Panama TR4 variety screening trial

Latest update...

Williams Cavendish was the first variety to express disease symptoms in April 2019, approximately five months after planting. Disease assessments have been undertaken on a fortnightly basis since this time.
Assessments of the plant crop are still in progress. However, initial observations are promising, with three more Cavendish types as well as some CIRAD hybrids and parental lines showing good disease resistance.

Coastal Plains trial site
Plant crop of latest screening trial taken in August 2019, 8 months after planting.

Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4) continues to be a major threat to the Australian banana industry. Finding varieties that are resistant to Panama disease TR4 is a key component for continuing to produce bananas in the presence of the disease.

Over recent years variety screening trials have been running in the Northern Territory where the disease was declared endemic after its detection in the late 1990s. Work is well underway in the latest screening trial assessing resistance to Panama disease TR4 as well as agronomic traits. 

A mixture of varieties are being screened including Cavendish, novel CIRAD hybrids, and CIRAD parental lines. 

About the trial

Conducted at the Coastal Plains Research Farm the trial was established on a site infested with Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4). In summary the trial includes:

Main trial

  • 18 varieties, planted in December 2018

  • plants artificially inoculated with Panama disease TR4

  • 24 plants of each variety (6 plants per replicate over 4 replicates)

  • randomised complete block design

  • three varieties with known response to Panama disease TR4 are included in the trial; Goldfinger                                   
    (resistant), 
Formosana/GCTCV218 (intermediate) and Williams Cavendish (susceptible)

  • fortnightly assessments.

Tissue culture plants received in mid-September 2018 (Image courtesy of Northern Territory DPIR).
Planting and inoculation occured in mid-December 2018 (Image courtesy of Northern Territory DPIR).

List of varieties

Sub-trial

The sub-trial consists mainly of parental lines from the CIRAD breeding program. This is a smaller trial in number due to difficulty replicating the lines using tissue culture. Results from this trial will provide useful information back to the breeding program on the level of resistance that parent material and hybrids have to Panama disease TR4. The trial includes:

17 varieties, planted in December 2018

plants artificially inoculated with Panama disease TR4

10 plants of each variety (1 plant per replicate over 10 replicates)

randomised complete block design

fortnightly assessments.

List of varieties

Trial progress

Williams Cavendish was the first variety to show disease symptoms in April 2019, approximately five months after planting. Disease assessments have been undertaken on a fortnightly basis since this time.

Assessments of the plant crop are still in progress. However, initial observations are promising, with three more Cavendish types as well as some CIRAD hybrids and parental lines showing good disease resistance. Results will be published when available.

Image of Williams Cavendish taken in late May 2019, approximately 6 months after planting. The plant crop showing external symptoms of Panama disease TR4.
Cut pseudostem of Williams Cavendish. Image shows severe internal symptoms of the disease, with discolouration and blockage of vascular tissue. (Image courtesy of Northern Territory DPIR).
Goldfinger variety showing good disease resistance (August 2019).

More information...

This research has been funded as part of the Improved Plant Protection for the Banana Industry Program (BA16001), which is funded by Hort Innovation, using the banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Panama R1 variety screening trial

Panama disease race 1 variety screening trial (Duranbah, NSW)

Latest update...

The following varieties are growing well in the presence of Panama disease race 1 (R1) in the latest screening trial:

   • Brier—a Dwarf Cavendish selection from the Canary Islands

   • D5—a Cavendish clone from South Africa

   • JV 42.41—a Lady Finger hybrid from Brazil.

Three ‘best bet’ varieties, PKZ, FHIA-17 and FHIA-25 were selected from the previous Banana Plant Protection Project (BA10020). PKZ and FHIA-17 are dessert cultivars and FHIA-25 is a cooking banana. In February 2018, these varieties were established in a semi-commercial planting, with the first bunches harvested in August 2019. This trial aims to develop growing, ripening and handling recommendations and to undertake consumer acceptance testing of these varieties. 

Due to interest from local markets, niche varieties such as Pacific Plantain and Santa Catarina Prata have been planted at the trial site. These varieties were not included in the disease screening trial, however observations since planting indicate these varieties are susceptible to the disease.

