New Psa-V spread "big blow" to Kerikeri growers

New Psa-V spread "big blow" to Kerikeri growers

New Zealand's Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has reported the first confirmed finding of disease Psa-V in the Kerikeri area, as one of 32 new cases in the country this week.

A Psa-V positive male vine in an Enza gold orchard has prompted a controlled area in Kerikeri that includes 102 orchards.

The disease was likely brought into the area by infected plant material or contaminated orchard equipment some months ago, KVH said. The new infection comes shortly after the first report in Hawkes Bay.

KVH warned growers on Thursday that the finding in Kerikeri was another reminder the disease could be present, but undetected, in other kiwifruit-growing regions.

"Therefore, it is essential growers do all they can to protect their orchards, even if the signs of Psa-V have not yet been identified in their area. Given the distance between Kerikeri and the closest infected orchard in Franklin, this find is disappointing for the industry and will be a big blow to growers in the region."

New cases were also reported this week in the Te Puke region, Waihi, Whakatane, Opotiki, Tauranga East, Tauranga West, Katikati, Waikato and Hawkes Bay.

KVH chief executive Barry O'Neil said it was still too early in the season to determine the impact of Psa-V on this year's output and that growers will have to wait until flowering finishes to make a clear evaluation.

"It’s variable depending on the location. Some are looking good. In some colder, low-lying areas, it’s not looking so good. And there have been high levels of Psa," O'Neil said.

"It’s bad in New Zealand at the moment, certainly the spring period is always a challenging time for Psa, in light of the weather conditions which make it more favorable to both spread and see the symptoms in the vine.

"So we are certainly hoping that when we get into warmer, dryer weather of summer, that we will see a slow down in both the spread and the effect. Secondly, the areas that we’ve found Psa in for the first time over the last few months, most of those have resulted from infection being introduced 6-to-12 months previously. It just hadn’t been detected."

A total 1,702 kiwifruit orchards have reported Psa-V cases in New Zealand, including 8,303 affected hectares.

Related stories: NZ: Psa detection "reinvigorates" Hawkes Bay fight against disease

NZ: kiwifruit disease Psa-V detected further south

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