14 Nov 2010

Vine disease confirmed at fourth kiwifruit orchard

5:57 am on 14 November 2010

A fourth kiwifruit orchard has been confirmed as having the vine-killing disease PSA - and it has now been revealed that the spraying of one of the others was delayed lest its organic status be jeopardised.

Organic orchards make up just 4% of New Zealand's kiwifruit industry.

The Ministry of Agriculture's PSA national response manager, David Yard, says copper spraying eventually went ahead on Saturday after talks with the organic orchard's owner.

"We've now cleared with the organic certifiers that the spray we've agreed to use on this premise won't affect that status," Mr Yard says.

The total number of Te Puke properties with movement restrictions has risen to eight.

Meanwhile, MAF staff are collecting vine samples from 80 orchards in Bay of Plenty, Kerikeri and Gisborne.

Zespri calls for eradication effort

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri wants MAF to try to eradicate PSA, even though Biosecurity Minister David Carter doubts whether it can be done.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager says the company has told the minister it understands the technical difficulty of eradicating an airborne bacteria but still wants eradication to be given its best shot - or consideration given, at least, to containing the disease within some areas.