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Italy: Kiwifruit under cover PSA prevention trials taking placeRecently there have been reports of trials taking place in New Zealand relating to the cultivation of kiwifruit under cover, in an attempt to thwart PSA. So far the trials have been promising. New Zealand is not alone in suffering from PSA, other kiwi production areas have also have problems, so it should come as no surprise that similar trials have been taking place in Italy.
Dr David Tanner, General Manager of Science and Innovation at Zespri, says there are two covered canopy trials taking place in the country and two fully closed greenhouse trials. Both are being managed by Zespri in conjunction with Zespri gold growers.
"One of the covered canopy trials is in Latina, with one year old Gold 3 plants and the other is in Faenze with mature Hort 16A. The greenhouse trials include two year old Hort 16A and Gold 3 plants," he says.
The trials are ongoing, but so far show signs of success. "To date, no infection has been found in any vines," Dr Tanner says.
He points out that semi or non-permeable cloth is a more cost effective - and less extreme - solution than a fully covered greenhouse, keeping the canopy protected from rainfall, whilst remaining open on the sides.
"Compared to a full greenhouse there is a greater chance of PSA making contact with plant material. However, it is thought that the drier conditions and limited free water may be less favourable to the growth and spread of PSA."
The trials may also prove beneficial in other ways. "Temperatures under the canopy are slightly higher in Spring and the same or slightly cooler in Summer, which appears to benefit fruit size," says Dr Tanner.
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