Growers’ e-bulletin – October 24, 2019


October 24, 2019


Cassowary Coast trespass concerns
Tourists trespassing
Leaf spot control
Sustainable Farming Day
Triple J goes bananas
Backyard Bunchy Top
Reporting suspect plants 
Scholarship offers  
Save the Date


Battle against trespass


A big thank you to the five Queensland Police Representatives (pictured above with ABGC deputy chair Leon Collins) and Biosecurity Queensland who met with Cassowary Coast growers at South Johnstone last Friday to give advice on prosecuting people who trespass onto their farms.

The meeting was organised by ABGC following recent concerns over an increase in trespassing on banana farms around Innisfail and Tully – including pig hunters and tourists entering properties; as well as other unrelated incidents of theft and wilful damage.

Queensland Police has urged growers to report all incidents of trespass to police, so they can investigate and have the best chance of prosecuting offenders. This information will also allow police to establish whether there are any patterns of illegal activity.

Key messages:

·         To enter private land (including private roads and easements) a person must have permission from the owner. If they don’t, it’s trespass and they can be prosecuted.

·         Having ‘No Trespassing’ or ‘Private Property’ signs helps police prosecute.

·         A landholder has the right to ask a person for their name and address if they are found trespassing on their land.

·         Any person using gazetted ‘stock routes’ must have a permit.

Key actions for growers:

·         Report ALL incidents/evidence of trespass to police. Big and small (e.g. a photo of a cut fence or a vehicle registration number). Police need to build a picture of what is happening and all pieces of evidence add up. If it is not reported, they can’t investigate and potentially prosecute.  

·         All incidents of illegal trespass should be reported directly to your local police station, not Police Link.

·         Signage – If your land is fenced, you don’t generally need ‘No Trespassing’ or ‘Private Property’ signage, as a fence indicates a boundary, and crossing that boundary constitutes trespass. However, where there is no fence, ‘No Trespassing’ or ‘Private Property’ signage should be erected. This is to negate any excuse for someone entering your property without permission. Essentially, the offender cannot use the excuse, ‘I didn’t know this was private land’.

·         Set up trail cameras where you can.

Biosecurity Queensland representatives were also present at Friday’s meeting and are now  planning a targeted information campaign, aimed at tourists illegally entering properties (see more details below).

ABGC Deputy Chair Leon Collins has led the management of this serious issue, which poses a real threat of spreading Panama Tropical Race 4. He continues to meet with local authorities such as Cassowary Coast Council and police – and has helped drive home the message to the general public through local media.


Tourists entering banana farms without permission

At the illegal trespass meeting last Friday, banana growers reported an increased number of tourists entering their properties without permission.

Biosecurity Queensland is keen to deliver an information campaign to educate tourists about Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4), and the importance of not entering farms without permission.

Tourists may not be familiar with Panama TR4, nor the potential risk they may be creating by entering farms without permission.

To help BQ better understand the issue, they’ve put together a brief survey here (6 questions, 3 minutes to complete).

Your feedback will help ensure they reach the right people with the right messages.


It’s time for leaf spot control 

Growers are reminded that now is the time to get leaf spot under control before the wet season, humidity and hot weather is upon us.

It is much easier to keep inoculum levels low (under the recommended 5%) by making sure your de-leafing is up-to-date and by following the recommended resistance management strategy for spraying.

High levels of leaf spot infection in your plants will cause problems – not just for you, but also your neighbours such as:

·         delays in filling bunches

·         reduced ‘green life’ in fruit causing mixed ripening

·         increased costs for de-leafing and spraying

·         difficulty in detecting exotic leaf diseases if they arrive in your area

·         restricted market access.

For more information, consult ABGC’s Plant Health Officer Carl Rickson on  0447 551 473, your chemical reseller or agronomist.


Tully Sustainable Farming Day

Improve production, profit and – of course – sustainability at the Tully Sustainable Farming Day.

The day will feature a range of short talks, including one on feral pigs from ABGC Deputy Chair Leon Collins, an update on nutrient rate trials and grants, displays of new products and door prizes.

Date: November 8

Venue: “Reinsdown” (Strutt’s Shed), 75 Aerodome Rd, Tully

Time: 8am start with early afternoon finish (Morning tea & BBQ lunch provided_

RSVP is essential by November 1 (next Friday) – phone Tully Canegrowers on 4068 4900.


Breakfast banana lovers on Triple J

Last week on Triple J hosts, Ben and Liam, discussed their love of bananas and how they see Australian Banana marketing ‘all the time’, speculating on who was behind it.

Hort Innovation Marketing sent them an Australian Bananas care package on air, with some extra goodies and a nice letter that included a thank you and some banana jokes. They loved their gift and spoke at length about bananas live on air. You can listen here: Triple J . Also, their Instagram post can be found here: We love bananas and the banana guild are certainly not forcing us to say that 🍌.


Bunchy Top project reaching backyard growers

The ABGC’s Bunchy Top project has launched two social media accounts, designed to target backyard banana growers.

While the focus of inspectors and resources on the ground will be with commercial growers, these social media accounts will allow the team, under Project Leader David Peasley, to educate members of the public.

If you’re interested, or want to share these accounts with people who may benefit, check out Facebook or Instagram.


Reporting suspect plants

Have you spotted some strange looking symptoms on your banana plants?

If you suspect you’ve seen a pest or disease of any kind on your farm– there’s one quick number to call.

The Exotic Plant Pest Hotline (1800 084 881) will direct you straight to the relevant biosecurity authority.

As the banana industry knows all too well, pests and diseases move quickly so – if you’re ever suspicious or in doubt – pick up the phone.


Women and Leadership scholarships

A pool of scholarships are currently available for women in the horticulture sector to participate in a range of leadership courses. Expressions of interest close 5pm on November 29th.

The scholarship grants are co-funded by Hort Innovation and Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) and cover almost 60% of the program fee. They are designed for women from all levy-paying horticultural organisations who are emerging leaders, mid-level managers or those with senior/executive level experience. 

More information here.


Save the Date!

·         October 24 (tonight) – Tweed BGA AGM, 6pm, Murwillumbah Golf Club

·         November 1 – Murwillumbah Show (banana judging prior)

·         November 5 – Nambucca BGA AGM, Macksville RSL, 6pm

·         November 6 – Coffs Harbour and District BGA AGM, Park Beach Bowls Club, dinner from 5.30

·         November 8 – Tully Sustainable Farming Day, 8am, “Reinsdown” (Strutt’s Shed), 75 Aerodome Rd, Tully

·         November 13 – Murwillumbah soil and leaf analysis workshop (details TBA)

·         November 14 – Coffs Harbour soil and leaf analysis workshop (details TBA)

·         November 22 – Hort Innovation AGM and showcase – Sydney (details TBA)

·         December 4 – ABGC Annual General Meeting – South Johntstone, 5.30pm


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.