14 Oct 2011

Rapid rise in kiwifruit vine disease cases

1:41 pm on 14 October 2011

There's been a rapid rise in confirmed cases of the kiwifruit vine disease Psa in the Bay of Plenty.

The organisation overseeing Psa management, Kiwifruit Vine Health, says 43 new cases of the virulent form of the disease have been confirmed from tests this week - the largest recorded weekly increase.

It says the Tauranga priority control zone has been extended further south to include Oropi, Pyes Pa, Omanawa and Kaimai.

Results of second tests for the virulent Psa-V strain have been confirmed in the Whakatane, Katikati and Oropi areas.

Gold kiwifruit vines are the most susceptible to the disease but Kiwifruit Vine Health general manager John Burke says there are worrying signs that secondary symptoms are also showing up in green variety vines.

He says that trend is likely to become more apparent during the next couple of weeks.

Psa has now infected more than 18% of the country's kiwifruit orchard areas.