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Suspected case of panama disease in Tully

DISEASE CONCERN: Far North banana growers are nervously waiting for test results after a suspected Panama TR4 disease.
DISEASE CONCERN: Far North banana growers are nervously waiting for test results after a suspected Panama TR4 disease. Contributed

BIOSECURITY authorities and Far North banana growers are nervously waiting for test results after a suspected Panama TR4 disease outbreak near Tully.

Samples taken from banana plants on a property have returned a positive result for the banana crop destroying disease.

Biosecurity Queensland's chief biosecurity officer Dr Jim Thompson said a final positive result cannot be given until diagnostic tests are completed by a plant biosecurity lab in Brisbane

The test could take up to six weeks to complete.

"The property owners are working with Biosecurity Queensland to control and contain any disease and mitigate the risk of further spread,” Dr Thompson said.

"They're exceptionally proactive and already have strict on-farm biosecurity measures in place on their property.

"The property owners are erecting exclusion fencing around the area to minimise the potential risk of disease spread while diagnostic testing is completed.

"We will be working with them and the peak industry body, the Australian Banana Growers' Council, to provide support and advice as required.

Panama TR4 disease was first detected on Cavendish banana plants on a farm in the Tully Valley, North Queensland on March 3, 2015.

The disease is not harmful to humans and does not affect the fruit.

The fungus only affects the health of the plant and its ability to produce fruit.

"Prompt reporting of plants with suspected symptoms of Panama disease is a legal requirement, and critical to successful containment of the disease. Early detection and destruction of infected plants helps to slow any spread,” Dr Thompson said.

"Growers are urged to maintain their on-farm biosecurity to protect their properties from Panama disease tropical race 4.

"As the disease is spread through soil, mud and infected plant material, it is essential that people, vehicles and machinery and equipment are appropriately decontaminated on property entry and exit.”

If you suspect Panama disease in your plants, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. To find out more about Panama disease tropical race 4 visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au.

Topics:  banana industry far north queensland panama tully


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