Why screen for disease resistance to Panama disease race 1

If you are a non-Cavendish grower, then you are likely to already know the answer. Panama disease is caused by a soil borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense. The disease initially infects the banana plant through the roots, then moves through the plant into the vascular system inside the pseudostem.  It eventually blocks the vascular tissue causing plant death. Different strains of the disease are known as races. Panama disease R1 is present in many production regions in Australia and infects varieties such as Lady Finger, Ducasse and some cooking bananas, but not Cavendish. Finding banana varieties with resistance to Panama disease R1 is the focus of the subtropical variety evaluations underway at Duranbah, NSW. Results from the Duranbah trial should be relevant to all subtropical growing areas with Panama disease R1.

Dwarf Ducasse at trial site showing external symptoms of Panama disease race 1.
Cut pseudostem of Dwarf Ducasse showing internal symptoms of Panama disease race 1.

History of the Duranbah trial site

Panama disease R1 wiped out a Lady Finger plantation on the current Duranbah site over 30 years ago. The land was then used to grow other crops, including avocados, and was fallow for several years before the trial began. Now the site is used for variety screening evaluations, with the initial trial planted in February 2012 as part of the Banana Plant Protection Project (BA10020).

The variety Lady Finger is very susceptible to Panama disease R1 and tissue cultured plants of this variety were grown on the site initially to confirm the continued presence of the disease. To guarantee the disease was evenly distributed when the trials were conducted, infected millet seed was incorporated into each planting hole, ensuring each plant in the trial is being assessed under the same disease pressure. 

The initial trials included three phases: 

Phase 1 – plants were grown with the sole purpose of determining if they survived Panama disease R1.

Phase 2 – varieties that showed Panama disease R1 resistance were grown to collect growth data including plant height, girth, cycling time and bunch data.

Phase 3 – standout varieties, called ‘best bets’, are being grown in semi-commercial plantings to determine ripening and handling conditions and to undertake consumer acceptance. Phase 3 is happening in the current project,  the Improved Plant Protection Program for the Banana Industry BA16001.

Twenty-nine different varieties have been or are currently being screened for resistance to Panama disease R1. In BA10020, 13 varieties were tested and 16 are in the current trial which is part of BA16001. 

Current trial

Sixteen local and imported varieties are currently being screened in the Panama disease R1 high pressure site. Varieties are rated according to their resistance or susceptibility to the disease by rating both the development of external and internal symptoms. External symptoms include yellowing of leaves and splitting of pseudostem, while vascular discolouration is rated internally at harvest or when plants die. Samples from plants suspected to be infected with Panama disease R1 are sent for laboratory diagnostics to confirm the presence of the disease.

The plants in this evaluation were deleafed and desuckered as per commercial practice and growth data, including cycle time, bunch weight, number of fingers and finger size are being collected.

Varieties that are showing good disease resistance at the plant crop stage in the latest screening trial include: 

   • Brier – a Dwarf Cavendish selection from the Canary Islands

   • D5 – a Cavendish clone from South Africa 

   • JV 42.41 – a Lady Finger hybrid from Brazil.

The three ‘best bets’ varieties, PKZ, FHIA-17 and FHIA-25 were established in a semi-commercial planting in February 2018, in a separate block from the disease resistance evaluation trial. These varieties are managed in accordance with commercial practices to evaluate their agronomic performance under typical subtropical growing conditions. The first bunches were harvested in August 2019. Agronomic data is being collected from these plantings and the fruit is being used to develop growing, ripening and handling recommendations, and to undertake consumer acceptance testing. PKZ and FHIA-17 are dessert cultivars and FHIA-25 is a cooking banana.

And finally, due to interest from local markets the trial is also looking at some niche varieties such as Pacific Plantain and Santa Catarina Prata. Unfortunately, early observations indicate that these varieties are susceptible to Panama disease R1.

'Best bet' block in May 2019, established to evaluate the agronomic performance of banana vareities PKZ, FHIA-17 and FHIA-25.
Brier bunch. Brier is a Dwarf Cavendish selection from the Canary Islands growing well in the presence of Panama disease R1.

