Biosecurity Grower Day a success
Last week there were several biosecurity events held during the region’s ‘Spotlight on Biosecurity’ week. On Wednesday, KVH and Zespri jointly hosted a Kiwifruit Grower Biosecurity Day, providing the opportunity to learn more about the work underway to protect the industry from unwanted pests and diseases.
Ceratocystis fimbriata, commonly known in New Zealand as Brazilian Wilt, is one such threat. Special guest speaker Professor Acelino Alfenas, from the University of Viçosa in Brazil, presented on the impacts and control of wilt caused by the disease on kiwifruit in Brazil.
KVH Biosecurity Manager Matt Dyck followed this up when he talked about the kiwifruit industry’s readiness and response planning, which aims to reduce the likelihood and impact of an incursion (through planning with industry and Biosecurity New Zealand), advancing tools and knowledge, and raising industry awareness and best practice.
Part of raising awareness with industry is promoting the Kiwifruit’s Most Unwanted list, which was detailed on the day to explain what is on the list and why. The newly updated list has been used to create easy to use leaflets and posters available to growers and include a new addition – the Spotted Lanternfly, which has yet to be seen in New Zealand but is causing damage in the USA considered to be just as bad as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
Sonia Whiteman from the Zespri Innovation team also mentioned the Spotted Lanternfly when providing an update on Research and Development priorities for 2019/20. Alongside ongoing work learning more about management of BMSB and the similar Yellow Spotted Stink Bug, there will be research into field management of Spotted Lanternfly and the damage it could do to plants and vines.
Pathogens (Brazilian Wilt and Phytophthora) are a priority for the team too, as is gaining a greater understanding of any barriers to the adoption of best practice biosecurity guidelines created and implemented by KVH earlier this year.
If you missed out on attending the grower day there will be videos of presentations available on the near future.
Following on from grower day in the morning, KVH and Biosecurity New Zealand held a closed workshop to utilise the expertise and knowledge in the room from the morning session. The aim of the workshop was to understand and learn from Professor Acelino Alfenas’ first hand experience of Brazilian Wilt and its impact in Brazilian kiwifruit. We explored the key knowledge gaps identified in our readiness and response plan, focussing on three areas; the pathogens biology, surveillance and detection, and the best eradication and containment options. The workshop was a great success and we will now apply these learnings to refine and advance our current readiness and response plan and prioritise our furture research activites/investment in this space.