Growers’ e-bulletin – August 5, 2019


August 5, 2019


Tully TR4 community resilience report
Wet Tropics Report Card 
Get a grip on the MIP
Banana industry to feature at Mareeba event
Variety trials at South Johnstone
Growing Matters podcast 
Register for Nuffield Conference 
Tully Show – Banana Exhibit 
TR4 team at FNQ shows
Spraying pesticides in NSW
Celebrate Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute
Grants available in QLD 


Tully Support Centre presents TR4 resilience report


The Tully Support Centre (TSC) has spent the past year undertaking an assessment of the community’s capacity to respond to future detections of Panama tropical race 4.

The results of this work will be presented tomorrow (Tuesday August 6) at 5.30pm, at Butler’s Bar Function Room – 5 Butler’s Street, Tully.

Chair of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, Stephen Lowe, will also speak at the event.

The TSC report provides an overview of responses relating to identified areas of social needs, including  community issues, family issues, employment and small business..

RSVP is essential – please contact or call 4068 1004. 


Wet Tropics Report Card

The latest Wet Tropics Report Card is now available here.

The Tully and Johnstone freshwater basins and estuaries were rated ‘B’ or ‘good’, based on data from July 2017-June 2018.

However, the Central Inshore Marine environment – essentially, the Reef – was rated ‘C’ or moderate overall. In particular, the rating of moderate was given for water quality and coral, while a rating of poor was given for seagrass. More details here.


Get a grip on the MIP!

The Panel for the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (WTMIP) met recently to discuss the progress of the project as it is half way through its three year life span. It was a productive meeting and the Panel has decided to start to think about ‘What next for the WTMIP?’

The Panel approved the design of a HES Basin on a banana farm in the Johnstone catchment. The Basin will incorporate unique design features to make it more efficient and it will treat the majority of water leaving the farm. The MIP and ABGC teams will work with the grower to showcase nutrient and sediment best practice as well. You will hear more about this project over the coming months.

The panel also approved the design and construction of six bioreactors (think nutrient traps) on cane farms across the Tully and Johnstone catchments. The Panel also approved some riparian revegetation to occur in the Nerada region.  If you want to find out more about the WTMIP projects call the ABGC reps on the WTMIP Panel – Rob Mayers on (0447000203) or Michelle McKinlay (0427987499).


ABGC Director to talk on the Banana Industry in Mareeba

Banana grower and ABGC director Paul Inderbitzin will give a presentation on the banana industry, its future and what it means to the Mareeba area at a Mareeba Chamber of Commerce-convened forum on Thursday August 15.  He will join Robert Gray (Mangoes) and Jim Kochi (Avocadoes) who will discuss their industries at this forward- thinking business luncheon.

Where: Mareeba Bowls Club, Anzac Avenue |Time: 12-2pm | Cost: $30 Members (includes two course lunch)

Bookings essential by August 12 –


Update available: Variety trials at South Johnstone

Harvest of the new variety trial has started at South Johnstone and is expected to continue until November.

If you missed the opportunity to attend the field walk in June, visit the Better Bananas website for the latest update.  


Growing Matters podcast

Two Far North Queensland banana growers feature in Hort Innovation’s new podcast series ‘Growing Matters’.

You can hear Matt Abbott talk about sustainable banana farming here and Paul Inderbitzin speak about the industry’s waste management practices here.


Nuffield Conference registrations open

More than 300 of the nation’s best and brightest farmers will descend on Brisbane in September for the 2019 Nuffield Australia National Conference.  Early bird registrations are now open for the event, to be held at the Royal International Convention Centre (EKKA precinct) from September 17-19.

This year’s speakers will cover a range of highly topical research areas, including business risk management in variable climates, effective branding to attract premiums, facilitating the uptake of new farm technologies, soil health and regeneration principles. For more, visit the website here.


Tully Show – Banana Exhibit

The annual Tully Show banana weigh-in took place recently – setting the scene for a catch-up with mates and, of course, some healthy competition.

While exhibit entry numbers were down, the quality of fruit was high, leaving judges Greg Bradshaw and Dennis Lindsay the unenviable task of deciding winners and place-getters.  

Prize winners included; Most Successful Exhibitor – JR & V Dickinson; Champion Bunch – Flegler Group; and Heaviest Bunch – JR & V Dickinson (56.5kg).

Keep an eye out for the August edition of Australian Bananas magazine for a full list of results!


TR4 team gets the whole family involved at the Show

People of all ages had fun whilst learning about TR4 at Biosecurity Queensland’s stall at the Innisfail Show.

A ‘guess the number of banana lollies’ competition and mobile photo booth kept show-goers entertained while finding out more about TR4.

Biosecurity Queensland reported that a short survey indicated high community awareness of TR4 but there is some confusion about where the disease is and how it is spread.

Rebecca Breaden, BQ’s Community Engagement Officer, was there to spread the word that TR4 had so far been contained to the Tully Valley and that its spread can be limited by following ‘come clean, leave clean’ guidelines. She talked to kids about how TR4 is found in the soil and that it’s best not to ride through banana farms. “A good reason for being at the Show is to ensure that everyone knows how they can help protect our farmers and the whole banana industry against TR4 spreading,” Rebecca said.

The TR4 Team also had a stand at the Tully Show.


Spraying pesticides in NSW

Do you spray pesticides on other banana farms for a fee or reward in New South Wales?

Even if it’s just your costs covered, the Environmental Protection Authority requires that you hold an appropriate license, available from their website.

While you do not need a license to spray on your own farm, or if you’re an employee paid to do so, you do need one for ‘ground application work’ on other private land in the state.

Some other exemptions apply, including using pesticides on land belonging to a member of your family or undertaking bush care. More information can be found at:


Northern NSW community invited to celebrate Wollongbar

 A series of events and masterclasses will be held to mark the 125 year anniversary of the Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute.

Topics covered include disaster preparedness, soil and water testing and integrated pest management. Workshops kicked off on August 1, with an open day to be held on August 24.

All the details can be found here.


Rural Economic Development Grants available

The second round of Rural Economic Development Grants are now available for projects that generate employment and economic opportunities related to primary production in rural and remote Queensland.

Grants of up to $250,000 are available, with a 50 per cent cash contribution requirement from applicants.

Examples of eligible projects include the development of a new product or market, or improved business processes that create more jobs. Applications close September 6. More details here.


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.