List of varieties

This research has been funded as part of the Improved Plant Protection for the Banana Industry Program (BA16001), which is funded by Hort Innovation, using the banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

New test helps product screening for Chalara management

New test helps product screening for Chalara management

Multiple fungal organisms are known to cause Crown end rot (CER) in bananas. The following research is focused on the more serious form of CER commonly known as Chalara where the rot extends into the fruit (caused by Thielaviopsis musarum). Disease symptoms are typically observed in the supply chain during cooler periods of the year (winter). Chalara is sporadic in occurrence, making it difficult to conduct research trials with the disease. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries researchers have now developed an inoculation technique that mimics the development of Chalara in the supply chain, enabling researchers to screen and evaluate alternative management options.

There are two post-harvest fungicides currently registered for use in Australia to help manage CER. Although these treatments are effective against the fungi that cause CER, growers have expressed a need for non-chemical options for managing the disease, particularly those with organic status.
The inoculation technique has now been used to determine efficacy of the currently registered fungicides, alternative fungicides and biological products.

Results

Overall, the inoculation technique developed is rapid and reliable and the results are reproducible. Even though the technique was specific for Chalara (T. musarum), crown mould assessments were also obtained. Ideally a successful test product should have efficacy against T. musarum and the range of fungi that cause crown mould.

Prior to conducting this research there was only anecdotal evidence that the current registered projects had efficacy against T. musarum, but this has now been confirmed, with both Tecto® and Protak® effective in halting the development of Chalara. Results also showed that some biological products are capable of managing Chalara and reducing levels of crown mould.
Participating companies have been supplied the results for their products. They can use the results to support registration applications and/or determine which products are worth investing in further trials. It is hoped this work will lead to product registration adding alternative management options for growers.
Crown end rot
Fruit inoculated in suspension of T. musarum (concentration is 1 million spores per ml).
Crown end rot
Fruit artificially inoculated with T. musarum. This photo was taken one week after inoculation, following storage and ripening under near commercial conditions.
Crown end rot
One alternative fungicide and one biological product provided excellent management of T. musarum. Photo taken of alternative fungicide.

Remember...

Before using any chemicals, always check the current registration status and read the product label. Label and permit details can be accessed via APVMA website: www.apvma.gov.au
This work was undertaken as part of the ‘Enhancing the outcomes of BA13011-Crown end rot investigations’ funded as part of Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Horticulture and Forestry Science development funding. 

Meet a researcher – David East

David East

Unravelling the little mysteries of plant diseases

Agriculture has always been a big part of David’s life. Growing up on a mixed grazing property just north of Orange in the Central Tablelands of NSW, he went on to study Systems Agriculture at The University of Western Sydney. After finishing Uni, David worked in the cotton industry in Western NSW before taking an opportunity to manage a large forestry nursery. It was David’s career in the forestry sector that led him to move to Tully with his young family, managing propagation for a large forestry company. In 2014, David decided on a different career path, taking on a technical laboratory position with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries based at South Johnstone.
Since joining the Department David has forged a successful career in plant pathology.  His current research work involves a yellow Sigatoka leaf spot trial, evaluating the effectiveness of new chemistry and ‘softer options’ for control. In addition to this work, he is also busy providing general diagnostics for the banana industry.
David East
Plant Pathologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture, South Johnstone, Qld
We asked David what is the most exciting part of his research. ‘The most exciting part of my current research is exploring new solutions to perennial problems within the banana industry. The most enjoyable part of my job is diagnostics. Each sample is its own little mystery. It is incredibly satisfying to identify the problem, explore the factors that led up to issue, and to advise ways to avoid it happening again’. 
Outside of the lab David enjoys gardening, spending time with his family, playing guitar and fishing. His favourite banana recipe is banana bread, which he often enjoys for smoko. 

Bunch pests

Bunch pest management

Managing bunch pests is important to producing good quality bananas. Control of bunch pests, including flower thrips, rust thrips and scab moth, by bell injecting, bunch spraying and/or dusting with registered insecticides is undertaken to ensure market specifications are met. 

The current focus of bunch pest research is on a range of chemical, biological and cultural controls that can be used as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. The aim of an IPM strategy is to reduce reliance on chemicals for pest control—which is important for two main reasons.

