Management of banana pests and diseases in North Queensland (BA17005)
What was it all about?
From 2018 to 2021, this investment supported an Australian Banana Growers’ Council Plant Health Liaison Officer (PHLO) to assist North Queensland banana growers contain and manage significant pests and diseases and help in the early detection of exotic pests and diseases.
The role involved conducting surveillance for leaf diseases on all North Queensland farms, educating growers and the local industry on biosecurity matters, supporting best practice disease management and adoption of on-farm biosecurity measures, and providing guidance in future biosecurity surveillance and management strategies.
The project was highly successful with comprehensive disease surveillance data collected from all farms in the North Queensland region. Biosecurity Best Management Practice concepts for disease control were promoted through a wide range of educational material and activities, for example the Best Management Practices Manual as well the dissemination of information through various media channels to growers, aerial operators, agronomists, government and research bodies, and the communities of North Queensland.
Through the work of the PHLO, close to 100 per cent compliance with the relevant leaf spot guidelines was achieved in North Queensland through a voluntary industry approach and a greater proportion of growers had improved their on-farm biosecurity practices. This enhanced biosecurity for the whole banana industry as low disease levels 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.
Data generated through this project is an important resource to monitor and understand disease outbreaks in the target region, assess compliance with recommended banana guideline and contribute to evidence of ongoing freedom from Black Sigatoka.
Professional working partnerships with BQ and AgriScience Queensland (ASQ) were also facilitated through the PHLO, which enhances overall biosecurity for the banana industry. These relationships are of key importance for the ongoing management and containment of TR4 and assisting growers to meet their biosecurity obligations.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the banana research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.
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