Australia: Latest TR4 detection on country's largest banana operation

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Australia: Latest TR4 detection on country's largest banana operation

The most recent detection of the devastating Panama Disease Tropical Race IV (TR4) in Australia was reportedly at a farm belonging to the country's largest growing operation. 

Local media ABC News said the suspected victim was Mackays Bananas, a major family-run business in far north Queensland, where more than 80% of Australia's bananas are grown within a 100-kilometer radius.

The company first started growing the tropical fruit around 100 years ago, according to the story.

Australian authorities on Wednesday announced a suspect TR4 detection on a Tully farm after initial samples taken from banana plants returned positive. 

The block in question has now been quarantined while laboratory tests on the samples are carried out. Final results are not expected for a few weeks.

ABC reported Mackays was regarded as an industry leader, with a vertically-integrated banana operation that has set a benchmark for biosecurity protocols, innovation and on-farm practices. Family member Cameron Mackay himself was once a president of the Australian Banana Growers' Council (ABGC).

The family has not yet publicly commented on the positive test, but Biosecurity Queensland said the farm would continue to send fruit to market under strict biosecurity protocols, according to the story.

Innisfail banana farmer Jade Buchanan reportedly said this latest development was a wake-up call for the industry. For now, however, thoughts are with the Mackay family.

"They're progressive, they're at the forefront of their game, they won't take this lightly and they'll do everything in their power to control the spread of something that is really quite devastating for an industry that is so important for our country," he was quoted as saying.

TR4 was first confirmed in Queensland in March 2015, but in Australia it first appeared in the neighboring Northern Territory back in 1997.




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