24 Dec 2010

Question-mark over virulence of Asian PSA strain

11:15 am on 24 December 2010

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is urging kiwifruit growers not to be complacent if their orchard has been diagnosed as having the Asian strain of the vine-eating disease PSA.

It says 30 samples from Bay of Plenty orchards show the presence of both the Italian and Asian strains of the bacteria.

MAf's biosecurity response manager, David Yard, says they will attempt to aggressively contain the Italian strain, which is in six orchards in close proximity to each other.

But he says the Asian strain, which is less virulent, is widespread across the country and it is difficult to say at this stage what effect it will have.

PSA has been identified in more than 120 orchards since first being discovered in Te Puke in early November.