Plant Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award finalists

August 12, 2014

PHA is pleased to announce the names of the finalists for the 2014 Plant Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award. Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate. The winner will be announced at the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards dinner on 10 September in Melbourne.

Lindsay Bourke – honey and pollination services

Based in Tasmania, Lindsay Burke manages Australian Honey Products, with 3,600 hives for honey production and pollination of over 80 crops at sites that can be as far as 250 km from base.

To ensure that pests and disease are kept under control, Lindsay has implemented a detailed hive site management plan, making sure each site is regularly visited by specifically trained beekeepers, recording environmental details, hive health and other observations. Data is entered into a database and can indicate site specific problems, trends over time, or a wider view across Tasmania. These systems enable the company to qualify for BQual, the national accreditation system for the industry.

Lindsay is a former chairman of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, working to improve biosecurity awareness and planning for the Australian beekeeping industry, supporting product levies and biosecurity initiatives in his role as President of the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association.

Shannon Paton and Sarah Schultz – bananas

Paton’s Exotics is located at Nerada, near lnnisfail, Queensland. Shannon Paton, owner of the company, grows seven varieties of bananas and sends the fruit to five Australian states. The main pest threat is an endemic fungal disease, Race 1 Panama disease (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense), but the biosecurity measures used to protect their property from this disease also prevent other pests and diseases.

The Patons are strict about making sure vehicles are clean if they need to go onto the property, use signs to inform visitors to the property about biosecurity requirements, and test all tissue culture material to make sure it is free from the disease. Staff are briefed on biosecurity requirements and visitors are required to wash their shoes if entering production areas.

Michael and Lisa Lankester – bananas, custard apples and pasture

Michael and Lisa Lankester are the owners and managers of Lankester Bananas, growing 60 hectares of Lady Finger bananas and 5 hectares (3650 trees) of trellised custard apples at Walkamin, on the Atherton Tablelands in far north Queensland. Their biosecurity measures are also primarily motivated by the threat of Panama disease.

After purchasing their property they restricted access to a single entry point. A dip charged with Farmcleanse was placed at the entry to make sure all vehicles driving onto the farm have to pass through the dip, killing all soil borne pests and diseases as they do.

Contractors who regularly drive on or use equipment on other banana farms, including local irrigation scheme and other energy service providers, are asked to leave their vehicles outside the property. Dedicated farm vehicles or equipment are provided for use on-farm.