1 Aug 2013

Kiwifruit growers now need to detail PSA-V management

8:05 pm on 1 August 2013

Kiwifruit growers now need to have in place a plan detailing how they're managing the vine-killing disease PSA-V in their orchards.

The requirement for a plan to be in place from 1 August is part of the National PSA-V Pest Management Plan, which took effect in May.

Almost three years after the disease was discovered in a Te Puke orchard, more than 2000 kiwifruit orchards have now been identified as having PSA.

The grower body set up to deal with PSA, Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), says it will be following up with growers who don't have a complete orchard management plan.

Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated president Neil Trebilco says he believes having an orchard management plan is essential.

More than two thirds of growers support plan - survey

A Bay of Plenty kiwifruit grower says the new requirement to have in place a plan detailing how growers are managing the vine killing disease PSA-V is worthwhile, despite criticism from at least one other grower that it seems a bit pointless.

One producer, Chris Dunn, says spraying has not stopped the spread of the disease with people actively cutting PSA out of their orchards, so he thinks the management plan and growers' role in it is not worth the effort.

But another Te Puke grower, Robbie Ellison, whose orchard is just half a kilometre from where the disease was first discovered, says the management plan is not futile.

"It's been three years and I think it is important that we do have a plan going forward, it's here to stay and we've just got to learn to live with it now."

Mr Ellison says filling out the orchard management plan is not as onerous as he thought it was going to be and is basically putting down on paper what he's already doing.

KVH chief executive Barry O'Neill says the new requirement represents the best plan they could come up with so far.

He says the plan enables the approach to be modified each year as better ways of controlling and overcoming the impacts of PSA are developed.

"It's a plan that has been developed by growers, with growers, for growers, as well as the best science that we could identify at the time."

Mr O'Neill says a survey on the plan found 70% support for it among growers.