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Kiwifruit bacteria Psa found on Whangarei orchard

Kiwifruit bacteria Psa found on Whangarei orchard

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 25 (BusinessDesk) - The bacterial vine disease that struck New Zealand's kiwifruit sector in 2010 has been found on a Whangarei orchard for the first time, Kiwifruit Vine Health says.

Local growers have been notified that vines on an orchard in the region tested positive for Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae bacteria, better known as Psa-V, in the first confirmed case in Whangarei, KVH said in a statement. The industry group, which was set up in response to the 2010 outbreak, will hold a meeting for Whangarei growers next week, and carry out extensive monitoring of the 49 orchards in the region over the weekend.

"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 grow," chief executive Barry O'Neil said. "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."

The Psa bacteria infected 80 percent of kiwifruit orchards nationwide and is estimated to have cost the industry up to $930 million in lost exports. In the season just been, kiwifruit recovered to pre-Psa levels, which marketer Zespri International said put the industry "in good heart."

Shares of Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the country's biggest kiwifruit grower, fell 1.5 percent to $3.30.


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