Panama disease tropical race 4: information and resources for banana growers
Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) is a serious disease of banana plants that has been found on farms in Far North Queensland. We have developed a number of resources to help you protect your farm from Panama TR4.
Understanding Panama TR4
Panama TR4 is a soilborne fungal disease that enters through the roots and starves the plant of water and nutrients, causing the plant to wilt and die.
Panama TR4 can infect most banana varieties including:
- Lady Finger
The disease is among the greatest threats to worldwide banana production. In some countries, the impact on industries and livelihoods has been devastating. We need to manage the disease in Far North Queensland or the same impact may occur.
The disease can’t be eradicated and can survive undetected in the soil for decades. We can’t identify Panama TR4 until banana plants show external signs of infection.
You can easily spread the disease if you move:
- infected banana plants and planting material
- contaminated soil and water.
People and machinery movement are the biggest risk to spreading the disease, but it can also be spread by:
- heavy rainfall
Read a full description and more details about Panama TR4.
Find more information on preparing for Panama TR4.
Panama TR4 grower kit
The Panama TR4 grower kit brings together the latest information about the disease, on-farm biosecurity practices and support services, specifically for Far North Queensland banana growers. You may have received a grower kit in the mail, if you have a farm in Far North Queensland.
The kit includes:
- information about the disease
- best management practices for on-farm biosecurity
- biosecurity checklist
- information about checking plants for the disease
- visitor register template
- farm gate signage template
- decontamination guide
- wash-down designs
- information for banana farm workers and contractors
- legal obligations
- diagnostic testing for Panama disease
- managing feral pigs
- frequently asked questions
- support services and handy contacts.
Protecting your farm
Good on-farm biosecurity measures are critical to protect farms from Panama TR4 and to contain the disease if it is detected. You must ensure you manage the movement of soil, water and plant material entering and exiting a farm.
Equipment and items that have come into contact with infected planting material or contaminated soil may spread the disease, such as:
- clothing boots.
On-farm biosecurity measures include:
- zoning—a simple and cost-effective way to manage disease risk pathways onto and off a farm
- footwear exchange stations and foot baths
- cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles and machinery
- setting up a clean access road.
Access the resources listed below to assist you to implement an effective farm biosecurity plan.
- Download the decontamination guide on personal, vehicle and machinery decontamination procedures to help prevent disease spread. Also access in Hmong (PDF, 1.2MB) and Punjabi (PDF, 1.6MB)
- Use the Banana best management practices: on-farm biosecurity guide—a comprehensive resource, including self-assessment checklists, to assist you to evaluate and implement an effective biosecurity plan.
- Contact the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC)—the national peak industry body advancing the interests of commercial banana growers.
- Visit farm biosecurity for information about on-farm biosecurity measures to assist producers reduce the risks posed by disease, pest and weeds on farms.
Put these information posters in your tea room or other strategic places to remind you and your staff how to prevent the spread of Panama TR4.
- A speck of dirt could hurt—Shed poster with bottle image
- Are you carrying Panama disease?—Shed poster with shoes
- Are you carrying Panama disease?—Shed poster with shorts
Contact us for A1 size (841 mm x 594 mm) versions on 07 4091 8140 or email email@example.com.
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) offers sustainability loans to eligible producers under the Queensland Government Primary Industry Productivity Enhancement Scheme (PIPES). A sustainability loan can be used to invest in control measures to protect farms from biosecurity risks.
Read more about sustainability loans for primary producers.
Living with Panama TR4 can be stressful. If you, or someone you know, needs support, there are a number of community support services available in Far North Queensland.
The Panama support service is available to individuals who may be experiencing financial, social or emotional hardship as a result of changed circumstances.
- Watch a short animated video about Panama TR4.
- Watch a short video about on-farm biosecurity for managing footwear, detailing examples of how to manage the movement of people on and off your farm, as an integral part of protecting your property from Panama TR4.
- Watch a short video on identifying symptoms and protecting your farm, showing how to identify the disease and what protection measures you can put in place on your farm.
- Check the maps of biosecurity zones for restrictions when moving banana plants and items in Queensland.
- Learn more about growing bananas, including banana crop management.
- Read about the requirements when moving equipment, plant material and soil.
- Access contact details for community support services available to north Queensland communities affected by Panama TR4.