25 Jul 2011

PSA control trials due to begin

6:34 am on 25 July 2011

Field trials are due to begin on Monday on a small block of kiwifruit near Te Puke to monitor the ability of new chemical products to control the PSA vine disease.

In the eight months since it was discovered, 252 orchards have been found to have the disease, with 54% infected with a virulent strain, Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (PSA-V).

Two of New Zealand's biggest kiwifruit packing and coolstores, Seeka and EastPack, are working together to find potential cures.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says the four products being field tested have shown promise in the laboratory and the results of the trials should be known by 31 July.

Meanwhile Kiwifruit Vine Health, which was set up to help growers minimise the impact of the disease, says growers have only until the end the day to take advantage of a subsidy for spraying copper on their vines to reduce the incidence of PSA.

The copper provides protection to leaf scars on the vines.

KVH general manager John Burke says that applying copper after 25 July would be dangerous, as it will be within four weeks of growers using the chemical Hi Cane to promote budbreak.

He says growers must supply invoices to KVH by 5 August to claim the spray subsidy.