ANOTHER Queensland banana farm is suspected to be infected with Panama disease.
Biosecurity Queensland today announced the suspect Panama TR4 detection on a Tully farm.
The Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) has urged growers to ramp up their on-farm biosecurity measures in light of the news of this suspect detection.
ABGC chair, Stephen Lowe, said the initial molecular test has come back positive.
“It will be four to six weeks before the definitive test results are known,” Mr Lowe said.
“Nonetheless, growers need to protect their farms as this TR4 risk is not going away.”
ABGC reminded banana growers to implement effective biosecurity practices, such as removing all plant material and soil from machinery and footwear before they are brought onto their farms.
The ABGC has been advised that a grower on a property near the first infected farm in Tully, recently reported a suspect plant to Biosecurity Queensland (BQ).
Mr Lowe said that BQ took a number of samples from a part of that property which have undergone diagnostic testing over the past week in their Brisbane laboratory.
“The molecular test known as a PCR test has now come back positive for Panama TR4, and it will be several weeks before the definitive test results from a biological test are completed,” he said.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the property owners for their prompt response in reporting the suspect plants to authorities.
“Their reporting of this is imperative to control the fungus spreading further and affecting more farms.
“ABGC is working closely with the owners of this property to provide assistance and ensure every possible measure is taken to avoid the further spread of this soil borne disease.
“The farm owners have isolated and stopped all access to that block.”
The ABGC re-instated that banana fruit is not affected by Panama TR4 and it remains completely safe to eat and handle.
Mr Lowe said that TR4 only affects banana plants when the pathogen enters their root system and restricts their uptake of water, stopping them from producing harvestable bunches and eventually killing them.