The first is that regular use of the same chemical can lead to resistance in pest populations, resulting in the chemical being no longer effective. The second is the risk of losing access to chemicals as a result of deregistration following review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

With this in mind, research is currently focused on evaluating the effectiveness of new chemistries as well as ‘softer’ biological and cultural pest control options. 

More info...

Banana bunch cover trial

The colour of your bunch covers may help control banana rust thrips

Banana rust thrips continue to be a significant pest for banana growers with levels of damage increasing in recent years. The thrips cause damage by feeding on the skin of immature banana fruit which causes reddish-brown marks. Growers are reporting that even fruit with low levels of damage are not meeting market specifications.

So what role does the colour of bunch covers play in rust thrips damage? Interest amongst researchers was sparked after previous work had shown that rust thrips respond differently to different coloured sticky traps. This prompted researchers to have a look into the effect that different coloured bunch covers have on thrips damage. The aim is to find non-chemical control methods as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy.

Bunch cover trial at South Johnstone Research Station. Orange and purple bunch covers seen in the photo had higher levels of thrips damage in the initial trial.
Severe damage caused by Banana rust thrips. In some cases splitting of the fruit skin can occur. This fruit would be rejected by the market place.
Banana rust thrips adult and nymph. Thrips cause damage to the skin of banana fruit but do not impact the eating quality of the fruit.

Initial trial results are encouraging and do show a difference in the level of damage caused by thrips depending on the colour of the bunch covers used. In this trial no chemical treatment was applied to the bunch after bell injection and the bunch cover was applied as per commercial timing. Orange, yellow and purple bunch covers showed damage above commercially acceptable levels in this scenario. The best performer was a paper bunch cover with a polyethylene ‘cloth’ liner. Light blue and white also produced similar low levels of damage compared with some other colours. 

Finger length, colour and bloom were also assessed with results indicating that bag colour has no significant effect on these fruit quality attributes. 

Based on the initial trial results growers should consider using bunch cover colours that have a low thrips damage rating. This coupled with standard insecticide treatments applied at bunch covering should provide the best level of control. Further work is underway to expand these results by testing new colour and liner combinations. Recommendations of the latest trial will be available to growers in the coming months. 

More information

This research is funded as part of the Improved Plant Protection for the Banana Industry Program (BA16001), which is funded by Hort Innovation, using the banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Banana bunch cover trial information

Effects of using different coloured bunch covers on banana rust thrips damage

About the trial

The trial looked into the effect that different coloured bunch covers have on Banana rust thrips damage. The aim is to find non-chemical control methods as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy.

The only chemical treatment applied in the trial was omethoate injected at bell emergence to ensure researchers were only measuring the influence that bunch covers had on rust thrips damage. This meant that there was no damage to the fruit before the bunch covers were put on.

As per commercial practice, bunch covers were placed on bunches when all the bracts had fallen off, approximately a fortnight after bunch emergence. At the time of bagging, the bell and the false hand plus one were removed.

Rust thrips damage was assessed at harvest by examining the surface of 5 central fingers from the top, middle and bottom hands of the bunch.

The presence and extent of damage on the fingers assessed was recorded using a scale of 0 to 4. Rating 1 is defined by a faint halo and is considered the maximum rating for a commercially acceptable level of damage.

Black arrows show the position of fingers that were assessed from the inner whorl of fruit. These fingers were taken from the top, middle and bottom hands of the bunch.
Rating scale used to assess level of rust thrips damage. Rating 1 is regarded as the maximum damage level that would be commercially accepted.

Measuring the effect that bunch cover colours had on other fruit quality characteristics was also important to ensure they didn’t have a negative impact. The following fruit quality attributes were therefore assessed at harvest.

  • Finger length and diameter
  • Colour (Hue, chroma and lightness) of the peel at fruit colour stage 1 and 6
  • Bloom (the ‘lustre’ or ‘shine’ of the fruit) was assessed photographically to assess peel reflectance 

* Note – Omethoate was registered at the time the trial was conducted and has since been deregistered. Before using any chemicals always check the current registration status and read the product label. Label and permit details can be accessed via the APVMA website, www.apvma.gov.au. 

Results from the initial trial indicate that colours do play a role in level of rust thrips damage

The initial trial results showed a lot of variation in the damage caused by banana rust thrips with respect to different bunch cover colours.  

