Iain Kay (DEEDI) installing a Queensland fruit fly pheromone trap in an abandoned mango orchard.
Iain Kay (DEEDI) installing a Queensland fruit fly pheromone trap in an abandoned mango orchard.

Banana grower buys Timbercorp farm

THE first of the Bundaberg farms belonging to the failed Timbercorp corporation was sold on Thursday for more than $3 million.

The mango, custard apple and avocado farm was sold to one of Queensland’s largest banana growers, Billy Singh of Bingil Bay Bananas in Mission Beach.

Selling agent Landmark’s Leroy Manskie said the property sold by negotiation after auction.

Auctioneer Geoff Hickson told the crowd gathered for the auction the 395ha property sold for substantially more than the $3 million it had reached during the auction process.

The property, on Ten Mile Road, was bought by Timbercorp four years ago for more than $9 million.

Mr Manskie said he had no idea when the new owners would begin operating the property because settlement still had to go through.

He said expressions of interest for other Timbercorp properties in the area closed on August 12, and Landmark was still awaiting instructions from the vendor.

The sale of the property would be a relief to nearby farmers, who had contacted the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) with concerns over a build-up of pests on the abandoned property.

Project manager Peter Hockings said in conjunction with the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and consultants Hortus BFVG carried out a 13-week study of fruit flies infesting abandoned mangoes on the farm.

He said in one week they estimated there were 42 million fruit flies across the whole property.

“They can do a lot of damage,” he said.

“If a mango gets one fruit fly sting it will drop off the tree.”

Mr Hockings said the message from the study was for farmers who had property near an abandoned farm to increase their vigilance in monitoring fruit flies.

He said they also needed to be stringent about farm hygiene by either picking up fruit that had fallen on the ground or ploughing it in.

“There is the potential to lose crops if the fruit flies get out of hand,” he said.

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