Growers' e-bulletin - 21 June, 2023

Growers’ e-bulletin – 21 June, 2023


ABGC Board Meeting outcomes
Cassowary Coast: Free nutrient management plans
Panama TR4 updates 
Check your fertilizer labels
Congress Supporter: CelciusPro

TR4 transition, benchmarking discussed at ABGC Board Meeting

Rising cost of production, benchmarking and the TR4 Transition to Industry Management were high on the agenda for an Australian Banana Growers’ Council board meeting last week.

Directors, along with senior staff, met in Far North Queensland on June 15-16. Key outcomes included:


A new banana benchmarking project will begin coming months, and we’ll need your help to ensure it’s both effective and accurate.

The ABGC Board heard that work is already under way on the Hort Innovation-funded project, with the contract awarded to benchmarking experts Aglytica. In a presentation to the Board, Aglytica’s Glenn Briggs explained that they’re developing a banana-specific benchmarking tool from their suite of technologies and products which are used to collect farm data through a secure, online platform. The data is used to provide personalised farm enterprise-level benchmarks, as well as de-identified industry snapshots. Webinars and meetings will take place to ensure growers know exactly how they can be part of this project, as well as the benefits both to businesses and to the industry more broadly.

If enough growers jump on and participate, data is expected to be available by the end of the year. Keep an eye on ABGC Communications for more!

TR4 Transition

The Board heard ABGC’s TR4 team are full steam ahead to transition to industry management in early July.

Biosecurity Queensland, in collaboration with growers, the ABGC and researchers, has led the Panama TR4 Program since the first detection in Tully in 2015.

As of July 3, ABGC will manage the new TR4 Control Program, ensuring efforts to contain the potentially devastating disease remain top priority.

The transition has been in the works for the past three years and is the result of the close working relationship between industry and government.

Growers wanting to know more about the disease can visit PanamaTR4Protect or contact TR4 Control Program Leader Geoff Wilson for details about management:

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Cost of Production

While the benchmarking project (mentioned above) is fast approaching, the need for a better understanding of Cost of Production is critical. For this reason, the ABGC Board has approved:

  • A cost-of-production spreadsheet to be provided to Grower Members, to help calculate current data. This will be solely a tool for growers, to be used at their own discretion.
  • A voluntary, anonymous survey to be sent to those growers, asking to share only a final cost-of-production figure as well as some basic information (for example, farm size and growing region). More details will be provided in coming weeks.
Free nutrient management plans

ABGC’s Best Practice team are offering Cassowary Coast growers FREE soil and leaf testing and expert agronomic advice as part of their Nutrient Management Planning project. 

The project aims to assist growers in maximising their nutrient applications for optimal plant and soil health.

LIMITED SPOTS REMAIN. To secure your spot, contact Molly Blake via or 0419 602 864.

Panama TR4 updates

Panama TR4 Board Snapshot Report

The Panama TR4 Management Board met on 23 May 2023. Read the board snapshot report here. The final Panama TR4 Board Meeting will be held on 26 June 2023.

Panama TR4 E-Learning modules

There are new online resources available to help improve awareness and knowledge of Panama TR4.

Get your staff, service providers, family and friends up to date with the latest information on Panama TR4 and ways to help protect the Queensland banana industry from this disease.

Visit to complete the short informative modules. Successful participants receive a certificate of completion from the ABGC.

Science forum – Panama TR4 Research Update

On March 7 banana growers and the Panama TR4 Program Management Board heard about the latest findings from various Panama TR4 research projects.

The research projects included:

  • Using e-noses and volatiles for earlier detection by Andrew Hayes
  • Suppression of Panama disease and the role of the core microbiome by Dr Tony Pattison
  • Using genomics to support diagnostics by Jane Oakey
  • Alternative banana varieties by Jeff Daniells

Read a summary of findings from three of the research projects in the latest Panama TR4 Update

Check your fertilizer labels

Fertilizer Australia has launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the importance of fertiliser labelling. The campaign aims to educate growers, industry and retailers on identifying the correct labelling of fertilisers and the potential consequences of incorrect labelling. 

Recent supply chain restrictions have resulted in products being sourced into Australia from less familiar markets. Examples of consignments sold into the horticultural industry include products with cadmium levels far exceeding maximum permissible concentrations and a ‘fertiliser’ which was simply soil.

Why is correct fertiliser labelling important?

  • Helps agronomists and growers make informed decisions about nutrient applications for optimal crop yield and quality
  • To ensure care is taken for worker and food safety and for the environment
  • Some products may contain scheduled poisons or hazardous substances
  • To aid traceability, a requirement of Quality Assurance schemes such as Freshcare

Growers are encouraged to be aware of what information should be on a label.

For more information about the campaign and how to ensure you are sourcing quality fertilisers, visit the website.

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