Panama disease tropical race 4

Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) is a serious disease of banana plants that has been found on farms in Far North Queensland.

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:

  • Cavendish
  • Lady Finger
  • Ducasse.

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:

  • vehicles
  • equipment
  • animals
  • heavy rainfall
  • floods.

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.

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:

  • vehicles
  • machinery
  • tools
  • 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.

Use these resources to help implement an effective farm biosecurity plan.

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). These loans can be used to invest in control measures to protect farms from biosecurity risks.

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