Orange, yellow and purple bunch covers had levels of damage above commercially acceptable levels. Statistically, orange had a significantly higher level of damage compared to all other covers. 

The best performer was a paper bunch cover with a polyethylene ‘cloth’ liner. This was the only bunch cover that had a liner in the initial trial. Therefore a new trial is looking at the impact of liners in combination with different bunch cover colours. Light blue and white produced similar low levels of damage as the paper bag.

Results also indicate that bunch cover colours have no statistically significant effect on finger length, diameter, colour and bloom.

Results from initial trial work. Orange and yellow bunch covers had the highest rust thrips damage rating, while paper bunch covers had the lowest rating.

Growers should consider using bunch cover colours with low thrips damage rating

Based on the initial trial results, growers should consider using bunch cover colours that scored a low thrips damage rating. Further work is underway to expand these results by testing new colour and liner combinations. Results of the latest trial will be available to growers in the coming months. 

Bunch cover colours being assessed in the new trial. The 'Kraft' colour on the far right of the photo is the paper bunch cover.

If you would like further information on this trial, contact the Better Bananas team.

This research is funded as part of the Improved Plant Protection for the Banana Industry Program (BA16001), which is funded by Hort Innovation, using the banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Katelyn Ferro

Katelyn Ferro

After finishing an Ag Science degree at the University of Queensland’s Gatton campus, Katie made the move to Far North Queensland, accepting a research horticulturist role at South Johnstone with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Over the past three years, working with the banana research and development team, Katie’s main focus has been research into Panama disease. 
Katie is currently working in banana variety research, assessing the post-harvest characteristics of fruit from the Goldfinger mutagenesis trial. This work is aimed at finding a commercially viable banana variety that has resistance to Panama disease tropical race 4.
We asked Katie what is the most exciting part of her research and what she enjoys the most. “I’ve come to realise how unique banana plants are compared to most other crops and, although often frustrating, I like the challenge this presents and the problem solving required to develop research methods tailored to its individuality. I really enjoy working on impactful projects where the outcome of the research could benefit Australian banana growers.”
Katie’s childhood was spent in Delaneys Creek in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, but lived in Brisbane for all her schooling years. Her love for the outdoors sees her hiking North Queensland’s beautiful national parks. Katie is also keen to learn new skills and is currently learning how to play electric guitar and speak Danish. Her favourite banana recipe is Banana ice-cream, made from frozen banana that is blended until creamy.  
Meet a reseachers

Research Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture, South Johnstone, Qld

Agronomic evaluation of new varieties – South Johnstone

Latest update...

Harvesting in the trial commenced with Williams in mid-May 2019 – less than 8 months after planting! As of 5 July we have already cut about one quarter of the trial. However, several varieties are much slower in development so we expect the plant crop harvest will continue till about November.

All of the Taiwanese Cavendish selections are typically 1-4 months slower than Williams in the first crop. This in addition to sometimes smaller bunches will lead to lower productivity per unit time. Good reason to remain vigilant with biosecurity to keep TR4 off your property.

Bunches of the Rahan Meristem Cavendish selections have been impressive, being characterised by heavy bunches, long fruit, and good hand separation in the bunch which should help minimise fingertip scarring.

The dwarf selections of Cavendish – Brier and Dwarf Cavendish have yielded well with substantially shorter fruit than Williams. Several of the Taiwanese varieties also have shorter fruit. Depending on the time of year fruit are harvested this could be an advantage or a disadvantage in achieving more fruit in the desired size range for the market compared to Williams. 

The CIRAD hybrids are 50 cm or more taller than Williams in the plant crop; leaf petioles seem quite brittle and under wind often snapping off; fruit of the 4 hybrids have been tasted by staff at South Johnstone – CIRAD’s 03 & 05 were particularly liked whilst 04 and 06 were probably too fragrant. 

High incidence of tissue culture offtypes have been an issue for 3 varieties necessitating repeat evaluation in the future where true-to-type plants are available to propagate from.

About the trial

Growers are keeping a keen eye on the 32 varieties included in the latest agronomic evaluation at South Johnstone. This is the first step at looking at new introductions that may have commercial potential for the Australian banana industry. 

