24 Feb 2012

New gold kiwifruit variety likely to be released

12:49 pm on 24 February 2012

A new gold kiwifruit which is showing tolerance to the PSA vine disease could help the industry turn the corner this winter.

Zespri has announced that if Gold 3 is still holding up to PSA by May, it will roll out the new cultivar on a grand scale.

Zespri says it would release enough hectare licences to cover grafting demand from growers of the original gold variety, Hort16A.

That's about 1000 hectares in the Te Puke region alone, at a cost to growers of about $12,000 per hectare.

More than 40% of New Zealand's kiwifruit growing area has some level of PSA, with gold more susceptible than the green or Hayward variety.

Zespri grower relations manager Simon Limmer says the release of Gold 3 would be the first step in a three year recovery process.

He says ultimately Zespri believes it has the capacity to supply all of those growers who are looking transfer across.

Mr Limmer says there's still a significant amount of risk involved and only time will tell whether the new variety will be successful.

He says a final decision on the release will be made next month after discussions with growers.

Turners & Growers says a new gold variety it's developed is also showing resistance to PSA.

The company wants the right to export the fruit.

A further 400 hectares of Gold 3 will be released for other interested growers, along with 200 hectares of a sweet green variety which is also showing tolerance to PSA.


Grower Russel West was one of the first to have the disease confirmed on his Te Puke property.

His green or Hayward orchard is still producing fruit, but he's had to cut out vines on his two gold orchards.

He says he will give Gold 3 a chance because it's the only option at this stage, but the price of $12,000 per hectare should be reduced.