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

The soilborne Panama TR4 fungus enters the plant through the roots and blocks the plant's vascular system, causing it to wilt and die.

Panama TR4 can't be eradicated and can survive dormant in the soil for decades without host plants. It is easily spread by movement of contaminated soil and water and infected planting material.

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 was updated in July 2018. The kit brings together the latest information about the disease and on-farm biosecurity practices specifically for banana growers. We have mailed 1 kit to each farm in north Queensland. You can also access the grower kit online.

The kit includes:

  • information about the disease
  • best management practices for on-farm biosecurity
  • Panama TR4 readiness 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.

What you can do to protect your farms

Good on-farm biosecurity measures are critical to protect farms from Panama TR4 and to contain the disease if it is detected on a farm. It's very important to manage the movement of soil, water and plant material entering and exiting a farm.

Equipment and items that have come into contact with plant or soil material such as vehicles, machinery, tools, clothing and boots, have the potential to spread the disease. The decontamination guide, which details personal and vehicle and machinery decontamination procedures to help prevent disease spread, is available in English, Hmong (PDF, 1.2MB) and Punjabi (PDF, 1.6MB) .

The Banana best management practices on-farm biosecurity guide is a comprehensive resource that can assist growers to implement an effective farm biosecurity plan. The self assessment checklist helps growers to evaluate their current farm biosecurity measures and identify where they can be improved.

Some on-farm biosecurity measures can include:

  • zoning, which can provide 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.

Financial assistance

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.

Support services

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.

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