Kiwifruit Psa disease found in Waikato
The devastating kiwifruit disease Psa-V has been confirmed on an organic gold fruit orchard in Te Awamutu, with a neighbouring gold orchard expected to be added to the casualty list later today.
Kiwifruit Vine Health chief executive Barry O' Neil says his industry biosecurity organisation has swung into action, establishing a controlled area of 12km radius around the affected orchards and alerting 26 other growers in the area.
The vine killing bacterial disease has cut a swath through the former Bay of Plenty gold fruit growing capital, after being discovered in Te Puke two years ago. It has also been confirmed further up the east coast and in Pukekohe.
The Waikato has around 90 kiwifruit orchards. The potential earnings loss to the former blue chip export industry has been estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.
An emergency meeting of Waikato growers has been called in Cambridge tomorrow afternoon.
O'Neil says it was unlikely given the location of the outbreaks the disease had been wind-borne.
KVH would do trace-back reports to try to find what plant materials or equipment had been introduced to the area.
KVH was working with the two affected growers and with orchard owners within a 4km radius advising them what to do and ensuring monitoring of the situation, O'Neil says.
The affected orchards grow a gold variety known as Hort16a which has proved particularly susceptible to the bacterial disease.
O'Neil says red ooze had been found on green fruit vines in the Waikato last year but lab tests had found the results negative for Psa. Red ooze, which can be a sign of advanced Psa, was not uncommon on Hayward green variety vines which have been subject to heavy frost, he said.
These vines will be retested.
KVH was also working with post-harvest operators in the Waikato.
KVH does not permit affected growers "to do nothing" about the disease on their property but does not dictate to growers what to do with their vines apart from urging good orchard hygiene and spraying, he says.
The grower with the confirmed disease had taken "very strong" hygiene measures but O'Neil was not aware of the management plan on the property.
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