National banana development and extension project (BA16007)
What was it all about?
This project, which ran from 2017 to 2020, had two components working closely together to form a national program: a tropical component specific to the Queensland industry, and a subtropical one for New South Wales and Western Australian production regions. This work will be continued through the next iteration of the extension program National banana development and extension program (BA19004).
The final research reports for each of the components can be downloaded here:
- National banana development and extension project – Queensland (BA16007)
- National banana development and extension project – Subtropical (BA16007)
This program delivered the outcomes of levy-funded and other R&D back to the banana industry, to help growers’ access and implement new information, technologies and approaches, and make better decisions for their businesses. To this end, the project employed industry development officers who delivered:
- The Better Bananas website, www.betterbananas.com.au
- National banana roadshow events, held biennially
- Field walks and industry workshops,
- Industry meetings and tours, including NextGen young banana grower group activities
- Grower training activities
- Resources, including fact sheets, videos and articles for Australian Bananas magazine
- Direct engagement with growers and others in the banana supply chain
- Innovative field trials and other research activities, detailed on the Better Bananas website here.
Here’s a closer look at just some of the key achievements of this extensive program…
Better Bananas website
The site is a new dedicated resource for growers wanting to access the latest research information and resources. This user friendly website features R&D activity updates, informative videos and an updated pest, disease and disorder identification guide.
Innovation field trials (Queensland)
Established in November 2017 at the South Johnstone Research Station, the innovation trial consists of 390 Williams Cavendish tissue culture plants, planted as a double row configuration. Agronomic assessments, such as plant height, leaf emergence and bunch characteristics are being undertaken to help understand how different treatments affect the crop. You can read more about the various findings on the Better Bananas website here.
Packed product and reject analysis (for the subtropical component)
Packed product and reject analyses were undertaken in response to fruit quality issues and production constraints identified from a survey of NSW growers conducted during previous levy-funded project New South Wales banana industry development officer (BA13025) and through discussions with wholesalers. The analysis identified the major causes of fruit defects within subtropical growing regions, and the findings were used to generate extension and communication materials to assist grower’s in the adoption of farm management practices that will improve subtropical fruit quality.
NextGen Grower’s groups
These previously established grower’s groups aim to develop the agronomic and business skills of new and emerging producers. For the subtropical component, a study tour to North Queensland was undertaken to increase awareness and exposure to other banana production systems and establish linkages with the north Queensland Nextgen banana growers.
For the tropical component, NextGen activities included visiting various businesses in Sydney prior to the 2017 Australian Banana Industry Congress, and visiting various farming enterprises on the Atherton Tablelands in 2019. At the end of 2017 and 2019 the project organised short trips to the Northern Territory, where growers gained a new appreciation for the impacts of Panama disease tropical race 4 on banana production and the efforts involved in screening and developing a variety with resistance to the disease.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Banana Fund