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Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Fine for seeds in trousers
18 March 2021
A Rotorua bus driver was fined $4,500 last month for attempting to smuggle seeds through Auckland Airport. The fine follows the detection of five packets of vegetable seeds in a zip pocket of a pair...
Fine for seeds in trousers
18 March 2021

A Rotorua bus driver was fined $4,500 last month for attempting to smuggle seeds through Auckland Airport.

The fine follows the detection of five packets of vegetable seeds in a zip pocket of a pair of trousers in the man’s baggage in September 2019. He had falsely declared he wasn’t carrying any plant products on his arrival card and later admitted hiding the seeds so they wouldn’t be detected by quarantine officers.

His lawyer tried to argue the biosecurity risk was very low, given the seeds were commercially packaged. However, in sentencing the judge stated he didn’t have the skill to determine if the seeds would harm New Zealand and that a significant fine was needed.

Bringing in or buying seeds online for import into New Zealand is a huge risk as unfortunately, many seeds aren’t what they say they are and more importantly do not meet New Zealand’s strict biosecurity rules and could risk introducing a plant disease.

Importing seeds is best left to reputable commercial operators who know what they are doing and are aware of what they must always do to meet the rules (including an import permit; phytosanitary certificate; and post entry quarantine for example).

Anyone can be prosecuted for bringing, or attempting to bring, unwanted plant species or pests and diseases into New Zealand. Biosecurity New Zealand enforce all requirements. Any report of kiwifruit plants grown from unapproved seed imports will be investigated. Please contact the pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66 if you are aware of any unapproved kiwifruit seed imports. 

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Fun Fact
18 March 2021
Australian biosecurity officers have helped prevent a significant es-cargo-t risk from sliding into the country, with several Giant African Snail (GAS) interceptions. Last year, there were 28 GAS...
Fun Fact
18 March 2021

Australian biosecurity officers have helped prevent a significant es-cargo-t risk from sliding into the country, with several Giant African Snail (GAS) interceptions.

Last year, there were 28 GAS interceptions across the ditch, found in a variety of imported cargo and at different locations across the country at the border. While we don’t have as many interceptions in New Zealand they are occasionally also found at our border and are a big risk.

If the GAS were to establish here, it would be a risk to over 500 different kinds of plants and most vegetables. It has also been known to make its way up the bark of large trees, especially citrus.

The main biosecurity risk lies in the introduction of the snail in New Zealand attached to plant material, crates, containers, machinery, or motor vehicles. It can hide out of general sight and eggs may be introduced in soil. Airport interceptions are also made as travellers (outside of COVID-19 restrictions) bring in the delicacy to satisfy expatriates with a meal from home!

Containers and cargo from high-risk GAS infested countries are inspected upon arrival at our ports, and the pest is one of the ‘most unwanted’ in the annual Tauranga port community calendar, showing what the pest looks like, how to identify it, and the harm it could do to primary industries and homes. Make sure to keep an eye out and report any potential finds.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Waiting for picking: go out and zap those weeds
18 March 2021
Autumn is a good time to identify and remove harmful weeds remaining in orchard shelter belts, or any area adjacent to the orchard.  The flowerheads of the invasive South American pampas grass...
Waiting for picking: go out and zap those weeds
18 March 2021

Autumn is a good time to identify and remove harmful weeds remaining in orchard shelter belts, or any area adjacent to the orchard. 

The flowerheads of the invasive South American pampas grass have just emerged (not to be confused with the native toetoe which flowered in October).  Within another month or two, hundreds of fluffy seeds on each pampas flowerhead will be blown by the wind, ready to cling to Hayward fruit especially.  Any pampas seed on fruit is a serious and significant reject factor – it is very difficult for the rollers to remove these seeds in the pack-house. 

To remove pampas:

  • Cut pampas seed heads off and burn or bury them in a disposal pit.
  • Wear gloves and overalls as pampas leaves are very sharp. 
  • Carefully apply 2% glyphosate to the basal leaves of the pampas plant.  A small amount of surfactant/penetrant will help the herbicide move into the tough pampas leaves – 1ml per litre of mixed herbicide is effective. 
  • Apply herbicide carefully and under low pressure to avoid any possible off-target damage, ideally using a knapsack sprayer.

More information on identifying and controlling pampas is available here

Another weed to look out for is moth plant.  Spring is the best time to get rid of this vine from orchard shelter belts, however, if you have missed plants, they will likely have formed large seed pods by now.  Try to remove these as they will split open in the winter, spilling their wind-borne seeds which can be blown for kilometres. 

The pods can be hooked out of shelter trees by using an aluminium pole with a pruning saw clamped to the end.  Bury the seed pods in a disposal pit (the seed will not yet be viable).

