22 Aug 2012

Waikato growers seek to controlling vine canker

7:00 am on 22 August 2012

Waikato kiwifruit growers and representatives of Zespri and Kiwifruit Vine Health meet in Cambridge on Wednesday to discuss how to control the PSA vine canker.

KVH confirmed on Tuesday that PSA-V, a virulent strain of the disease, has been found in the region for the first time, on an organic block of gold kiwifruit north of Te Awamutu.

Chief executive Barry O'Neil says a neighbouring orchard may also be infected.

He says disease control experts have set up a 12km control area around the infected blocks.

"The orchards...are not so reliant on the Hort16A (gold) variety which is more susceptible to PSA," Mr O'Neil says. "It does give us a greater opportunity to work with those growers in the controlled areas to minimise the spread."

KVH Waikato coordinator Richard Glenn says one small consolation is that orchard blocks in Waikato are spread well apart, which could reduce the risk of the disease spreading as it has in Bay of Plenty, where thousands of hectares of vines are almost right next door to each other.

"My personal opinion is that...we could contain this in that area for quite a while," Mr Glenn says.