2 Oct 2011

Kiwifruit growers expect virulent disease to spread

4:28 am on 2 October 2011

The Kiwifruit Growers Association says it's inevitable the virulent form of the PSA vine disease will spread to other regions of New Zealand.

This follows the news that the PSA-V strain has now been detected in the Whakatane area in the eastern Bay of Plenty and at Katikati, in the western Bay, bringing the total number of infected orchards to 312.

Tests have also confirmed PSA-V on an orchard near Waihi.

Until recently the disease was thought to have been confined to orchards around the Te Puke area, where it was discovered in 2010.

Growers whose orchards have the disease are unable to sell affected fruit.

The Growers Association says the airborne vine disease is likely to keep spreading.

However, president Peter Ombler hopes the spread outside the Bay of Plenty can be slowed enough so that by the time it spreads beyond the Bay, there will have been time to provide growers with answers to effectively tackle Psa-V.

Kiwifruit Vine Health is trying to find out how it was spread well outside the priority control zones established around Te Puke and on the eastern side of Tauranga.