Only Nelson, Whangarei clear
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.”