A banana farm in Queensland’s Tully Valley has tested positive for Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) disease, also known as fusarium wilt.
Samples from the banana plants in the farm returned a positive result from a initial molecular test, though further testing is need before a conclusive positive result can be given, according to Biosecurity Queensland.
The test could take four to six weeks to complete, and if positive, it will be the second farm infected with panama disease since it was detected on a Cavendish banana farm in March 2015.
While not harmful to people, the disease is detrimental to banana plants and affects the plants ability to produce fruit.
Biosecurity Queensland chief biosecurity officer, Jim Thompson, said that the property owners are putting up exclusion fencing to minimise the spread of the disease.
“We will be working with [the property owners] and the peak industry body, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) to provide support and advice as required,” Thompson said. “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.”
ABGC chair Stephen Lowe has also urged growers to ramp-up biosecurity measures, such as removing soil and plant material from machinery and footwear before entering and exiting farms.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the property owners for their prompt response in reporting the suspect plants to authorities,” Lowe said. “Their reporting of this is imperative to control the fungus spreading further and affecting more farms.”