‘Speed date’ banana industry researchers

Some of the Australian banana industry’s top researchers will ‘speed date’ growers in Innisfail next month.

As the name implies, this short and sharp extension event will feature a format made popular through the National Banana Roadshows – essentially giving growers and researchers a chance to network and discuss the future of their industry face-to-face.

The event will be held on October 3, from 4-7pm at Brothers Leagues club in Innisfail.

“We had great feedback from growers about the speed dating researcher session as it gave them the opportunity to talk directly with researchers and ask the targeted questions that are on their minds,” Tegan Kukulies, leader of the National Banana Development and Extension Program, said.

Researchers ready to speed date include:

  •  Jeff Daniells (variety evaluation): Jeff has been working in bananas for almost four decades and currently works on a number of important industry projects looking at disease resistance and the agronomics of alternative varieties – particularly those which have some tolerance to Panama tropical race 4.
  • Stewart Lindsay (variety development): Stewart is the Team Leader for Banana Production Systems with DAF – when it comes to bananas, there’s little he doesn’t know. Stewart works on national – and international – projects aimed at securing a strong future for the industry, including when it comes to variety development.
  • Richard Piper (bunch pest management): Richard is the industry’s go-to entomologist and familiar face to many after years in the industry. He’ll be sharing the latest developments on bunch pest management, including treatment and prevention options. 
  • David East (yellow sigatoka): A Plant Pathologist with a love of agriculture, David’s current work involves a yellow Sigatoka leaf spot trial, evaluating the effectiveness of new chemistry and ‘softer options’ for control.
  • Ingrid Jenkins (Better Bananas website and online biosecurity BMP): Ingrid is a key member of the banana extension team.She uses video, social media and other online platforms to effectively deliver important info to the banana industry.
  • Peter Trevorrow (Erwinia): Erwinia is a common bacterial rot and Peter will soon be spending some time researching this issue.  . Peter’s work has previously focussed on post-harvest organisms and disinfectants.

The night will also feature observations from a recent FNQ grower visit to variety trial sites in the Northern Territory, as well as an on-farm biosecurity scenario session.

RSVP is essential for catering purposes, as a light meal will be provided following the event. Beverages will be available to purchase at the venue. RSVP by Thursday 26th September by contacting Tegan Kukulies via e-mail tegan.kukulies@daf.qld.gov.au or through Eventbrite (search for ‘banana’ in Innisfail).  


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