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An Australian banana farm operating with Panama tropical race 4 (TR4) has had another suspect plant sent for testing for the disease.

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) said the suspect plant was found on the property in Tully, Queensland, through routine on-farm surveillance.

An initial molecular test of the plant has returned a positive result for TR4, however, it could be several weeks before definitive test results from further biological testing are known.

“From the perspective of the grower involved it is obviously disappointing,” said ABGC chair Stephen Lowe.

“However, this farm has been operating under strict risk-minimisation biosecurity control measures since its initial detection, and a further suspect plant does not change the biosecurity situation on this property, because they are already successfully operating with this disease.”

The same farm had an initial positive TR4 detection confirmed on 26 July 2017. Given the disease has spread rapidly in other markets around world, Lowe said it was remarkable the property has gone almost 12 months without any new detections.

“This is testament to our world-class biosecurity practices, which have been adopted on this farm, and have proven to slow the spread of this disease,” he explained.