8 Nov 2011

Final tests on Kerikeri sample show no sign of Psa

1:37 pm on 8 November 2011

Kiwifruit growers in Northland are breathing a collective sigh of relief after a long-awaited test for Psa disease came back all-clear.

An initial sample taken from a Kerikeri orchard nearly two weeks ago tested positive for the vine-killing disease that has ravaged orchards in Bay of Plenty.

If it had been confirmed, it would have been the first known case of Psa-V outside Bay of Plenty.

However, Kiwifruit Vine Health general manager John Burke says further testing has failed to find any sign of the Psa-V disease.

Kerikeri Fruitgrowers Association chair Rick Curtis says he's not sure why the original test came back positive but there is a huge sense of relief that growers in the north seem to have dodged a bullet this time.

He says growers will continue to be vigilant in monitoring their vines for the disease.

The latest figures from Kiwifruit Vine Health show the virulent form of Psa has now been confirmed on 689 orchards throughout the Bay of Plenty region, about 20% of New Zealand's kiwifruit orchards.