This research forms a significant part of the Improved Plant Protection for the Banana Industry Program (BA16001), looking at the agronomic traits as well as pest and disease tolerance of imported varieties. This project provides for 3 variety assessment trials across Australia at Duranbah (NSW), South Johnstone (Qld) and Coastal Plains (NT), assessing resistance to Panama disease Race 1 and TR4, agronomic performance, cold tolerance and yellow Sigatoka resistance. 

Several of the varieties included in the current South Johnstone trial are also being screened in the Northern Territory to determine or confirm resistance to TR4.

Varieties included in the current evaluation trial were planted in September 2018. Assessment of agronomic traits will be collected over three crop cycles and a yellow Sigatoka leaf spot screening in the fourth cycle. Several new varieties that have shown resistance to TR4 overseas are included in the evaluation. 

Tissue culture plants were established in September 2018. The trial block at South Johnstone Research Facility includes 11 single rows (120 m long) with guard plants.
Trial four months after planting in January 2019

Varieties being evaluated

  • A suite of Taiwanese selections of Cavendish present in Australia. Also included is a selection made in Australia from a former introduction. 
  • Agro-biotechnology company Rahan Meristem imported four of their elite Cavendish selections into Australia from Israel— Gal, Jaffa and two selections of Adi. The main features include reduced plant stature and large well-structured bunches. These selections are proving popular in various export production zones around the globe. However, these selections are not claimed to have any resistance to Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4). North Queensland producers that have seen them growing overseas have been keen to see them evaluated by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) for some time. Rahan Meristem own these varieties and have agreed that results from our evaluations can be made publicly available. 
  • Four hybrids from the breeding program of CIRAD in the French West Indies. Overseas these have shown resistance to leaf disease and Panama disease race 1. We are all eager to see how they fare against TR4 in the Northern Territory trials.
  • Two Cavendish selections from the Canary Islands. These selections of Dwarf Cavendish form the basis of their 400,000 t/yr. export industry to mainland Europe.
  • A new dwarf Lady Finger selection.

A list of varieties being evaluated is now available.

Trial 7 months after planting

Preliminary trial observations

Harvesting in the trial commenced with Williams in mid-May 2019 — less than 8 months after planting! As of 5 July we have already cut about one quarter of the trial. However, several varieties are much slower in development so we expect the plant crop harvest will continue till about November.

All of the Taiwanese Cavendish selections are typically 1–4 months slower than Williams in the first crop. This in addition to sometimes smaller bunches will lead to lower productivity per unit time. Good reason to remain vigilant with biosecurity to keep Panama disease tropical race 4 off your property.

Bunches of the Rahan Meristem Cavendish selections have been impressive, being characterised by heavy bunches, long fruit, and good hand separation in the bunch which should help minimise fingertip scarring.

The dwarf selections of Cavendish — Brier and Dwarf Cavendish have yielded well with substantially shorter fruit than Williams. Several of the Taiwanese varieties also have shorter fruit. Depending on the time of year fruit are harvested this could be an advantage or a disadvantage in achieving more fruit in the desired size range for the market compared to Williams. 

The CIRAD hybrids are 50 cm or more taller than Williams in the plant crop; leaf petioles seem quite brittle and under wind often snapping off; fruit of the four hybrids have been tasted by staff at South Johnstone – CIRAD’s 03 & 05 were particularly liked whilst 04 and 06 were probably too fragrant. 

High incidence of tissue culture offtypes have been an issue for 3 varieties necessitating repeat evaluation in the future where true-to-type plants are available to propagate from.

These dwarf selections of Cavendish are 20% shorter than Williams in the plant crop
Panama disease TR4 resistant Cavendish selections from Taiwan
Rahan Meristem selections like 'Jaffa' are performing well
Some of the leaf disease resistant CIRAD hybrids, including CIRAD 03 pictured, have been well received by DAF staff at informal tasting sessions

Growers will be given an opportunity periodically to come and see the varieties for themselves. Over 50 participants attended the latest field walk held in June 2019.

Jeff Daniells from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries giving a tour of the variety evaluation trial block on the South Johnstone Research Facility in June 2019.

More info...

Varieties included in the trial

This research has been funded as part of the Improved Plant Protection for the Banana Industry Program (BA16001), which is funded by Hort Innovation, using the banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.