Growers’ e-bulletin – July 1, 2021


July 1, 2021


Working Holiday Visa changes
Concern over TC Niran grant delays
Update on chemicals
Banana Rust Thrips 
Service providers and Panama TR4
Tweed BGA meeting
Black Soldier Fly tech survey
Bunchy Top Project in the news


Working Holiday Visa changes

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council has joined peak agricultural bodies from across the country in urging the Federal Government to rethink changes to the Working Holiday Visa.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke last week changed the rules for those backpackers seeking to extend their Working Holiday Maker visa to second and third years, allowing them to complete their 88 days work not just on farm but also now in the tourism and hospitality sectors across northern and remote Australia.

Read the full media release here:


Concern over TC Niran grant delays

It’s been four months since Tropical Cyclone Niran hit growers in Far North Queensland, and two since funds of up to $75,000 were announced to assist with recovery. At this stage, though, growers are still only eligible to apply for $25,000.

Those eligible have been literally banking on the extra funds to assist at a time when industry is facing multiple challenges – including worker shortages. The ABGC has called on the State and Federal Governments to follow through on this announcement urgently.

Read the Queensland Country Life story:

Read the ABGC’s full statement:



Reminders for farm business owners/workers

With millions of Australians now under lockdown conditions, it’s timely to remember a few key points about managing your farm business through the pandemic.

  • Review and update your farm health management plans and check your workers for symptoms daily. A COVID-19 guide for banana growers, and a health management plan template, can be found here:
  • Check your State or Territory’s health advice for exposure sites
  • Use available Check-In Apps – such as Check in Qld or Service NSW – in your own business and when visiting other sites.
  • Follow all current guidelines for wearing facemasks, maintaining hygiene and social distancing. Vaccinated staff are still required to wear masks.
  • Stay on top of border declaration and freight requirements for each State or Territory you operate in.

As always, please check with your State or Territory health authority for any information regarding COVID-19 as the situation is constantly changing.

PLS/SWP update

The ABGC has received advice that, as at June 30, the PLS/SWP were considered very safe and there was no indication that anything would change as a result of recent outbreaks. The PLS/SWP brings in workers from low-risk countries and is managed in a COVID-safe manner. A request has also been made to relevant authorities to reconsider prioritising seasonal workers in the vaccination roll out.


Update on chemicals

New products/ uses

Sumitomo has applied to register a new fungicide active ExcaliaTM (Inpyrfluxam) (group 7) for the control of yellow sigatoka in bananas.

Chemical reviews

The dithiocarbamates (e.g Mancozeb) have been prioritized for review by APVMA since 2015. Recently completed reviews by the European Union and Canada have resulted in many of the use patterns being deleted or significantly amended. Given the outcomes internationally, Australia may follow these trends once an Australian review is finalised.

Other products being targeted internationally for re-evaluation include chlorpyrifos (e.g Strikeout, Suscon, Lorsban), clothianidin (Shield), and  some of the leaf spot chemicals in the triazole group and chlorothalonil.



Banana rust thrips – a persistent and pesky pest!

Banana rust thrips continues to pop up as a priority pest for banana growers. This is feedback which growers have relayed to the banana extension team during recent farm visits. Correct and timely application of chemicals is vital to manage these tiny pests. Chemical resistance was also a concern raised by growers. Why is this important? Thrips’ fast lifecycle and relatively sedentary behaviour means they can build-up resistance to chemicals quickly! Remember to rotate between chemicals with different modes of actions (following label rates and directions) to minimise the possibility of chemical resistance developing.

Moving towards softer/biological options for bunch pest management is something that growers have expressed interest in. While industry research evaluating new chemistries, including softer biological options is under way, refresh your knowledge of Rust thrips, their lifecycle, symptoms and current management practices by visiting the Better Bananas website – Banana rust thrips – Better Bananas

This update has been provided as part of the National Banana Development and Extension Program (BA19004). This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the Hort Innovation banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, New South Wales Department of Primary industries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.


Help your service providers understand how to protect against Panama TR4

Come clean, leave clean.  It’s a simple message that everyone can follow, especially when it comes to vehicles.  Dirty vehicles are a big risk to the biosecurity on farms so it’s important that they get a regular wash down, and it’s important that we all know how to do it, including your service providers.

We’ve created this easy-to-follow video for you to share, to help service providers understand what Panama TR4 is, and how to properly clean their vehicles before visiting your farm.

Help spread the message by forwarding this email to your contacts, suggesting they include this information in their inductions and toolbox talks.  Alternatively, you can request some copies of the video on USB from Panama TR4 Program Engagement Officer, Jael Napper by calling 0476850037 or email

Go to to access further advice and resources for people needing to visit your farm.


Tweed BGA meeting

The Tweed NextGen group meeting and BGA meeting will be held on July 15 at the Murwillumbah Golf Club. The NextGen meeting will be held at 5pm and will help finalise activities members want to engage in over the next 12 months. The BGA meeting will be held at 6pm, with representatives from ABGC hoping to come along (pending COVID restrictions!) The meeting will be followed by dinner.


Researchers at the University of Western Australia in collaboration with Rural RDCs are seeking the participation of Australian farmers for an online survey. 

The survey is about your preferences and opinions about organic fertilisers and soil improvers developed from agricultural waste using Black Soldier Fly (BSF) technology. 

The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. As a thank you for completing the survey, you will be entered into a prize draw to win one of five $100 e-gift cards of your choice.  The survey is open till the end of July.

Your input will help inform the development of products using BSF technology. 

To find out more about the survey and participate please click:  



Bunchy Top Project in the news

A video produced by the National Bunchy Top Project to help growers identify the disease and destroy infected plants has featured in the media recently.  Check out the stories on Queensland Country Life and FreshPlaza.

You can watch the video on the BBTV website or Facebook page.



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.