Growers’ e-bulletin – 24 February, 2020


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February 24, 2020


Directors’ quarterly board meeting

Grower with suspect Panama TR4 detection trading within four days due to good biosecurity 

BQ using drone technology for compliance activities 

Support requested from SEQ and northern NSW growers for Bunchy top research

New test sheds light on Crown end rot research 

Tweed BGA Meeting 

Engineering Workshop

New staff 


Directors’ quarterly board meeting

ABGC directors held their quarterly board meeting in Brisbane last week.

Some of the main issues of discussion were:

4 days left to have your say! Have input into the future use of agrichemicals on your farm

How would you feel if access to chemicals used to control pests and diseases on your farm changed?

Many commonly used agrichemicals are currently under review. If you would like to continue to use these treatments on your farm please take part in a short survey which aims to identify pest and disease priorities for the banana industry.

The survey is being conducted by Hort Innovation and gives growers the opportunity to have input into decisions which will influence future access to agrichemicals.

The survey will:

  • identify and prioritise pest and disease issues for the banana industry 
  • evaluate the suitability of available registered and permitted pesticides against these threats
  • determine priorities in the banana industry’s pest control strategy

You can provide input into this critical industry issue by answering 15 questions here

But there is not much time. The survey closes on Friday (28 February, 2020)

Hort Innovation is conducting the survey as part of the Banana Industry Strategic Agrichemical Review Process (SARP). This project (MT19008) has been funded by Hort Innovation, using multi-industry research and development levies and contributions from the Australian Government.

Clarification on latest suspected case of TR4 

ABGC directors held lengthy discussions on the latest suspected case of Panama tropical race 4 in the Tully Valley and the potential implications to industry.

The board was made aware of some recent talk circulating within industry that a fourth confirmed detection of TR4 would prompt Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) to declare the disease as endemic, however, ABGC was advised by BQ that this would not be the case.  

Infested Property (IP) based regulations are staying as is.

Focus on biosecurity

The ABGC Board discussed the need for growers to be shown the benefits of adopting some on-farm biosecurity measures.

It heard that the National Extension Team at South Johnstone, led by Tegan Kukulies, is keen to help individual growers better utilise the wealth of biosecurity information available, so that growers are better able to protect their farms from getting TR4.


Grower with suspect Panama TR4 detection trading within four days due to good biosecurity 


In early February a grower in the Tully Valley was given a ‘Notice of presence of Panama disease tropical race 4’ after preliminary diagnostic testing for the disease returned positive. To conclusively confirm this ‘suspect case’ a vegetative compatibility group (VCG) test was actioned, the results of which Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) should receive in the next 1-2 weeks.

BQ reports that thanks to an existing high standard of on-farm biosecurity measures, and assistance from a dedicated BQ team, the property owners were quickly able to satisfy the immediate biosecurity requirements of the notice.

The farm resumed consignment of fruit within four days of delivery of the notice; a significant outcome and positive reinforcement that trading with Panama TR4 is possible.

BQ is urging growers to maintain their vigilance in the wake of this the fourth suspect detection in the region and take stock of all current biosecurity procedures; check if they are working effectively and see if any areas can be improved.

If you don’t know where to start, the graphic below offers some practical, cost-effective measures growers can implement on-farm.

Help is available on how best to manage your on-farm biosecurity by calling: 

  • Tegan Kukulies at Agri-Science Queensland, P: 4220 4152  E:; to arrange an on-farm visit;  
  • Rebecca Breaden at Biosecurity Queensland, P: 4091 8140 E:, or  drop-in to the Biosecurity Queensland  office at 2-20 Moresby Road, Moresby
  • Or talk to fellow growers or your ABGC representative

For more information about biosecurity measures visit here  


Biosecurity Queensland uses drone technology to conduct Panama TR4 compliance activities 

Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) is taking to the skies to deliver compliance activities on farms infested with Panama TR4. 

The compliance unit at BQ’s Panama TR4 Program is using drones to ensure there is no plant regrowth in the destruction zones on the infested properties. 

The drones make inspections possible without the need for boots on the ground, which helps minimise disease spread. 

Read the full media release here and view the drone footage here 


Support requested from SEQ and northern NSW growers for Bunchy top research

ABGC’s David Peasley is currently running Phase 4 of the National Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) Management Project. ABGC recently engaged consultants, Proof Research, to better understand what growers in the BBTV zones think about Bunchy Top Virus and its management.

It is important ABGC understands the views of commercial growers so that education and extension material delivered during Phase 4 can be better tailored to meet growers’ needs.

In the coming weeks, Proof Research will contact growers in the bunchy top zones about the study and we would greatly appreciate your participation if asked for an individual face-to-face or phone interview.

Please note that any information given to Proof Research by growers will remain anonymous and confidential.  

For further information call David Peasley, ABGC, on 0427 126 245.


New test sheds light on Crown end rot research

Alternative options for managing Crown end rot including the more aggressive form commonly known as Chalara (Thielaviopsis musarum) have been screened using a new technique. Negotiations are underway with product manufacturers with a view to future registration.  

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries researchers Kathy Grice and Peter Trevorrow said the technique allowed the disease to develop in conditions that mimicked natural infection and symptom development under near commercial storage and ripening conditions. 

“Additionally, growers can now have confidence that if they are using either of the registered post-harvest fungicides to manage Crown end rot, that they will also halt the development of Chalara.” 

For full details visit here


Tweed BGA 

A meeting of the Tweed BGA will be held this Wednesday (26 February) at the Murwillumbah Golf Club, 233 Byangum Road, at 6:30pm. 


Engineering Workshop


New staff

ABGC recently welcomed two new staff members.

Lea Coghlan is now the communications officer (while Amy Spear is on maternity leave). 

Lea has an extensive background in media and communications in Far North Queensland having worked as a journalist for regional, state and national newspapers including The Cairns Post, North Queensland Register, Queensland Country Life and Good Fruit and Vegetables. 

Lea has also worked in government and corporate communications with the Queensland Government and Far North Queensland’s horticulture industry. Lea can be contacted at or 0439 005 946.

Robyn Bell has been appointed to replace Dale Bennett as an extension officer within the ABGC’s Reef Team. 

Robyn has worked in a range of roles in the water quality and agricultural production fields, with her most recently field being sugarcane. 

She has extensive experience helping growers with record keeping and understanding reef regulations, plus the administration of water quality grants, all of which are important in her new role. Robyn can be contacted at or  0418 692 449.


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.