Only Nel­son, Whangarei clear

The Orchardist - - Contents - By Les­ley Board

With the dis­cov­ery of Psa in a one­hectare Hort16A or­chard at Kumeu, West Auck­land, last month, that leaves just Nel­son and Whangarei as the only ki­wifruit re­gions in New Zealand of­fi­cially clear of the disease. Barry O'Neill, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ki­wifruit Vine Health (KVH), was hope­ful how­ever that the Kerik­eri re­gion, which has only ever had one pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Psa, might have its sta­tus changed to an ex­clu­sion re­gion if mon­i­tor­ing af­ter Christ­mas re­veals no fur­ther sign of the disease. “Early de­tec­tion of Psa is vi­tal for ef­fec­tive con­trol and I have been very im­pressed with the re­spon­si­ble way Kumeu grow­ers in close prox­im­ity to the in­fected or­chard have re­acted. An ad­ja­cent owner has cut out all his Hort16A males and most have al­ready notch grafted their Hort16A to G3. We have met with grow­ers in the re­gion to up­date them on the sit­u­a­tion and give them ad­vice on best prac­tice. It has been very en­cour­ag­ing to see how they are work­ing proac­tively and col­lec­tively in the face of this new chal­lenge.” Barry said as far as KVH could tell, the in­fec­tion at Kumeu was con­fined to just the one or­chard and there was no known cause last month. A mon­i­tor­ing team had been sent to in­spect all other or­chards in the re­gion and had worked over the weekend to test re­sults. For­tu­nately they were all neg­a­tive.

Re­stricted move­ment for plants, equip­ment and bee­hives

A North-West Auck­land Con­trolled Area has been es­tab­lished within a 10km ra­dius around the in­fected or­chard and this area in­cludes 22 Ki­wifruit Prop­erty Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Num­bers (KPINs). There are a to­tal of 25 KPINs in the re­gion, spread over al­most 86 hectares, and Hay­ward is the pre­dom­i­nant va­ri­ety grown. The new Con­trolled Area sta­tus means that no ki­wifruit plant ma­te­rial, in­clud­ing bud­wood and nurs­ery stock, along with any po­ten­tially con­tam­i­nated or­chard equip­ment, can be moved out of the area. Au­tho­ri­sa­tion from KVH is now also re­quired when bee­hives within the con­trolled area need to be moved.

Barry said the in­fec­tion had been picked up dur­ing the re­cent Manda­tory Mon­i­tor­ing round and grow­ers in the North­West Auck­land re­gion were be­ing urged to mon­i­tor ev­ery fort­night.

“All New Zealand grow­ers must be pro-ac­tive and take ad­e­quate mea­sures to pro­tect their or­chards. Don’t wait for Psa to be found in your re­gion be­fore you start mon­i­tor­ing.”

Sights like this bagged Psa ma­te­rial, spot­ted a year ago, are now rare in the Bay of Plenty, but grow­ers still have to be on the alert.

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