28 Sep 2015

Kiwifruit growers to meet after Psa discovery

8:32 am on 28 September 2015

Kiwifruit growers in Whangarei will meet tomorrow following the discovery of the vine-disease Psa for the first time in the region last week.

An image of Psa (also known as Psa-V) symptoms similar to those found in a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei in 2015.

An image of Psa (also known as Psa-V) symptoms similar to those found in Whangarei. Photo: SUPPLIED

Since the bacterial disease hit kiwifruit plants in New Zealand in 2010, about 85 percent of the country's kiwifruit orchards have been affected.

Kiwifruit Vine Health chief executive Barry O'Neil said the Whangarei region's 49 kiwifruit orchards had been extensively monitored over the weekend.

He said there had been reports of more widespread Psa infection in all already-positive regions this spring and so far the Whangarei discovery was in just one orchard.

Mr O'Neil said no kiwifruit plant material, including budwood and nursery stock, along with any potentially contaminated orchard equipment, should be moved between orchards.

"At this stage, we can't with any confidence say this is the only orchard in the region that is affected, so every grower in the region should be operating on the basis that Psa could be present in their orchard and doing what they need to do to minimise the risk to their operation.

"The thing with Psa is spring is the time when it spreads through the wet and windy conditions, so even though a grower may have checked his orchard last week and not seen anything, this week may be a different situation, so growers have to be very vigilant and proactive in managing Psa and that's what we'll be advising growers in the region to do."