Occurring worldwide, Banana Bunchy Top disease is caused by Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV); and is characterised by the “bunched” appearance of newly emerging leaves, and dot-dash flecking of leaves and stem sheaths. Affected plants rarely produce fruit, which can cause significant production losses on commercial farms.
BBTV is a regulated banana pest under quarantine control in Australia. It is currently present in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
Barry Sullivan has worked on and off as a Land Protection Officer for the Queensland State Government based at both Cape York and later Nambour for the past 25 years. He worked on many containment and eradication projects during his time with the government. For the past 9 years, he has worked on the Banana Bunchy Top Virus project for both the Australian Banana Growers Council and later as a contractor for Horticulture Innovation Australia and continues to manage the project.
Banana Bunchy Top Virus is one of the most devastating diseases found in bananas and was introduced into Australia in 1915. Bunchy Top virus is found in a relatively small area of Australia and the Banana Bunchy Top project aims to reduce its incidence and prevent it from spreading outside of the known infection zones. The disease was a real problem to the Sunshine coast banana growers in the 30’s and 40’s and it still persists and threatens the remaining growers today.
Barry’s presentation will be about the virus, how it is spread, what to look out for and how to control it. He will also talk about growing banana plants in general and can answer questions about growing banana plants.