Growers' e-bulletin - 24 May, 2024

Growers’ e-bulletin – 24 May, 2024


ABGC Board Meeting

Tr4 Program update, Code of Practice consultation & CCRC meeting

Chemical update – chlorpyrifos and sulfur dust

Disaster assistance update

Palm scheme reminder

Banana rep in Ag Leadership program

Fallow management callout



Podcast: Banana plan to tackle waste

Data analytics to help your business

Virtual tour: field trials at South Johnstone

Tackling crown end rot 


NSW grower field day @ Tropical Fruit World

Bunch spray forum in FNQ

Have your say on Hort Innovation

Nuffield Australia Scholarships 


ABGC Board Meeting 

The ABGC Board and leadership team met at South Johnstone and via Teams on 16-17 May.

Key items to note include:

TR4 Program

The industry-led TR4 Program is now at a crossroads. As you may have read in previous e-bulletins, the surveillance aspect of the program is currently paused due to low numbers of growers returning the required data-sharing form. If you want to follow up your form, please contact Program Manager Geoff Wilson:

In response to this low uptake, and considering feedback from industry, the ABGC Board agreed to investigate alternative options for the program. Growers can expect to hear more from ABGC about these options as they are developed. The Board is committed to supporting industry to contain and manage this disease.

The Board also met with a number of Innisfail-based growers on Thursday night. A sincere thank you to those who stayed late into the evening to share their ideas and thoughts about the Program – now and for the future. 

Code of Practice consultation

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council, on behalf of industry, is proposing changes to the Panama TR4 Code of Practice, to allow for smaller destruction zones. The changes proposed continue to protect industry while offering a more workable solution to those currently farming with the disease. 

Consultation is open until 11 June for growers to provide feedback on the proposed changes.

Provide feedback, and see the current and proposed changes side-by-side and more here.

Call or email Program Manager Geoff Wilson with any questions or feedback on 0418 644 068.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council

The Board had the opportunity to meet with a number of representatives from Cassowary Coast Regional Council. They were able to discuss a range of issues including a proposed rate rise (in which Advocacy Manager Kathryn Dryden has been representing industry). Thank you to the councillors and staff who gave up their time to attend.

Chemical update

Chlorpyrifos permit extension

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has recently informed the industry of the extension of PER14240V5 for Chlorpyrifos / Bananas / Sugarcane bud moth, Banana scab moth, Banana rust thrips, Caterpillars, Mealy bugs. Details here.

Possible use of Sulfur dust to assist in thrips control – we need your feedback!

  • Minor use permit PER9409 allows the application of sulfur dust to banana bunches for the control of
  • The permit is valid in Queensland and New South Wales and is currently being renewed.
  • There is some indication in recent pilot studies, that Sulfur dust may also have efficacy againstthrips, and some banana growers are keen to see the permit changed to include thrips.
  • This would require a full suite of efficacy trials conducted over at least two seasons to gain data to support the use on thrips.
  • These trials cost money, so we need the support of a significant portion of the industry to advance the process .

If you support the idea of ABGC pursuing the use of sulfur dust for thrips control, please send an email to the ABGC R&D Manager Rosie Godwin, by 10th June 2024

Please include in your email: 

  • Your name
  • Reason (s) you support the permit change.

ABGC website information

You can view current permits for the banana industry on the ABGC’s website.

Disaster assistance update

TC Jasper deadline approaching, ABGC pushing for extension

Applications for Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants, for those affected by Tropical Cyclone Jasper (13-28 December, 2023), close 28 June 2024.

The ABGC is aware of many grower concerns around this looming deadline, with prolonged wet weather in Far North Queensland and limited qualified tradespeople hampering recovery efforts.

The ABGC has written to Minister Furner to ask for an extension and will inform growers of any outcomes as soon as possible.  We thank the Cassowary Coast Regional Council for their support on this matter.

Palm Scheme Reminder

From 1 July 2024, requirements for minimum hours for short-term workers change. 30 hours must be offered every week, rather than averaged out over a period of time. 

Banana rep in Ag Leadership program

Congratulations to Tully grower and proud industry advocate Jenny Crema who will be taking part in the National Farmers Federation ‘Diversity in Agriculture Leadership’ program.

Seeking grower experiences in fallow management

Do you plant a fallow crop? Have you been using a mixed species fallow? Do you want to try something new in your fallow, but don’t know how?

The BMP team would like to hear from growers about innovative practices in fallow management. If you have anything that you think might be relevant, either practices from your own property or things you’ve seen elsewhere, we’d love to hear from you! Contact Eleanor Sibree on 0447 000 203 or email


You can now get to know your ABGC staff and the projects they are working on via #abgcatwork

Molly is one of BMP crew and works with growers to support them with practice change. Click through to learn more about Molly’s role and meet the rest of the team.


Podcast: Banana plan to tackle food waste

Keen to know more about the banana industry’s involvement in reducing food waste?

ABGC’s R&D Manager Dr Rosie Godwin and End Food Waste Australia’s Melissa Smith recently joined the Food Waste Matters podcast to speak about the Horticulture Sector Action Plans launched earlier this year.

Rosie speaks about the challenges and opportunities facing bananas going forward.

Free farm business tool to analyse data

Get free access to Opttimo IQ, a new and improved form of data analytics and practical insights to support growers in their business decisions and profitability.

Unlike historical benchmarking projects that offered growers limited scope and information at a point in time, Opttimo IQ continuously provides a greater range of data analytics in an interactive dashboard. 

Virtual tour: field trials at South Johnstone

Join principal horticulturist Jeff Daniells, from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, on a virtual tour of evaluation trials at South Johnstone Research Facility in Far North Queensland. This tour features Lady Finger-like selections and sugar banana hybrids.

Tackling crown end rot

Sellars Bananas are renowned for producing premium quality bananas. However, frustratingly, even when supplying the best quality fruit at the farm gate, fungal organisms can wreak havoc with consignments down the supply chain.

Feedback from market agents is, they are not alone. Naomi Brownrigg from Sellars Bananas shares their experience with Crown End Rot and what they have put into place to manage it. 


NSW grower field day

Where: Tropical Fruit World (NSW)

When: Tuesday 28 May, 10:30am to 2:30pm

Come listen and learn about soil health and how to understand your soil tests. You’ll also be able to enjoy a farm tour, including a banana plantation walk-and-talk showcasing niche and alternative varieties. Lunch included and transport for southern NSW growers available. Please follow the link to sign up. 

Bunch spray forum in FNQ

When: Friday 21 June 2024 | 9.30am 12.30pm followed by lunch.

Where: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries | Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture – Experimental Station Road, Boogan

A bunch spray forum is being held to support growers who are currently bunch spraying and those looking to transition from dusting. Many growers are already making the switch, both due to the limited product availability of chlorpyrifos and in anticipation of APVMA’s final review decision regarding its registration.

Please RSVP by Monday 17 June by contacting:

Tegan Cavallaro – or 0459 846 053.

Ingrid Jenkins – or 0497 801 980.

Hort Innovation survey

Hort Innovation want feedback from growers and partners to help to deliver value and impact for growers, invest strategically to address challenges and opportunities, and ultimately help the industry we all care about to prosper.

Register to complete the survey.

Nuffield Scholarships 

Applications are now open for 2025 Nuffield Scholarships. 

Nuffield Scholarships award primary producers with a life-changing scholarship to travel overseas and study an agricultural topic of choice to increase their knowledge, management, and leadership skills. It is a 14-week study program consisting of both group and individual travel. Applications close on May 31.

Please note, member and advocacy related content is funded by the ABGC.