Growers’ e-bulletin – August 26, 2019


August 26, 2019


Panama TR4 spreads on infested farms
Reef regs, chemical access: ABGC board meeting update 
Tweed BGA meeting tomorrow
Tell us what you think about BMP!
Planning for banana speed dating night commences
Secure Hort Innovation voting entitlements
PHA director positions available 
Growing for Queensland 
EOIs closing soon for Accredited Ag Advisors


Panama TR4 spreads on infested farms


A feature in the latest edition of Australian Bananas magazine examines the slow but sure spread of Panama tropical race 4 in North Queensland.

While there have only been three farms with confirmed cases of TR4 since the initial detection in 2015, the number of plants infected within those farms has increased to nearly 60.

This does not change the biosecurity situation on affected properties, but is a timely reminder to avoid being complacent when it comes to your own on-farm measures. On the three already infected properties, TR4 has spread more than 12km and moved both uphill and up river.

There have been no new farms with confirmed cases of TR4 since February 2018. Biosecurity Queensland and the ABGC will continue to inform growers when a detection is made on a new property. Despite the relative success growers, government and community have had in containing it so far, this article illustrates TR4 is spreading, slowly but surely.

If you need a hand to make the next step with your on-farm biosecurity, you can contact Rebecca Breaden at Biosecurity Queensland on 07 40918140 or 0476 850 221 or ABGC on 07 3278 4786.

You can read the full article online here, and see the August edition of Australian Bananas here.


ABGC board meets in FNQ

ABGC directors and senior staff met in Mission Beach last week for their quarterly board meeting. A range of important industry issues were discussed over two days, including;

Water quality regs

ABGC continues to push the Queensland Government for practical changes to proposed new water quality regulations, to ensure strong economic development continues across north Queensland.

If you are not happy with the regulations, it’s not too late to have your say.

The State Government has delayed the introduction to parliament of the Bill that will create the new regs.  There is wide industry concern that greenfield site provisions will reduce profitability and severely impact economic development in the North. For more details on the proposal, click here.

If you care about the Reef and you care about your profitability, you now have some extra time to raise concerns and provide options to your local member of parliament or the Minister for Environment and Science Leeanne Enoch.

It is unclear when Parliamentarians will debate the Bill but it is likely to be in the next few weeks.

For further information about the proposed provisions, contact Michelle McKinlay, Industry Strategy Manager ABGC on 07 3278 4786.

Chemical Access

Growers will soon be asked to give feedback to ABGC on a number of agrichemicals currently under review in Australia.

The regulatory pressures on agrichemicals are increasing globally, with many being restricted or withdrawn from use internationally.

ABGC R&D Manager Dr Rosie Godwin, said for the purpose of strategic planning for future pest management options, it is important to be aware of regulatory threats to chemicals relied upon by the banana industry.

Insecticides and herbicides currently under review in Australia include 2,4 –D, Chlorpyrifos, Fipronil, Diazinon, Paraquat and Diquat.

ABGC will be asking growers via an e-bulletin and survey link to provide any information concerning critical agricultural and biosecurity use patterns for these products. Critical uses are those for which no alternatives exist. Information provided by growers will be collated by Dr Godwin and will assist ABGC prepare an industry-wide submission to the APVMA.

Bunchy Top

Directors were given an update on the new National Banana Bunchy Top Project which commenced in July. The three-year project will be delivered by ABGC and funded by Hort Innovation though the Banana Fund. Northern NSW growers attending the next Tweed BGA meeting tomorrow (Aug 27) at the Murwillumbah Golf Club from 6pm will hear about the new project and have an opportunity to ask questions about it.

Project Manager David Peasley and Australian Banana Growers’ Council CEO Jim Pekin will attend the meeting to provide an insight into future management of the disease, share new research findings and answer any queries from growers.

In addition to maintaining high standards for property inspections and destruction of infected plants, the project will focus on educating growers across the country – particularly in the control zone – to ensure greater awareness around BBTV management. Consultants, other collaborating parties and the wider community will also be part of the campaign, through targeted messaging.

Feral Pigs

Deputy chair Leon Collins provided the board with an update on the number of pigs culled under the ABGC’s feral pig eradication program.

As at 23 August, the total number of pigs taken out of the Tully Valley in the past two years to help reduce the risk of spreading TR4 totalled 4490 – 2167 (ground) and 2323 (air).

The co-ordinated eradication program began in July 2017, and has involved aerial shooting, as well ground shooting, baiting, exclusion fencing and trapping.  The program has been co-ordinated by Mr Collins and professional shooting contractor Trevor Williamson.

