire

The ABGC recently joined forces with the Australian Macadamia Society and the Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association to raise an objection about the Nambucca Shire Council’s proposed changes to the local land use planning laws.

The proposed change was in response to resident complaints about the increasing number of blueberries being grown in the Shire and the impact that was having on the local environment, the surrounding amenity of neighbours and property values.

The ABGC provided a submission to the Council opposing the proposed changes that would make all horticultural growers obtain Council approval before planting crops on land that was classified as Primary Production (RU1), Rural Landscape (RU2) or Large Lot Residential blocks (RU5).

After a number of debates, the Council has now decided to only require horticulture proposed for land classified as RU5 to be approved by Council. The ABGC will continue to monitor this issue for this and other shire councils.

Free snags, industry showcase to celebrate AgDay

The banana industry is getting behind National Agriculture Day on Tuesday November 21, joining celebrations at Anzac Park in Innisfail.

The ABGC will showcase the great work under way in bananas, alongside representatives from other industries and partners, and Hort Innovation has supplied some merchandise.

As well as good conversation, there’ll be a free sausage sizzle, tea and coffee on offer to mark the occasion.

National Agriculture Day recognises the remarkable contribution the sector makes to Australia as a whole. If you can’t get along to an event, treat yourself to an extra cuppa at morning tea. Find out more at the Facebook event page.

Who you gonna call? NSW North Coast storm damage contacts

If you’ve been hit by storms on the New South Wales North Coast, the Department of Primary Industries is keen to hear from you.

Growers who are currently communicating with their local Industry Development Officer are encouraged to keep doing so to report any damage sustained to bananas, property or infrastructure.

A form is available online to submit reports or help guide those conversations. Support is also available for families recovering from adverse events through the DPI’s Rural Resilience Officers and Rural Support Workers – contact Jen Haberecht on 0400 160 287 or via email.

More information about the range of services available to North Coast growers before, during and after an emergency is available here.

Time running out for reef grants

There’s less than two weeks left to apply for funding to improve on-farm sediment and nutrient farming practices.

The program, funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Reef Trust III, provides grants to banana growers in north Queensland.

The grants are available for a range of practice changes including; farm layout mapping; equipment to better maintain ground cover; installation of sediment trapping structures; earth works to slow the movement of surface water; and the installation of manual or automated fertigation systems.

Funding is limited and applications close on 30 November 2017.

To be eligible for a grant, growers need to have completed their Banana Environmental BMP. For more information, call Robert or Sarah on (07) 4015 2797.

Growers reap rewards of reef work

Three North Queensland banana growers have been named as finalists in the 2017 Reef Alliance Awards.

David Rolfe, from Mena Creek, was named a finalist Reef Nutrient Management category, while Frank and Dianne Sciacca, from the Wet Tropics region, were recognised in the Reef Sustainability category.

Mr Rolfe has introduced fertigation systems that have improved efficiencies and reduced waste on-farm. The Sciaccas founded the Ecoganic farming system which eliminates the use of chemicals that kill living organisms in the soil, including synthetic and/or organic substitutes of insecticides, nematicides and miticides. The ecoganic protocol enables fungicide use to be reduced by 60 – 100%.

Winners will be announced at an event in Townsville on November 22. Good luck!

Less run off gives improved profitability for banana farms

New Queensland Government research shows that banana growers can improve their profitability and, at the same time, reduce the run off of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and total suspended sediment (TSS).

The RP140B Banana BMP Project report presents the methodology and findings of the representative economic study, modelling the economic and water quality implications of BMP adoption.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) publication can be downloaded here.

Meet the Mippers

The Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project welcomes Charles Hammond, Fiona George and Sandra Henrich to the project team.

Fiona and Sandra will be familiar faces to many in the Wet Tropics community – Fiona joins the team as the Basin Coordinator for Tully, Sandra as the Basin Coordinator for Johnstone and Charles as Project Leader.

They’ll be taking part in the AgDay event at Innisfail if you’d like to find out more about their work.

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
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