The devastating bacterial disease Psa-V has been discovered in northwest Auckland, in the latest blow to New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry, TVNZ reports.
The disease was discovered in an orchard in Kumeu, leased by Pukekohe-based integrated business Punchbowl Kiwifruit Services (PKS).
While Auckland’s northwest only represents a tiny portion of New Zealand’s total kiwifruit production with just 25 orchards, it had been thought to be free of the Psa disease.
According to PKS managing director Rob Craig, the disease was detected early which gives some chance of containing it to a single orchard.
However, this is still likely to be tough given the orchards’ close proximity, with 22 of them in a 10km radius.
This present the very real possibility that Psa could travel to all of them by air, although the bacterial requires moisture to travel.
As a result, the region’s kiwifruit industry is likely to be nervously surveying the weather this summer.
A 10km controlled radius around the infected orchard has been implemented, which encompasses the 22 orchards within the area.
Chief executive of Kiwifruit Vine Health Barry O’Neil expressed disappointment at the discovery of the latest outbreak and encouraged grower vigilance.
"Due to growers carrying out their Mandatory Monitoring in the region, the disease has been picked up early; and early detection is essential to a rapid response," he told TVNZ.
"Our message to growers in every region remains the same. All New Zealand growers must be proactive and take adequate measures to protect their orchards.
"Don't wait for Psa-V to be found in your region before you start monitoring."
First detected in Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty in November 2010, Psa has since spread widely throughout the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Franklin District and Coromandel.