Biose­cu­rity tips for cyclone sea­son

Tablelands Advertiser - - RURAL INSIGHT - Kimberley Vlasic

SEG­RE­GAT­ING flood-prone ar­eas be­fore a cyclone is one of the ways Far North­ern ba­nana farm­ers can stop the spread of a dev­as­tat­ing plant dis­ease.

They have been urged to take ex­tra pre­cau­tions this cyclone sea­son to pro­tect the in­dus­try from Panama dis­ease Trop­i­cal Race 4. The soil­borne fun­gus is cur­rently con­fined to one farm in the Tully Val­ley but is eas­ily spread by the move­ment of soil and wa­ter, and can lie dormant in the soil for decades.

“There would be some things that are be­yond any­one’s con­trol, such as flood­ing and wind, how­ever, the AusTHE tralian Ba­nana Grow­ers’ Coun­cil’s Biose­cu­rity Ex­ten­sion team has rec­om­mended sev­eral ac­tions in a fact sheet to re­duce the risk of spread­ing TR4 in the event of a cyclone,” said ABGC chief ex­ec­u­tive Jim Pekin.

Grow­ers are asked to con­sider the fol­low­ing:

En­sure you have ac­cess to clean plant­ing ma­te­rial: It is prefer­able for all grow­ers to plan ahead and set up a tis­sue cul­ture-sourced nurs­ery on their own prop­erty in a se­cure area. Bits and suck­ers from the nurs­ery can then be used for re­plant­ing.

Plant ma­te­rial: A lot of waste ba­nana plant ma­te­rial will need to be cleaned up af­ter a cyclone. Avoid dump­ing it in ar­eas out­side your farm.

Soil move­ment: Ma­te­rial car­ried in flood­wa­ters is be­yond any­one’s con­trol, how­ever grow­ers may be able to con­trol the move­ment of peo­ple, ve­hi­cles, ma­chin­ery, tools and equip­ment car­ry­ing po­ten­tially con­tam­i­nated soil. If work­ers, emer­gency ser­vices and vol­un­teers need to ac­cess your prop­erty try to en­sure that good biose­cu­rity prac­tices are main­tained.

Be­fore a cyclone, it is prefer­able to de­fine and seg­re­gate ar­eas where flood­ing may bring soil or ba­nana plant ma­te­rial onto the farm. To view the fact sheet in full, visit

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