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Friday 31 May 2013

Farm Practices and R&D

Naomi King

Development Horticulturalist, DAFFQ

Naomi King works as a Development Horticulturalist with DAFFQ. She has a passion for agriculture and the banana industry having grown up on her family’s farm at El Arish in Far North Queensland. After completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) in 2002 she worked as an Industry Development Officer for the Australian Papaya industry and then for Total Grower Services as a banana agronomist.

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Developing a Best Management Practices Guideline for the Australian Banana Industry

The Australian banana industry has embarked on developing a Best Management Practices (BMP) guideline. The Banana BMP is a voluntary guideline that brings together the latest industry information canvassed from growers, consultants, researchers and service providers. The Banana BMP focuses on improving the environmental integrity of the Australian banana industry by encouraging a system of continual assessment and improvement.

The guideline endeavours to provide practical examples that are banana specific to assist growers in their management decisions. An overview of the development process will be provided along with a demonstration of how the online guidelines can be used.

Marc Darveniza

Director, ABGC

Marc is a banana farmer in FNQ based in Innisfail on the banks of the South Johnstone River. Married with five school-aged children and living on the farm, he is keen to provide a safe and environmentally sustainable farming enterprise.

Having been on the Banana Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) since its inception, he has been an active participant in the working groups involved in coordinatoring an approach to get a National Best Practice Environmental Operating System for the Australian banana industry. Environmental credibility for the banana industry was considered a high priority at the IAC's first future planning workshops. Marc has had his own accredited enviromental system on farm now for several years and, as a director of the ABGC, is its respresentative to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. This also involves him being a Reef Guardian Farmer and practising suitable eco-friendly farm practices.

Read Session Overview

Developing a Best Management Practices Guideline for the Australian Banana Industry

The Australian banana industry has embarked on developing a Best Management Practices (BMP) guideline. The Banana BMP is a voluntary guideline that brings together the latest industry information canvassed from growers, consultants, researchers and service providers. The Banana BMP focuses on improving the environmental integrity of the Australian banana industry by encouraging a system of continual assessment and improvement.

The guideline endeavours to provide practical examples that are banana specific to assist growers in their management decisions. An overview of the development process will be provided along with a demonstration of how the online guidelines can be used.

Christine Milne

Senator, Leader, Australian Greens

Senator Christine Milne, Senator for Tasmania and Leader of the Australian Greens, is one of Australia's most experienced and respected environmental and community activists, with a career spanning 30 years.

After leading a highly successful alliance of farmers, fishers, scientists, environmentalists and concerned community members from Wesley Vale to prevent the construction of a polluting pulp mill, Christine was elected to the Tasmanian parliament in 1989, and became the first woman to lead a political party in Tasmania in 1993. She was elected to the Senate in 2004, and elected Deputy Leader of the Greens by her colleagues in 2008.

Christine's vision, her deep policy knowledge about climate change and her unparalleled experience with power-sharing minority governments led to the establishment of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee and its successful negotiations to design the Clean Energy Future package which will place innovation, opportunity and clean energy at the forefront of the transformation of the Australian economy for the 21st century.

Lynton Vawdrey

Principal Plant Pathologist, DAFFQ

Lynton is the Principal Plant Pathologist, Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. He has some 25 years' research experience in the identification and chemical and cultural management of the foliar and soil-borne diseases of banana, papaya and exotic fruits. Lynton regularly collaborates with chemical company representives in evaluating the efficacy and properties of ‘new chemistry’ fungicides in the control of yellow Sigatoka of banana and has played a significant role in the development of field strategies to prevent fungicide resistance to yellow Sigatoka.

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Managing Yellow Sigatoka and Fungicide Resistance

The successful management of yellow Sigatoka (Mycosphaerella musicola) is dependent on the integration of de-leafing, trash management and the use of fungicides. Growers should remove leaf spot affected leaf regularly, commence systemic fungicide spray programs at the onset of the wet season, adhere to anti-resistance strategies for all systemic fungicides and apply mineral oil (3.5-5 L/ha) with all fungicide sprays.

A loss of sensitivity to propiconazole and tebuconazole (DMI fungicide group) was first detected in yellow Sigatoka populations in Australia in the mid 1990s. Recent testing has indicated that there is now resistance in the strobilurin fungicides trifloxystrobin and pyraclostrobin.

Kathy Grice

Senior Plant Pathology Experimentalist, DAFFQ

Kathy is a Senior Technical Officer working in the field of plant pathology for the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and is based in Mareeba. For over 20 years, Kathy has been involved in banana research projects with the main focus being on chemical and cultural control practices, fungicide resistance management and the identification of the Sigatoka-related leaf diseases.

Read Session Overview

Managing Yellow Sigatoka and Fungicide Resistance

The successful management of yellow Sigatoka (Mycosphaerella musicola) is dependent on the integration of de-leafing, trash management and the use of fungicides. Growers should remove leaf spot affected leaf regularly, commence systemic fungicide spray programs at the onset of the wet season, adhere to anti-resistance strategies for all systemic fungicides and apply mineral oil (3.5-5 L/ha) with all fungicide sprays.

