22 Aug 2012

Disease found in second Waikato kiwifruit orchard

10:39 pm on 22 August 2012

A second kiwifruit orchard in Waikato has tested positive for the vine-killing strain of the disease PSA.

On Tuesday, the Kiwifruit Vine Health organisation confirmed the virulent form of PSA had been found for the first time in the region in a six-hectare organic block north of Te Awamutu.

Chief executive Barry O'Neil says he has now received a positive test for PSA for a neighbouring kiwifruit orchard.

Both orchards have infection in their gold kiwifruit vines, but there are so far no signs of it in their green variety.

Mr O'Neil says both growers have done everything possible to prevent PSA breaking out in their kiwifruit blocks, but unfortunately not all Waikato growers are applying crop-protectant sprays.

About 60 people attended a meeting in Cambridge on Wednesday night to consider how to control the outbreak.

Kiwifruit Vine Health Waikato co-ordinator Richard Glenn says the turnout reflected the concern among growers and the meeting was sombre.

Mr Glenn says while growers were mentally prepared for the disease, news it has spread to Waikato still came as a shock.

Barry O'Neil says the industry is better placed to deal with the news than 21 months ago when PSA first appeared in Te Puke.

Until now, PSA-V had been confined to orchards in Bay of Plenty and half a dozen others in the Franklin district south of Auckland.