Growers’ e-bulletin – October 10, 2019


October 10, 2019


New option for treating leaf spot
Tweed AGM notice
New quad bike safety standard
Save the Date – Coffs and Murwillumbah
September Marketing Highlights
Pacific Labour Scheme 
R&D speed dating a success  
Tully MIP update  
New ways to keep in touch


New option for treating leaf spot


Banana growers have access to a new option for treating leaf spot, with Bayer’s Serenade Prime now approved for use in bananas. Serenade Prime is a Group 44 biofungicide and should be applied as part of a regular program of fungicide sprays and deleafing practices, in accordance with industry guidelines, to reduce disease inoculum.  

You can read more about this approval in this recent Australian Bananas magazine article.


Tweed BGA – AGM Notice

The Tweed/Richmond Banana Growers Association AGM will be held on Thursday October 24 at the Murwillumbah Golf Club, starting at 6pm sharp.

Following the AGM a normal BGA meeting will be held. The AGM agenda and minutes from the previous AGM will be distributed closer to the date. For further information contact the BGA secretary Zac Mckeever on 0403 223 579.


New quad bike standard announced

The Federal Government has announced a new safety standard for quad bikes, which will come into effect over the next 12-24 months.

Within 12 months, all new quad bikes will be required to:

·         have a warning label alerting riders to the risk of roll over

·         meet US or European standards

·         test for stability and display the result at point of sale

Within 24 months, all new general use model (utility) quad bikes will be required to:

·         be fitted with, or have integrated into the design, a roll bar

·         meet minimum stability requirements

More details here.


Save the Date in Coffs & Murwillumbah

Understanding leaf and soil analysis

Bring your most recent leaf and soil analyses and join Dr John Armour and Matt Weinert, who will help you interpret them and develop your own fertiliser programs.

Workshops will be held from 6-8pm on Wednesday November 13 in Murwillumbah and Thursday November 14 in Coffs Harbour. Workshop details will be confirmed closer to the date.


Australian Bananas – September Marketing Highlights

Australian Bananas launched its cinema strategy on September 15, appearing alongside a great slate of entertainment.

Australian Bananas also received some large format billboard bonus activity last month, across four weeks in three different locations around New South Wales and Victoria.

A range of tasty recipes were developed, photographed and videoed for use across the PR and social campaigns in the current financial year. For more details, contact marketing manager Tate Connolly.  


Could your business benefit from the Pacific Labour Scheme?

Australian banana growers have an exciting opportunity to access reliable, stable and cost-effective labour through the Australian Government’s Pacific Labour Scheme, while also helping our Pacific island neighbours.

The Pacific Labour Scheme is a demand-driven, employer-sponsored visa scheme open to eligible employers in rural and regional Australia when no workers are available locally. Under the Scheme, Pacific island workers can work in Australia for a minimum of one year and up to three years, complementing the nine-month Seasonal Worker Programme visa.

All workers undergo an extensive selection process. The Scheme covers citizens of Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, with Papua New Guinea also coming on board earlier this year.

To find out how to apply, please contact the Pacific Labour Facility on or (07) 3557 7750.


R&D speed dating a success

More than 40 people took the opportunity to speed-date some of the banana industry’s top researchers last week.

There was no awkward small talk on these dates, with plenty of information shared on topics including bunch pest management, variety development, online resources, erwinia and yellow sigatoka.

Those that attended heard first-hand from some of the growers who participated in the recent NextGen trip to the NT about the variety trials for Panama disease TR4 and they re-enforced that seeing the disease first hand is a reminder of how devastating it is. They also shared some interesting observations from the visits to Asian vegetable and mango production systems that were organised as part of the trip.

Growers also participated in a grower-to-grower chat about on-farm biosecurity practices.

Keep an eye on the Better Bananas website and the ABGC e-bulletin for future developments, as well as more opportunities to see and hear about banana research face-to-face.

This event was 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.


Making the most of the MIP in Tully


Since October 2017, the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project has been working closely with landholders to monitor water flowing into the Banyan and Sandy Creek, and parts of the Tully River and take that information back to landholders at shed meetings and Board meetings. The MIP has been reinstating wetlands on one banana farm and one grazing/cane property. They are in the final stages of construction and will be monitored to see whether they can reduce the amount of nitrate entering the larger system. The MIP has run interactive soil workshops, focusing on understanding the nitrogen cycle and its connection to water quality.

Save the date:

November 8th: Tully Sustainable Farming Field Day – this event is aimed at all agriculture, horticulture and grazing in Tully. More info to come!

November 22nd: Where’s My N? Interactive discussion and workshop at the MIP office, 8 Still St, Tully. This workshop with soil guru and agronomist David Hardwick takes a ground-up view of understanding the asset you work with every day. This workshop will be tailored to the banana industry, but all are welcome. It’s the first in a series – you can attend one or all. Please register your interest: Fiona 0488702203 or Maria Ribbeck 0436 634 411


Stay in touch with the ABGC & fellow growers

Are you getting SMS?

Are you interested in getting event reminders or important industry updates via SMS? If you’re not already on our list, please contact with your name, number and growing region.

Facebook group for banana growers

A new, private Facebook group – exclusively for banana growers – has been launched by the ABGC.

The Thirsty Banana is designed to be your online ‘local’ – a place to catch up with friends, share farming ideas and challenges, ask questions and celebrate success.

Join the group 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.