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Ongoing project

Banana integrated pest and disease management program (BA21004)

Key research provider: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

What's it all about?

This investment is working to increase the banana industry’s knowledge of significant pests and diseases and how to control them using integrated pest and disease management strategies that will reduce the reliance on broad-spectrum insecticides and fungicides.

The project will work with established networks in the banana industry to communicate and extend new knowledge and practices on integrated pest and disease management that will maximise adoption across the banana industry.

For the management of bunch and foliar pests, the research team will evaluate insecticides, botanicals, microbial pathogens, insect and mite predators, and cultural practices for their use and efficacy in an integrated management approach.

For the management of yellow Sigatoka, the research team will evaluate a combination of chemical sprays, cultural practices to reduce inoculum load and bunch trimming/pruning.

A systems approach toward managing high priority insect pests and diseases is a future pathway for the banana industry. 

Project activities on bunch pest management have been initiated and are assessing entomopathogens such as Metarhizium rileyi and Beauvaria bassiana using laboratory assays to determine their efficacy against flower thrips, banana rust thrips, and banana scab moth.  Collection methods for each of the three target bunch pests has been developed, along with a technique to rear scab moth. These methods and techniques are required to obtain appropriate numbers for laboratory testing. Successful candidates from the initial laboratory screening will be further evaluated in the field and the entomopathogens deployed using different techniques (spore suspension sprays, bell injection and impregnated wicks) and different combinations of entomopathogens to provide multi-pest target solutions.

The entomopathogen network previously established was held again for discussions to assist project members and to facilitate information and knowledge transfer.

Six biological parasites and predators including: three mites (Hypoaspis, Cucumeris, Montdorensis), a predatory bug (Orius tantillus), an egg parasite (Trichogramma pretiosum), and the green lacewing (Mallada signatus) are also being assessed for their ability to control the three main bunch pests in field trials on South Johnstone Research Facility (SJRF).

The first fungicide program evaluation trial has been initiated with four fungicide treatments applied to the block.  The trial will compare the two industry standard programs based on the protectants chlorothalonil and mancozeb against ten additional programs. The overall aim is to determine the level of yellow Sigatoka (Pseudocercospora musae) control that can be achieved with alternative registered fungicides in the absence of chlorothalonil and mancozeb. 

The cultural practice of deleafing is critical in the management of leaf diseases such as yellow Sigatoka. One coastal site (Woopen Creek) and another on the Atherton Tablelands (Tolga) have been selected to evaluate grower practices versus recommended best practice for deleafing and to follow the practice through to harvest to evaluate the effect on yield.

During this reporting period, the following has been achieved:

  • A report detailing research on integrate bunch pest management is being produced. This is the initial field trial to assess the efficacy of biologicals (insects) to manage rust thrip, flower thrip and scab moth. Treatments have been selected and a field trial has been designed.
  • A report detailing research on integrated foliar pest mite management is being produced. This is the initial field trial to determine the most efficacious rate of predatory mites to control pest mites. Treatments have been selected and a field trial plan has been developed.
  • Pathology and entomology diagnostics have been sourced. The diagnostic results are from samples submitted through industry. 18 samples have been submitted for pest and disease identifications, with results disseminated to the provider.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Banana Fund