Integrated management of yellow Sigatoka (BA15003)
What was it all about?
Running from 2016 to 2018, this project supported the work of a Yellow Sigatoka liaison officer of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (at the time Louis Lardi, now retired).
The liaison officer’s Queensland-based role included educating growers on yellow Sigatoka and leaf speckle (‘leaf spot’) symptoms and integrated control; and assisting growers to voluntarily keep levels of leaf spot disease on their plantations below prescribed levels (less than five per cent).
The officer undertook leaf spot inspections on commercial farms and in some backyards, and was responsible for alerting Biosecurity Queensland when any other suspected banana diseases were found.
A key part of the role was also sharing information with and between growers, aerial operators, chemical sellers, government and university research staff. The officer also supported north Queensland banana growers in best practice disease management, including through the distribution of the industry’s Banana best management practices on-farm biosecurity manual, which was produced as part of the Hort Innovation Banana Fund project Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 - biosecurity and sustainable solutions (BA14013).
At the end of the project, a 97 per cent compliance rate with relevant leaf spot requirements was achieved in north Queensland – meaning greater biosecurity for the banana industry as a whole. Low disease levels also help maintain a consistent quality and supply of bananas, minimise production costs and are beneficial to the environment and workplace safety through the reduced need for chemical spraying.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Banana Fund