KVH recently visited nine orchards in the Whanganui region. Wet cold conditions have made for a very challenging winter which was intensified for some local growers by severe flooding in the region. Like many regions, Whanganui has reported more widespread Psa-V infection this spring, including one new Psa-V positive orchard being confirmed. Growers have been encouraged to actively remove infected material from their orchards to help minimise the longer term impact of a severe winter.
Many growers in the region have applied good spray programmes including copper and Actigard through the growing season and over the winter period to give them the best possible chance in a tough spring Psa-V environment.
Three orchards affected by the floods were part of the visit and while one grower has elected to remove the orchard due to severe flood and silt damage, two others are working to repair flood damage and are hopeful they will recover and crop.
A grower meeting was held to discuss best practises to help manage the spread of Psa including spring girdling and spray programme options.
Last week KVH announced a Psa-V positive result in a Whangarei orchard – the first confirmed case of Psa-V in the Whangarei region.
All growers in the region were quickly advised of the situation by KVH and extensive monitoring was carried out in the region over the weekend. No further evidence of Psa-V was detected in the surrounding orchards and samples tested for Psa-V were confirmed ‘not detected’.
A controlled area has been put in place with an eight kilometre radius from the affected orchard. The controlled area comprises of 32 orchards. Growers within the controlled area have been issued with a controlled area protocol detailing movement restrictions, monitoring and reporting requirements and best practice advice for orchard hygiene and crop protection programmes.
KVH met with around 50 Whangarei growers on Tuesday and will continue to provide support and information to growers to help minimise the risks and impacts of Psa-V in the region.
A proactive Northland grower who reported Psa-like symptoms to KVH has helped detect a new fungal species. Samples were tested for Psa-V but returned a ‘not-detected’ result; and further analysis by MPI confirmed the presence of three fungal species:
It is uncertain if N. microconidia or C. rosea cause disease in kiwifruit and if they have contributed to the observed symptoms.
P. telopeae is considered an environmental fungus which means it is not known to attack plants and unlikely to present a biosecurity risk.
The discovery has revealed that while this is the first time N. microconidia has been formally identified in NZ, it has been here for at least two years. In 2013 Plant & Food Research observed similar symptoms in Te Puke. At the time they were not identified to a species level, but samples were stored for future analysis. Recent DNA analysis has confirmed these historical samples are the same species as those found in Northland.
The detection of new fungal species is not unexpected given the advances in DNA technology; and as N. microconidia has been in NZ for at least two years the investigation is unlikely to result in a response.
KVH is working with the orchard manager to minimise potential impacts and spread by ensuring good hygiene practices are in place and plant material does not leave the orchard.
KVH has also proposed commissioning research to determine if the species are the primary cause of disease or secondary infections and is working closely with MPI and PFR to determine what this research will entail.
Click here for a fact sheet on the KVH website.
MPI has announced it will increase biosecurity staff and checks in the on international yachts entering Whangarei this season.
From October to December there will be four extra staff based in the region to carry out biosecurity inspections and dog teams to check selected vessels for undeclared food, plants and other risk goods that could carry pests and diseases.
Navel and aerial surveillance will also start in October to ensure vessels do not make landfall in New Zealand before they arrive at the only two approved places in Northland for yachts to arrive, Opua and Marsden Cove.
MPI has also been working to raise biosecurity awareness levels amongst the yachting communities.
MPI’s latest annual compliance survey shows that 98.7 percent of international air passengers are free of biosecurity risk items by the time they leave the airport.
The survey also shows:
The successful results are largely due to the introduction of a much stricter auditing regime in 2012 (when the compliance result was 95.3 percent). This includes the adoption of improved x-ray technology and increased numbers of detector dogs and quarantine staff.
Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has received a Psa-V positive test result on Hort16A and male vines on a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei. This is the first confirmed case of Psa-V on an orchard in the Whangarei region.
All growers in the region have been advised of the situation by KVH, including best-practice advice going forward. KVH will hold a meeting for Whangarei growers next week and will be carrying out extensive monitoring in the region over the weekend.
There are a total of 49 orchards in the Whangarei region comprising of approximately 144 canopy hectares.
KVH Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil, said this new find in Whangarei is very disappointing and will be particularly hard for local growers and the regional committee.
“Whangarei growers and the regional committee have done a fantastic job at keeping Psa-V out of the region for more than four years. The fact Whangarei is located between two positive regions, and is only now being confirmed with Psa-V, is testament to the highly proactive approach they have taken over the last few years.”
