Growers’ e-bulletin – May 9, 2019


May 9, 2019


Your say on quad bike safety 
Reef Regs update 
Funding available in NQ
Share your TR4 thoughts
Be part of NextGen
Tame the Tully
National Banana Day wrap 
Coffs fruit on show
Congress app launched
Banana Congress Supporters 


Have your say on new quad bike safety standard


To help prevent injury and death from quad bike use, the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) has recommended a national safety standard.

The draft safety standard includes making operator protection devices such as Roll Bars mandatory, a minimum stability performance requirement and lateral roll stability testing, and provides consumers with safety information relating to a bike’s stability.

The Assistant Treasurer is seeking submissions on the exposure draft mandatory safety standard recommended by the ACCC.

It also seeks input on the wearing of helmets and safety gear and making it illegal for children to ride adult quad bikes in other than supervised sporting events.

You can read more and access the standard here.

The ABGC wants to know your thoughts. Contact ABGC’s Executive Officer, Leanne Erakovic, via email or call 07 3278 4786.  The deadline for submissions is 10 June 2019.


Queensland Reef Regs: Banana Update

On behalf of the industry, the ABGC continues to advocate to the Queensland Government about the proposed water quality regulations.

Growers raised a number of legitimate concerns about the proposed minimum standards for sediment control and nutrient application rates. All indications are that the representatives have listened and made some changes so that it will be easier for growers to include the standards into their production systems.

However, there remains concerns about the sediment mitigation provisions that are proposed for new banana farming developments (greenfield sites). Stephen Lowe (chair), Jim Pekin (CEO) and Michelle McKinlay (Strategy Manager) met recently with the Queensland Environment Minister, Leeanne Enoch MP and the Queensland Agriculture Minister, Mr Mark Furner to push for changes.

Both Ministers listened and appeared sympathetic to the industry’s concerns. Negotiations are continuing and the finalised standards will be posted on the ABGC website in the coming weeks.


Funding available for NQ banana growers – don’t miss out

Applications are open for funding of up to $15K towards projects that reduce nutrient and sediment run off from banana farms. With the new Reef regulations relating to banana nutrient and sediment standards starting in the Wet Tropics in July 2020, now is an excellent time to check if you are ‘reg ready’ and if not, to take advantage of the funding to help get you there. There are limited funds available! Activities that are eligible for funding include:

·         Nutrient management

o   Installation of a fertigation system (manual or automated)

·         Sediment management

o   Farm layout mapping with soil conservation plan, roads, headlands

o   Equipment to better maintain ground cover e.g. slashers

o   Technology to enable the use of reduced tillage and permanent beds e.g. GPS

o   Installation of sediment trapping structures

o   Earth works to slow the movement of surface water such as laser levelling, contouring or diversion banks

o   Machinery modifications to change to high flotation tyres or tracks

Sediment management forms a large component of the Reef regulations.  Fortunately, we have soil conservation expert Darryl Evans on board to help you with all things farm planning, too!

For further information, please contact Dale Bennett at ABGC on (07) 4015 2797 or email

*To submit an application for a Reef grant, growers must have completed or renewed their Environmental BMP within the last twelve months.  If you wish to complete or renew your BMP please contact Robert Mayers at ABGC on 07 4015 2797. This extension activity is possible through the Reef Alliance and the Reef Trust III project.

The Reef Alliance Program is a partnership between agricultural industry, regional NRM bodies and facilitated by the 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.


 (More than) a penny for your thoughts

Help shape the North Queensland industry by sharing your thoughts on growing bananas and Panama TR4.

Independent consultants Proof Research are seeking a range of anonymous views to help inform decision makers into the future.

Growers who participate in the research, conducted over the telephone, will receive $50 as a small gesture of thanks for their time.

Help shape the future of TR4 management by contacting


VIDEO: Be part of NextGen

Getting together, having a chat, and visiting and learning from other industries is what motivates our NextGen banana growers. If you’re a young – or young at heart – banana grower wanting to connect and share new experiences, contact the Better Bananas team at Check out their latest video by clicking on the image below!


Rafters arrive to tame the Tully River

With the world rafting championships starting next week, there’s going to be up to 2,500 people visiting the Tully region that may not be aware of Panama TR4 on banana farms.

To help protect banana farms in the area, the Panama TR4 Program has:

·         worked with the organisers to put a brochure asking people to stay off banana farms in all the participant’s welcome packs

·         placed an electronic message board on Tully Gorge Road

·         targeted social networking sites to remind participants and visitors to stay off farms while they’re here for the competition.

Here’s what you can do to help protect your farm:

·         ensure your boundary fences are in good condition

·         exclude all unnecessary vehicles and visitors from your farming zone

·         make sure your biosecurity farm gate signs are up and the contact number can be clearly read.

The rafting championships will be held over 8 days from 13-20 May with teams from 30 countries competing. Find out more here.


Inaugural National Banana Day – May 1

The inaugural National Banana Day, organised by Australian Bananas, was held on May 1.

Local growers, along with Australian Bananas ambassadors – footy legend Billy Slater and leading dietician Susie Burrell – hosted a media event at The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. A banana bootcamp was also held in the lead-up to the big day.

The Australian Bananas team also achieved plenty of media coverage, including on Sunrise, in major newspapers and on radio stations around the country.

Growers and other industry stakeholders also got on board – make sure you check out the National Banana Day album on Facebook to see how people celebrated.


Coffs fruit on show

Entries are open for the banana exhibit at the 2019 Coffs Harbour Show (May 17-19.)

There are a range of categories to enter across Cavendish, Lady Fingers and Ducasse, with thousands of dollars in prizes up for grabs.

On top of this, it’s a great way to support the banana industry and promote local produce to the community.

More information and entry forms can be found online at, or in hard copy at the Show Society Office, Norco, Golden Dawn and Lindsay Rural.

Entry forms must be submitted no later than 5pm, May 15.

Congress in the palm of your hand

Planning your Congress is experience is as easy as tapping your phone or tablet screen – thanks to the 2019 Banana Congress app!

Launched today, the app is available from your preferred app store – simply search for ‘Banana Congress 2019’.

It’s the easiest way to access the plenary program, speaker information and social function details.

Those who have registered will receive an email with more information and log-in details to personalise the App. There’s still time to get on board before the event begins on May 22! Visit

Thank you to our Banana Congress sponsors

FLEXTEND- Fantastic in the wet and even better in the dry!

Flextend is a superior rainfast adjuvant. Add Flextend to your spray rather than an oil or surfactant. Try it for yourself and you will know instantly the rainfastness that Flextend delivers. For more information on Flextend for use banana plantations and how it can assist your disease management program, call Frank on 0448 511 852.


Visit Netafim at Booth 9 to meet the team and find out more about the Supernet Sprinkler.


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.