15 Oct 2012

Growers apprehensive as vine disease spreads

6:26 am on 15 October 2012

Kiwifruit growers in Hawke's Bay are apprehensive after learning on Friday that the PSA-V vine disease has spread to their region.

Test confirmed the disease has infected Hort16A gold variety vines in an orchard near Taradale.

About 40 other orchards are within a control zone that Kiwifruit Vine Health put in place around the infected site, with increased monitoring and movement restrictions.

Mark Eriksen, who has a kiwifruit block near that orchard, says he's concerned because they had high winds during the weekend, with some rain as well, which are the ideal conditions for spreading the PSA bacteria.

He says hopefully the owner and management of the orchard found the disease quickly and moved to combat its spread.

Based on the symptoms seen in the orchard, KVH chief executive Barry O'Neil said it is possible PSA may have been present, but undetected in the area for at least six months before it was identified last week.

Hawke's Bay fruit growers kiwifruit sector chair Peter Olsen said they don't know how it got there, but the region's growers have been taking preventive measures since it was first discovered in New Zealand.

He said Hawke's Bay kiwifruit growers will be able to find out more at a meeting at Plant & Food in Havelock North at 1pm on Monday.