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New case of Panama Disease confirmed in Far North Queensland

Christian Fernsby |
Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) has confirmed Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) is present on a fifth commercial banana farm in the Tully Valley.

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Topics: PANAMA DISEASE    QUEENSLAND   

With guidance from Biosecurity Queensland (BQ), the grower destroys the infected plant and all other banana plants within a 10 metre radius.

The area is covered with urea and plastic sheeting to contain the disease, and animal-proof fencing and signage restricts access.

BQ has undertaken surveillance to determine the extent of the disease on the property, and tracing investigations to identify potential disease risk pathways. No further samples have been taken from the property.

Growers can still produce bananas and trade with Panama TR4, provided they meet the biosecurity requirements. These requirements ensure no soil or plant material leaves the property.

Other farming options may be possible on Panama TR4 affected land. BQ can help assess suitability for growing other crops or grazing cattle, however biosecurity requirements will still apply.

BQ officers found a symptomatic plant during routine surveillance in August. It’s not possible to determine exactly how the disease came to be on the property. BQ has been routinely checking the property for signs of the disease since 2015.

The fungus is easily spread and can survive undetected in soil for decades. Anything that moves soil and water can move the disease - people, vehicles, machinery, equipment and animals. Natural events like heavy rainfall and floods can also move the fungus.

Testing for Panama TR4 is a very complex process. A conclusive result can take up to six weeks from the time a sample is taken from a plant.


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