“However, it has been a cold, wet winter and spring is always a nervous wait as we start to see what effect the winter has had on orchards. This spring KVH has had reporting of more widespread infection in all positive regions – worse than the last couple of years so this result in Whangarei is not entirely unexpected.”
“Based on the symptoms found—dieback and exudate—it’s likely the disease has been in the area for some time and the symptoms are now starting to show.”
“Every grower in every region should be proactively monitoring their vines and maintaining a robust spray programme this spring to protect their orchards as much as possible.”
Growers in the Whangarei area are advised the following.
Annual mandatory monitoring for growers in Exclusion and Containment regions and also ‘Not Detected’ orchards in Recovery regions is required to be carried out between 15 September and 15 October with reporting due to KVH by 31 October 2015.
An online reporting tool is available on the KVH website, allowing growers to submit monitoring results directly to KVH. Click here to access this tool and for more information about mandatory monitoring requirements in your region.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is asking Auckland residents to hang in there for just a few more months while it completes its programme to eradicate a small population of Queensland fruit fly in Grey Lynn.
Fruit flies tend to be inactive over winter and as a result response activities died down. However as the weather warms up, any fruit flies that managed to survive the earlier treatment blitz will become active and able to be trapped in MPI’s extensive network of lure traps.
Therefore MPI has resumed more frequent checking of the surveillance traps in the A Zone of the Controlled Area, closer to where the original flies were found.
While MPI is confident of success in the fruit fly eradication, it needs these next couple of months of trapping to verify this. At this stage, they are hoping to declare eradication and end the movement controls on fruit and vegetables before Christmas.
Click here to read MPI’s full press release.
Flags are topical at the moment. Our regional FLAG in the Bay of Plenty is the ‘Freight and Logistics Action Group’, a forum that brings together all the key players from across the BOP logistics sector (road, rail, port, shipping, importers, post-harvest, exporters etc.) to take action together to support economic growth in the region.
FLAG’s leadership has sought to raise awareness and understanding of biosecurity and approached KVH to assist with this. Last week KVH led a workshop with FLAG members on ‘logistics implications of a biosecurity event’. This included exploring potential impacts and scenarios should we experience a medium or large scale biosecurity event in the BOP, and how the logistics sector can better prepare for this.
The logistics sector in the BOP employs more than 4000 full time staff who cart biosecurity risk goods around the region and country, and have a critical role to play in looking out for and reporting potential biosecurity risks. In an event such as a fruit fly incursion, the logistics sector has a critical role to play – critical to our ability to export.
KVH thanks Zespri, Ministry for Primary Industries and Forest Owners Association staff who also contributed to the workshop, and acknowledges the proactive approach the BOP logistics sector is taking to lift its focus on biosecurity.
While this particular workshop had a regional focus, it has elevated wider opportunity for MPI and GIA partners to work more closely with the freight and logistics sector at a national level.
With indications of higher levels of Psa-V this spring growers are urged to develop a robust protective spray programme best suited to their orchards.
Prior to bud-break apply a winter rate of copper to protect buds as they crack and move through the early bud phase period. In most regions vines will now be at or beyond this phase (see image).
Following bud-break, copper remains the preferred product as it is highly effective against Psa-V and provides persistent protection to canes and young tissue. Summer rates of copper are recommended and apply sprays in suitable weather.
Reapplication of copper at regular intervals will make sure all young tissue remains protected prior to high risk weather periods. Refer to the KVH Psa-V Risk Model. Sprays should be based around weather and take into consideration the rate of shoot growth.
This spring many growers are reporting higher levels of symptoms than seen for the past two seasons. Monitor to check the level of Psa-V infection within blocks to help decide if bactericides might be needed.
Bactericides might be considered if Psa-V is present and specific risk events like equinox gales, hail or frost occur.
Bactericides have additional use conditions this season so plan ahead to ensure these are met.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) recently announced its plans to beef up biosecurity on incoming cruise ships – a move fully supported by KVH.
Cruise ships entering New Zealand waters are from Australia or the Pacific Islands—regions harbouring high-risk pests and diseases including fruit flies, which are the greatest biosecurity threat to New Zealand’s horticultural industries.
KVH is also advocating for all fruit and vegetables loaded onto New Zealand-bound cruise vessels to meet New Zealand import standards. This means the produce would have the same status as fruit and vegetables bought from local supermarkets and carry minimal biosecurity risk.