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NZ: Organic kiwifruit doing well in face of PSA

It's a bitter sweet season for orchardist Dave Goodwin. His organically grown Zespri G3 produced a good crop, but at the same time a PSA outbreak in his other orchard has spelt the end of his Hort 16A vines.

"I’m very pleased at how this G3 crop has turned out and while we’ve had some frights, so far there have been no positive tests results for Psa-V in this orchard."

"Thank goodness we had this fruit and the other new varieties which appear to be more tolerant of Psa-V."

This year marks the first time Zespri has enough organically grown G3 to test it in a new market category. previously the volumes were very low and could only be sold alongside conventional fruit.

Zespri will export more than one million trays of both conventional and organic G3 fruit this season and has 450ha in production and that is expected to rise dramatically when more vines are grafted this winter.

The size and volume of fruit achieved using organic growing techniques has impressed Dave because traditionally organic orchards produce smaller and lower volumes of fruit.

Dave has managed to keep the orchard PSA free, despite the fact that organic production means there are less options for spraying the plants.

Many growers, particularly those in Te Puke, who have removed vines, are now considering the options of grafting to G3 or G14, the sweet green kiwifruit, to replace their Hort16A Psa-V infected vines. The success of orchardists like Dave, who have grown the new varieties for up to four years, are being closely watched by those deciding where their futures might lay.

Zespri will announce this month the start of the tender process for new variety licences. It is expected many orchardists who have cut out Hort16A vines will graft to G3 which has so far shown a good level of tolerance to the bacterial disease and been well tested in the markets.

Source: www.sunlive.co.nz

Publication date: 5/3/2012


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