Update from Biosecurity Queensland

How does Biosecurity Queensland work with a farm suspected of Panama TR4?

Biosecurity Queensland’s main focus when working with a farm suspected of Panama TR4 is to work closely with the business owner to meet their biosecurity obligations so their farm is back in business as soon as possible, whilst minimising the risk of the disease being spread off the property.

In close collaboration with the ABGC, Biosecurity Queensland ensures the industry is kept updated on any developments and that information delivered to growers is accurate and timely.

Once there is reasonable belief a farm is suspected of having Panama TR4, the business owner is given a Notice of Panama disease tropical race 4 affected land. This notice details the requirements that need to be met. These are designed to minimise the risk of disease spread.

A small team of Biosecurity Queensland staff visits the business owner to provide practical advice and assistance on how they can best meet the requirements of the notice while getting their farm back in business in the quickest time possible.

A notice may include implementing measures such as:

  • farm and shed zoning protocols
  • fencing and signage
  • decontamination and wash-down facilities
  • the records to be kept by the business
  • how Biosecurity Queensland will monitor the property.

Biosecurity Queensland officers will ensure that vehicles, machinery, equipment and fruit coming off the property are free of soil and plant material. This is to protect the wider industry and contain the disease as much as possible.

Surveillance teams will visit the suspect property to determine the possible extent of the disease. They may visit other properties linked through shared machinery and equipment or planting material. For more information on surveillance refer to Surveillance and testing for Panama disease tropical race 4.

Biosecurity Queensland investigates the potential spread of the disease by tracing possible pathways of disease movement. The business owner completes a tracing survey relating to the movement of any plant material purchased and planted, machinery movement and farm contractors. For more information refer to Frequently Asked Questions.

If Panama TR4 is confirmed on a property, a destruction protocol for infected plants is carried out. Destruction is carried out under the supervision of Biosecurity Queensland officers and adheres to strict biosecurity measures to ensure the disease is not spread any further on the farm or is a threat to the wider industry.

Biosecurity Queensland officers continue to work with the business owner to meet their ongoing biosecurity obligations and to offer advice and support whenever necessary.

Growers who are prepared for Panama TR4 by having on-farm biosecurity measures in operation will be best placed during a challenging time for their business to meet the requirements and resume trading if a notice is given.  For more information on how you can be prepared refer to Information and Resources for Banana Growers.

The most effective method of containing Panama TR4 is early detection of infected plants. This can extend the viability of your farm. Through working together the Queensland Government and industry can manage Panama TR4. Remember to report suspect plants to 13 25 23.