TR4 confirmed at Australia's largest banana operation
Queensland Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne has announced Panama disease Tropical Race IV (TR4) has been confirmed at Australia's largest banana operation.
In mid-July authorities said there had been a suspected detection of the devastating disease at 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.
Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) has advised the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) that vegetative compatibility group tests have conclusively confirmed the presence of TR4 through samples taken from the farm.
The ABGC strongly urges growers to be vigilant in their on-farm biosecurity measures in light of this news.
“We are obviously very disappointed for the farm family involved. At the same time, we are grateful as an industry that they have been proactive in bringing the suspect samples to the attention of BQ,” ABGC chair Stephen Lowe said.
“This confirmation of TR4 is certainly not a good result for the industry, and I urge every grower in the north to ramp up on-farm biosecurity to minimise the risk of further spread.”
He added the farm family had isolated and stopped all access to the infected block.
The family had good biosecurity in place prior to the detection and have since improved that some more, a release said.
It has been more than two years since the first detection of TR4 on a banana property in Tully and ABGC said it was confident every means possible was being taken to protect the remainder of the Australian banana industry.
“The industry expected TR4 to spread and growers have been preparing for this,” Mr Lowe said.
There is also no expectation that supply will be challenged.