17 Aug 2012

Decision pending on antibiotic use for vine disease

6:33 am on 17 August 2012

Kiwifruit Vine Health is waiting on a decision from the Ministry for Primary Industries, before accepting applications from growers to spray the antibiotic streptomycin on their vines.

The bacteriocide is effective in controlling the virulent form of the vine killing disease, PSA.

Last September the agency gave approval, with strict conditions, for Bay of Plenty kiwifruit growers in high risk PSA areas, to apply streptomycin three times before the vines flowered.

Chief executive Barry O'Neil says that's the intention again this year, but the rules have changed.

He says last year MAF, as it was then, approved the use of streptomycin on an off-label basis, meaning it was registered for use on other food crops, but in this case it was used for a purpose other than that stated on the label.

Mr O'Neil says this year the manufacturer is applying for a labelled use approval.

He says the use of streptomycin this year will depend on the label restrictions that the Ministry for Primary Industries agrees to.

Mr O'Neil says KVH is recommending to the ministry that it should be available for use in all regions where PSA exists or has been identified.

The agency expects a decision from the ministry in the next fortnight.