30 Sep 2015

Vine disease confined to Whangarei kiwifruit orchard

3:47 pm on 30 September 2015

The vine-disease Psa does not seem to be spreading form an infected orchard in Whangarei, according to testing by Kiwifruit Vine Health

Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit Photo: 123RF

Psa is a bacterial disease which affects kiwifruit plants and since it hit New Zealand in 2010, about 85 percent of the country's kiwifruit orchards have been affected.

Psa was found in an orchard in Whangarei for the first time last week.

Kiwifruit Vine Health chief executive Barry O'Neil said the region's 50 or so growers met yesterday to discuss what they should be doing in response to the discovery.

"Over the weekend we monitored 30 hectares of surrounding kiwifruit and were unable to find any other symptoms of Psa. It is still early days and as the vines come more out of dormancy, there is the possibility that we will find more."

Mr O'Neil said Psa was a wind-borne bacteria which could spread two ways: by movement of plant material and contaminated equipment, or through wet and windy weather where it can spread by up to ten kilometres.

He said the affected growers were in the process of removing the infected plants.

"The growers have been very proactive on that orchard. They identified it early and they are in the process of cutting out the variety that it was found in, which is a gold variety called Hort-16 A, which is very susceptible to Psa. They will transition to the more tolerant new gold, called G3 or Sun Gold."

Mr O'Neil said the Ministry for Primary Industries had been notified, but the industry was leading the response.

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