A suspected case of a disease capable of wiping out banana crops has been detected on a farm in Far North Queensland.
The potentially devastating Panama TR4 disease – a soil fungus – has been detected at a Tully Valley farm.
The disease is the biggest threat to Australia’s $580 million banana industry and is the fifth case to be found infesting a property in the region since it was first detected in Queensland in 2015.
Biosecurity Queensland’s Rhiannon Evans said a surveillance team had spotted a banana plant showing symptoms of the disease during a routine inspection.
“Preliminary testing has come back positive, but further tests are needed for a conclusive result and that can take up to four weeks,” she said.
Fortunately, the grower quickly put biosecurity measures in place to prevent a potential spread of the disease.
Authorities will also ramp up checks on other banana farms across the region, Ms Evans says.
Queensland accounts for more than 90 per cent of Australia’s banana production with most of the farms based in the state’s far north.
People and machinery movement are the biggest threat of disease spread but heavy rain and flooding can also carry it
Panama TR4 is not harmful to humans and does not affect the fruit.