Industry biosecurity day a success

12 November 2020

Last week there were several biosecurity events held during the region’s Biosecurity Week. On Wednesday, KVH and Zespri jointly hosted a Kiwifruit Biosecurity Industry Day, providing the opportunity for everyone to learn more about work underway to protect the industry from unwanted pests and diseases.

Key research findings, and practical examples of research the industry has been taking part in were discussed, particularly around one of our highest risk threats, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). Sonia Whiteman from Zespri gave an interesting presentation about latest learnings on BMSB biology and impacts from trials in Italy, and Gonzalo Avila from Plant & Food Research explained trials underway in China and the USA to learn more about the promising biocontrol the Samurai Wasp. The information from these trials is fundamental to developing and putting in place an effective release plan for the wasp, should we ever need it in response to BMSB in New Zealand.

Biosecurity responses were discussed at a national level by John Walsh from Biosecurity New Zealand, who spoke about the different parts of the New Zealand biosecurity system and explained how they all fit together to ensure there are numerous intervention points that either stop biosecurity risk getting here, or capture and manage the risk that does make it to our shores and past our borders.

John also discussed with the audience the importance of surveillance for early detection of pests and diseases – vital for any successful response. As well as the specialised, targeted surveillance and trapping programmes in place across New Zealand (read more about this in the KVH Annual Update here) the general surveillance undertaken by growers greatly increases our chances of detecting harmful threats early enough to do something about them.

KVH’s Erin Lane and Linda Peacock delved into this area in more detail, with a presentation on the importance of reporting unusual symptoms seen on orchards. There have been 37 reports of unusual symptoms reported to KVH so far this year, which were summarised on the day, including case studies of how investigations take place and exactly what happens after a report is made. You can read more about unusual symptoms, and see details of recent reports, on the KVH website here.

What we know - and the knowledge gaps we’re aware need to be filled by science and research – about kiwifruit trunk diseases and the topical Kiwifruit Vine Decline Syndrome, were discussed in light of the unusual symptoms they display. By being aware of what is normal on the orchard helps to quickly identify what is out of the ordinary and a potential sign of infection.

In support of reporting the unusual, the day ended with a demonstration of a new app to make it easier to identify potential pests and weeds. The Find-A-Pest app is free and easy to use with observations made simply by clicking the camera button or via one of the factsheets which highlight particular species of interest to the kiwifruit industry. Read more about the app and how the kiwifruit industry can make best use of it here.

Videos from the day can be watched on the KVH YouTube channel here and the individual PowerPoint presentations can be viewed below:

· The biosecurity system is ready to respond – John Walsh, Biosecurity New Zealand

· A partnership approach for our high-risk pests - Matt Dyck, KVH

· Optimising innovation across the biosecurity landscape - David Teulon, B3

· BMSB impacts and biology - Sonia Whiteman, Zespri

· Biocontrol preparedness for BMSB - Gonzalo Avila, Plant & Food Research

· Understanding biosecurity risk of key orchard inputs - Kerry Everett, Plant & Food Research

· Reporting the unusual: what does this mean? - Erin Lane and Linda Peacock, KVH

· Kiwifruit Trunk Diseases: understanding our biodiversity and risk - Joy Tyson, Plant & Food Research

· Kiwifruit Vine Decline Syndrome: what it is and isn’t - Sonia Whiteman, Zespri

· Training on how to use Find-A-Pest - Claire Stewart, Scion and Erin Lane, KVH