Psa variant update

02 February 2023

Results from ongoing research and monitoring have confirmed the Psa variant first detected in mid-2022 is not a more virulent form nor is there any evidence to suggest it will be associated with any increased impact to growers.

KVH and Zespri Innovation had research commissioned to further understand the variant after it was detected through the regular review and sequencing of historical Psa samples. This research included plant assays and inoculations, and combined with regular field observations, has found no differences in Psa symptoms and severity between the two strains.

These results are reassuring and highlight the importance of KVH’s science-based monitoring programme for new forms of Psa as well as the robust processes we have in place for preventing spread if these appear.

The research results, which will now be collated and formally produced into a scientific report, also provides future value as a reference point in the event of further variants and will add to our knowledge about any potential significance they may have on our industry.

The completed research report is expected in June and will be made available on KVH’s website as information for growers and technical experts who regularly help manage Psa on-orchard as part of day-to-day best practice.

KVH thanks growers and staff at properties where the variant has been detected for their continued co-operation and support of our activities, particularly precautionary measures to manage movement of any risk items from these properties.

This work is an example of KVH’s ongoing role as the industry moves to the next phase of Psa management with the introduction of the new Pathway Management Plan and phasing out of the Psa NPMP.

In the new Plan, KVH maintains all high-risk activities for Psa such as preventing further spread and preparedness for any new variants should they be found. Alongside Zespri, we will be discussing this in more detail at upcoming informal workshops we encourage you to attend.