Biosecurity tips for cyclone season
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 www.abgc.org.au.