Growers’ e-bulletin – 16 July, 2020

16 July, 2020


Increased checks on COVID-19 health management plans

New QLD border restrictions

Update on the spread of TR4

Banana extension program renewed

Self-help tool to assess food safety culture

Chemical update

Queensland Agriculture Awards

Have you got a COVID-19 health management plan in place?

ABGC has been advised that the Queensland Government has stepped up its compliance monitoring activity to ensure all farms have a COVID-19 Health Management Plan in place.

This is in response to the positive case of COVID-19 on a farm in Bundaberg earlier this year.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and Queensland Police targeted farms last week in three regions being, Burdekin and Bowen-Gumlu, Sunshine Coast and Caboolture and Gayndah-Mundubbera. All three regions employ seasonal workers in horticulture.

If you are unsure about your requirements as an employer, read more on the ABGC’s website here or email

New QLD border restrictions

Queensland is subject to new border restrictions.

From midday 10 July 2020, anyone can enter Queensland unless they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days. Queensland has declared the entire state of Victoria and two local government areas in NSW as hotspots.

For a full list of hotspots and quarantine requirements view here

The new border restrictions do not affect people providing an essential activity, like freight transporters, however, records of close contacts while in Queensland will need to be kept for two weeks after arrival in Queensland.

More information about how border restrictions affect agribusinesses can be found here

Update on the spread of TR4

Panama TR4 continues to spread slowly in the Tully Valley but still has the possibility to take off. 

The number of plants confirmed with the TR4, and the number of sites where these plants have been destroyed on infested farms (destruction sites), is increasing as time goes on (see the graph below). 

As of the 14 July 2020, 85 plants have been confirmed with the disease which have been destroyed across 34 different sites.

The sustained effort by industry, growers and government over the last five years has meant only four farms in the national industry have been confirmed with TR4 since 2015. 

The threat of further spread, however, remains present and growers are reminded the best way to protect their farm is to keep the disease off the farm.

Install on-farm biosecurity measures or review the procedures already in place to make sure they are still effective.

For further advice please ring ABGC or an industry extension officers QLD – Shanara Vievers (07 4220 4149), Ingrid Jenkins (07 4220 4108) or Stewart Lindsay (07 4220 4120); NSW -Tom Flanagan (02 6626 1352).

Banana extension program renewed

A new five-year National Banana Development and Extension Program kicked off in June.

It is funded by the banana research and development levy, with co-investment from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and contributions from the Australian Government. 

The new program has a renewed focus on one-on-one grower contact and will build on the achievements of previous extension projects.

To contact the team:

  • South Johnstone based –  07 4220 4177
  • Subtropical enquiries (Tom Flanagan, NSW DPI) – 02 6626 1352
  • Email – (
  • Read more on the Better Bananas website here 
Self-help tool to assess food safety culture

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have put together a short survey to help growers carry out a ‘health check’ on the food safety culture in their business. 

Food safety is one of the most important challenges for fruit and vegetable growers.

There are nine questions in the survey available here 

Chemical update

Entrust Organic (Corteva) has recently been registered for the banana industry for use in organic production. 

The active ingredient in Entrust is spinosad, which is produced through the fermentation of a naturally occurring soil bacterium and provides control of rust thrips and sugarcane bud moth in bananas.

Stocks of Entrust are expected to arrive Australia in October 2020. 

Queensland Agriculture Awards

A reminder that entries in the Peter Kenny Medal and the Minister’s Emerging Leader Award close on 20 July. Each award comes with $3000.

The criteria and online entry forms can be found here