More information about controlling moth plant, including the biocontrol agent moth beetle released by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, is available here. 

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Gardens an early warning tool for pests
18 March 2021
A new generation of bug hunters is being built through combining education outside the classroom with good old-fashioned gardening. KVH has been working with Your Garden: Children’s Therapy...
Gardens an early warning tool for pests
18 March 2021

A new generation of bug hunters is being built through combining education outside the classroom with good old-fashioned gardening.

KVH has been working with Your Garden: Children’s Therapy Garden (a Tauranga Moana organisation that provides primary school children with horticultural learning experiences to reduce anxiety and promote wellbeing) to integrate sentinel garden biosecurity ideas into their programme.

Two groups of students from local primary schools are currently going through the programme, where they spend a morning a week at the garden site choosing what to plant in their plots and taking them through to harvest. The excess harvest is taken by the children and coordinators to charity for distribution.

During KVH’s most recent visit last week, Karyn Lowry talked with students about Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). The students were really interested to hear about this pest, and others that they can keep an eye out for in their garden.

Sentinel gardens are a Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital initiative managed by KVH and consist of a variety of host plants that might provide early warning of invasive insect species and pathogens. Mainly based in schools, students monitor gardens for any signs of the pests and diseases that we want to keep out of the Bay of Plenty. So, not only are the gardens hands-on and fun, but they’re also a great way to build biosecurity awareness and surveillance skills amongst the younger generation. Read more about them here.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Kiwifruit Phytophthora survey
18 March 2021
KVH, Zespri and Plant & Food Research are currently working together on a survey of Phytophthora pathogens in kiwifruit orchards throughout New Zealand. This project will support New...
Kiwifruit Phytophthora survey
18 March 2021

KVH, Zespri and Plant & Food Research are currently working together on a survey of Phytophthora pathogens in kiwifruit orchards throughout New Zealand. This project will support New Zealand’s biosecurity by better understanding our current baseline of Phytophthora species associated with kiwifruit.

Sampling rounds will be completed in autumn and spring (2021/2022). The focus for this current autumn round will be sites from the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

Growers who have vines with known or suspected Phytophthora symptoms and who would like to be involved in this survey can read more about the project here.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Eye on the Psa Risk Model
18 March 2021
The Psa Risk Model currently predicts moderate Psa infection risk through next week for Kerikeri, Maungatapere, and Gisborne. This is a reminder that risk of Psa rises as we move into the autumn...
Eye on the Psa Risk Model
18 March 2021

The Psa Risk Model currently predicts moderate Psa infection risk through next week for Kerikeri, Maungatapere, and Gisborne.

This is a reminder that risk of Psa rises as we move into the autumn period, with weather conditions again suited to the development of infection via inoculum associated with previous infections, including leaf spots and cankers.

Growers with early harvest blocks should apply copper to protect fruit stalks and soft tissue within the canopy. Apply this alone if there is any risk of drift and then plan to follow up with an Actigard spray when neighbouring blocks have been harvested.

Be cautious in applying Actigard to vines that have been severely stressed by drought – it is not recommended for vines showing signs of stress such as wilting, premature leaf yellowing or leaf drop.

Be sure sprayers are well rinsed to avoid contamination of following tank mixes.

Young plants also benefit from protective coppers to avoid infection risk to late grown tissue, and especially for blocks with significant leaf spot as Psa can reactivate from the edges of these spots once conditions become cooler and wetter.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Keep the reports coming
18 March 2021
We often get phone calls and emails from growers and members of the public who think they may have found an unusual disease symptom, or a pest from our most unwanted list. This is a good thing...
Keep the reports coming
18 March 2021

We often get phone calls and emails from growers and members of the public who think they may have found an unusual disease symptom, or a pest from our most unwanted list.

This is a good thing – it’s exactly the type of behaviour we want to see as it shows people are on the lookout and aware of not just biosecurity risk in general, but also of the look and size of the organisms that are considered the highest risk to the kiwifruit industry.

With a lot of people on orchards for harvest, we’re getting an increased number of reports and emails (thankfully, they’ve been of things that are either native and or established).

The message remains the same for growers, contractors, and anyone else on-orchard: stay vigilant, be on the lookout, and report anything unusual. Please take a photo (very rarely will we need to see the actual specimen) of what you find and report it through the quick and easy Find-A-Pest app, or feel free to email us so we can have a look at it for you.

Unusual symptoms reported and investigated by KVH are also available online. This information is provided to help growers identify similar symptoms they may be seeing on their own properties.

Don’t be afraid to report any suspect finds – the sooner you alert us the more we can do to help.

Kiwifruit Vine Health

25 Miro St
Mount Maunganui
Tauranga 3116

Tel:  0800 665 825
Fax: 07 574 7591

Email: info@kvh.org.nz