A loss of sensitivity to propiconazole and tebuconazole (DMI fungicide group) was first detected in yellow Sigatoka populations in Australia in the mid 1990’s. Recent testing has indicated that there is now resistance in the strobilurin fungicides trifloxystrobin and pyraclostrobin.

Peter Dal Santo

Principal, AgAware Consulting Pty Ltd

Peter Dal Santo has worked in agriculture since graduating with an Agricultural Science degree in 1982. Peter has been involved in the agrichemical industry for most of his working life, with some of the leading companies in Australia in a variety of roles, including sales, marketing, research and management.

In 2004, Horticulture Australia Ltd contracted AgAware Consulting P/L, where Peter is the Principle Scientist, to assist horticultural industries review their pesticide requirements, generate the necessary data and submit applications to accessing new pesticides via minor-use permits.

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The Future for Crop Protection Chemicals in Bananas

Australian banana growers have always encountered significant pest management issues as well as adverse weather, new invasive disease and insect pests, rodents, etc, to produce a quality product for the market.

A recent review of the pesticides used in banana production found that there is a range of very old and unused pesticides registered. The banana industry is either, no longer seeking, not using, or will be restricted in their access to these pesticides in the future. Many of these pesticides are also under review by the Australian authorities and their future availability is uncertain.

The Australian banana industry is seeking access to newer, IPM compatible pesticides.

A review of current and possible future pesticides for the Australian banana industry will be discussed.

Jim Thompson

Chief Biosecurity Officer, Biosecurity Queensland

Jim Thompson obtained a B.Sc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of New South Wales, a Master Resource Science (pest animal management and control) from the University of New England and a PhD from the University of Queensland (animal management and conservation). Jim has worked in 4 government agencies in Queensland and also with the NSW Department of Agriculture in research, policy and management roles. Jim is the Chief Biosecurity Officer for Biosecurity Queensland within the new Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Jim is the Queensland government representative of the National Biosecurity Committee, Chair of the Australian Weeds Committee and chaired the national working group that developed the first Australian Pest Animal Strategy in 2007.

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Biosecurity - Is it Everyone's Business?

At a national and state level it has been recognised for many years that biosecurity is a shared responsibility. For an effective biosecurity system to function, all must play a role in managing risks.

In this session, Dr Thompson will discuss government’s role in managing pre-border, border and post-border quarantine risks and will explore the role industry and the community can play in preventing and reducing biosecurity risks.

Using examples of how biosecurity risk management benefits government, community and primary industries, Dr Thompson will explain why everyone has a responsibility to manage biosecurity risks.

Satendra Kumar

Director Plant Biosecurity, NSW DPI

Dr Satendra Kumar works for the Department of Primary Industries, NSW as the Director Plant Biosecurity & Product Integrity, where he provides strategic direction and management of plant biosecurity program for the state. As the Chief Plant Protection Officer for NSW, Dr Kumar also provides strategic and scientific leadership in state wide responses to pest and disease incursions.

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Biosecurity - Is it Everyone's Business?

Biosecurity is about the protection of the economy, environment, and community from negative impacts of pests and diseases. Obviously pests and diseases can affect everybody in some way; therefore managing biosecurity is a shared responsibility.

The broad goals of biosecurity program are to manage pest and disease risks by:

  • Preparedness and prevention of their entry,
  • early detection, containment and eradication on new entries,
  • transition to management where eradication is not technically feasible and financially justifiable, and
  • effectively minimising the impacts of established pests and diseases and those that cannot be eradicated.

The presentation is about biosecurity threats and the continuum of pest and disease management responsibilities from government to a householder and everybody in between.

David Peasley

Principal, Peasley Horticultural Services

David Peasley, Horticultural Consultant (formerly Program Leader – Tropical Fruit with NSW Department of Agriculture) has 38 years of field experience with the Australian banana industry, particularly in the subtropics.

David has extensive knowledge and practical experience of risk assessment and development of control/containment strategies to safeguard industry from both endemic and exotic pests and diseases. He has chaired and coordinated major national programs with regard to banana plant health, import risk assessments, and Bunchy Top eradication as well as advising ABGC on strategic planning and review initiatives.

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Biosecurity – Is it Everyone's Business?

Times are changing.

Shrinking budgets and changing government priorities are impacting on the level of research and regulatory ‘core’ services we once took for granted from state-based agencies.

The Australian banana industry has recognised the need for change by investing with HAL in the Banana Plant Protection Program and implementing science-based surveillance and disease management programs on major diseases backed by a database system which will include diagnostic and surveillance information for all pests and diseases.

Communication and cooperation at the farm, industry, community, state and federal level is needed to make biosecurity everyone’s business - because biosecurity is essential for food security.

André Drenth

Associate Professor, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAFFI), University of Queensland

André is a Principal Research Fellow in the Centre for Plant Science at the University of Queensland and is based at the EcoScience Precinct in Dutton Park.

André has over 22 years' experience in the development of management strategies for diseases in a range of different crops in agriculture, horticulture and forestry in Australia and internationally.

