This month KVH will be consulting with kiwifruit nurseries and growers on several proposed changes to the Kiwifruit Plant Certification Scheme (KPCS).
These changes are based on feedback received from growers and nurseries over the past 18 months since the scheme was introduced in May 2014.
Key proposed changes and amendments include:
Alternative Psa-V monitoring and testing requirements
This will open up options for nurseries supplying outdoor-grown plants to local growers within their growing region. There would be no requirement to test for the ‘common’ NZ strain of Psa-V, however additional requirements would exist to test for other strains of Psa (non-NZ, streptomycin resistant and copper tolerant).
Definition and controls for ‘growing for own use’
From 1 October 2016, kiwifruit plants being moved between properties must either be KPCS certified, or for a grower’s use on properties they own within the same kiwifruit growing region. The consultation paper will provide clarity on the definition of ‘growing for own use’, the number of plants that can be moved under this mechanism and the controls associated with these movements.
Additional target organisms for the scheme
Additional biosecurity threats will be added as target organisms to the Scheme. Technical advice is being provided to ensure nurseries providing certified plants have the ability to control, or detect, these other target organisms within their operation.
Details of all the proposed changes and amendments to the Scheme are available in a consultation paper which has been released to nurseries and is available to growers on the KVH website.
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.