The board also acknowledged a generous donation to the program by Orora who have donated approximately 100 cardboard bins to the project, which have been used to ripen bananas used in pig traps.


Tweed BGA meeting tomorrow

Come along to the Tweed BGA meeting tomorrow to hear about changes to the new Bunchy Top project and from NextGen growers who recently visited banana farms in Far North Queensland.

When: Tuesday August 27 at 6pm (tomorrow)
Where: Murwillumbah Golf Club 

As mentioned above, Bunchy Top Project Manager David Peasley and Australian Banana Growers’ Council CEO Jim Pekin will attend the meeting.


BMP: Tell us what you really think!

The extension team at ABGC is keen to get advice from growers about their experience in adopting BMP practices on farm.

To do this, ABGC is working with Proof Research to find out what motivates or discourages growers engaging with the BMP. Proof Research have recently emailed many growers (12 August) asking for a time to chat about their feedback on the Best Management Practice (BMP) Guidelines. ABGC encourages all growers to get involved, regardless of whether or not you have engaged with BMP.

Your feedback will help the extension team provide more effective extension and lift the industry’s profitability.  All responses are completely anonymous and your details go no further than the researcher.

If you would like further information or did not receive an email and would like to be involved, please email Rhonda from Proof Research at to arrange a suitable time for the interview.  Rhonda will do her best to fit in with a time that suits you.


Planning for QLD banana speed dating night commences

Help set the agenda by nominating topics you’re interested in.

Let us know what research you would like to hear about! In early October, you will have the opportunity to talk with researchers about their recent banana R&D work. The early evening event will be held in Innisfail and will feature the popular speed dating format from the Banana roadshows. Researchers will give a 3 minute presentation, followed by time spent moving between tables networking with attendees. Some of the research areas that might interest you include yellow Sigatoka, nematode and bunch pest management, nutrient rate trials, variety development or on-farm biosecurity. Contact Tegan Kukulies to nominate topics you would like to hear about on 0459 846 053 or  

Keep an eye out for details about the night on the better bananas website, as well as future e-bulletins and posts on ABGC Facebook page.

The upcoming networking evening in October will follow a similar format to the popular speed dating session held as part of last year’s Banana Roadshow series.

This event will be organised as part of the National Banana Development and Extension Program (BA16007). The project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the banana research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit, research and development corporation for Australian horticulture. The Queensland Government has also co-funded the project through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

Secure Hort Innovation voting entitlements

For Hort Innovation members that pay a statutory or voluntary industry levy, completing an Annual Levy Return form is the way to secure voting rights for the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), which this year is being held on Friday 22 November 2019. This year the AGM will see members elect one Director to the Hort Innovation Board.

Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a member of Hort Innovation.

If you’re not currently a member but do pay a levy and wish to sign up for the opportunity to secure voting rights in time for the AGM, don’t delay! Make sure you submit a free membership application at by no later than Thursday 12 September 2019. You’ll then receive all the necessary Annual Levy Return information from Link Market Services, the independent provider that’s managing the process.

If you’re already a member, you should have recently received a letter and email with full details from Link Market Services. If you’d like to follow this correspondence up, please contact Link on 1800 660 083 (free call within Australia).

Your completed Annual Levy Return must be received by Friday 27 September 2019. It can be submitted online or by post. For more information, visit or call Link on 1800 660 083.


PHA director positions available

Plant Health Australia is currently seeking applications for non-executive directors of the company.

PHA, a not-for-profit public company, is the national co-ordinating body for plant biosecurity and is owned by its members.

Due to rotation, there are four paid director positions to be filled. Details here.Applications close September 6.


Growing for Queensland

The Queensland Government is seeking your feedback on the way forward for the agribusiness and food sector in the state. A discussion paper aims to trigger a conversation about how Queensland can grow a trusted, profitable and sustainable agribusiness and food sector.

Knowledge and ideas gained from this consultation process will inform an industry development strategy that covers what is happening now and what will need to happen in the future to maximise the sector’s contribution to Queensland’s economy, communities and environment. Share your thoughts here.


EOIs closing soon to become an Accredited Ag Advisor

If you’re qualified to provide agronomic advice, have you considered applying to become an Accredited Agricultural Advisor (AAA) under the soon to commence Farming in Reef Catchments Rebate Scheme?

When launched later this year, the rebate scheme will provide financial reimbursement to primary producers who have sought agronomic advice from an AAA.

To apply or find out more, visit Queensland Rural and Industry Authority AAA Program or call Freecall on 1800 623 946 or email Applications for this round close Friday 30 August 2019.


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.