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Banana Plant Protection Program: We Have Much to Protect.

Production of bananas, like many horticultural crops, is under continuous pressure from attack by pest and diseases who reduce yield and quality of the fruit and profitability to the grower. Vegetative propagation of bananas and a large number of exotic pathogens add additional challenges.

In order to keep plants healthy in a cost effective manner the banana industry is funding an integrated program of plant protection which deals with disease resistance, biosecurity and exotic pathogens, integrated management of endemic pests and diseases, and building and maintaining capabilities to reduce the impact of pests and diseases now and in the future.

Mike Smith

Associate Professor, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAFFI), University of Queensland

Mike is a senior principal scientist with Queensland’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and is based at Maroochy Research Facility, near Nambour. He has been involved with the Australian banana industry for 28 years with a focus on tissue culture, development and evaluation of new banana varieties, and more recently with soil health research.

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Banana Plant Protection - Are There Any Resistant Varieties Out There?

Genetic resistance to banana diseases, especially resistance to Fusarium wilt, is one of the best approaches to prevent crop losses and disease resistant varieties have allowed the world’s banana industry to recover from serious disease epidemics in the past. There are several international banana breeding programs devoted to developing varieties with genetic resistance to pests and diseases.

In addition, selection of more disease tolerant clones of established Cavendish varieties has been possible, and when combined with improved hygiene and management practices, commercial production is possible. This presentation will discuss these various approaches to variety improvement and give a current update on our efforts to import and evaluate these varieties under Australian conditions.

John Thomas

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAFFI), University of Queensland

Dr John Thomas is a plant virologist, based at the Ecosciences Precinct at Dutton Park. His research focuses on the identification and control of plant virus diseases, especially those affecting tropical and sub-tropical crops. These aims are achieved through molecular characterisation of viruses and the development of diagnostic assays, epidemiological studies and collaborations with plant breeders and tissue culture specialists.

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Impact and Management of Banana Viruses

The Australian banana industry was nearly destroyed by banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) at the beginning of the 20th Century; by 1925, 90% of the area in northern New South Wales that had been producing bananas in 1922 had gone out of production as a result of the virus. Charles Magee, through meticulous research, came up with a virus control program allowing the rehabilitation of the industry. Now in the 21st Century, BBTV is well-controlled in Australia and there are prospects for eradication in the near future. However, many other virus threats remain and a decrease in vigilance could lead to problems like those experienced 100 years ago. In this talk, the latest research on viruses affecting bananas will be described.

Juliane Henderson

University of Queensland

Dr Juliane Henderson is a Research Fellow specialising in molecular diagnostics at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI). Juliane has worked for the Australian banana industry for 13 years and led the team responsible for the molecular tests used during the 2001 black Sigatoka eradication in Tully. Juliane currently has projects looking at advanced methods for detecting exotics including Sigatoka diseases, Fusarium wilt ‘Tropical Race 4’ and banana Freckle disease. Recently Juliane’s team has begun investigating diagnostics for new banana wilt threats including Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) and Banana Wilt Associated Phytoplasma (BWAP), as well as molecular methods for fast detection of yellow Sigatoka resistance to strobilurin fungicides.

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Disease Diagnostics: How to Look for Something You Don’t Want to Find

What are disease diagnostics? Why do we need them? What could happen if we didn’t have a diagnostic ‘toolkit’ and the people who know how to use the tools in it? From observing symptoms in the field to diagnosis in the laboratory, we all play a vital role in disease detection and diagnosis. This presentation will look at the role of diagnostic technologies in helping to protect the banana industry from endemic and exotic diseases. You will also learn how, using the same molecular technologies used in medical pathology and through collaboration worldwide, we are looking for three of the most devastating bacterial and fungal banana pathogens which we don’t ever want to find in Australia.

Naomi King

Managing Panama TR4 - the Taiwanese and Chinese Approach

Tropical Race 4 panama disease is one of the greatest threats to sustainable banana production. Once established in the soil this disease can never be eliminated.

Mort Johnston Professional Development Scholarship recipient Naomi King attended the International Banana Symposium in Taiwan and then travelled on to the Guangzhou Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China in order to gain a better understanding of how these countries and other international producers are managing the disease.

The lack of a commercially viable banana variety that is completely resistant to panama disease means that producers need to look at the whole production system and implement a range of practices in order to remain viable.

Sam Fraser-Smith

University of Queensland

Sam Fraser-Smith is a PhD student at the University of Queensland working, on Fusarium wilt of banana, in the laboratory of Associate Professor Elizabeth Aitken.

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Banana Plant Protection Workshop

Fusariumoxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), causal agent of Fusarium wilt of banana, is among the most destructive pathogens of banana and plantain. The development of a molecular diagnostic capable of reliably distinguishing between the various races of the pathogen is of key importance to disease management. However, attempts to distinguish isolates by race using standard conserved household genes as molecular targets have been largely unsuccessful. Using a PCR and sequencing approach, we identified molecular targets which allow us to distinguish Race 4 isolates from Race 1&2 isolates and then further discriminate between Tropical Race and Subtropical Race 4 isolates.