26 Sep 2011

PSA disease found near Waihi

5:43 am on 26 September 2011

Green Kiwifruit Growers is concerned but not surprised that vines on a green variety orchard near Waihi have tested positive for the virulent strain of the PSA disease.

Kiwifruit Vine Health acting general manager Terry Richards says classic symptoms of PSA V strain showed up on vines a fortnight ago and were confirmed late last week.

Mr Richards says the vines have been removed and the agency is looking at how the disease could have spread so far from the closest PSA V infected orchard near Tauranga.

Green Growers chairman Mike Smith says the outbreak shatters any false sense of security growers may have about green kiwifruit blocks not being susceptible to the disease.

"It just goes to show, you can't be too careful. The green growers are hamstrung by their returns this year as to how much protective spraying they can do.

''It's a real catch-22 - you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't."

Mr Smith says it is a real wake-up call for green growers that there are no shortcuts.

"Just because it was confined to Te Puke, there's no guarantee that it won't pop up somewhere else in a couple of days' time."

Mr Smith says growers of the gold species of kiwifruit in PSA priority zones have been able to spray every week because they qualified for a subsidy from Kiwifruit Vine Health, but that has not been an option for most green kiwifruit growers.