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Biosecurity Research and Development

Biosecurity Research and Development

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Biosecurity Research and Development

Investment in science to understand the nature of significant biosecurity threats, and developing tools for their management should they arrive, is a big priority for the kiwifruit industry.

KVH and Zespri established the Kiwifruit Biosecurity Science/Technical Advisory Group with the goal of reducing the risk and impact of biosecurity incursions to the kiwifruit industry. The group identifies knowledge gaps and prioritises research needs relating to kiwifruit biosecurity threats that are not yet established in New Zealand.

The group prioritises research to meet the following objectives:

  • Develop a greater understanding of biosecurity threats to the kiwifruit industry.
  • Develop tools to reduce the likelihood of establishment and impact of these biosecurity threats, which includes tools for diagnostics, surveillance, eradication and management.
  • Pathway analysis to understand where gaps may occur in the biosecurity system and take a collaborative approach with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to address these.

Associated with the group is the Kiwifruit Biosecurity Research Portfolio, managed by the Zespri Innovation team.

Leanne StewartKVHChief Executive
Matt DyckKVHBiosecurity Manager
Erin LaneKVHSenior Biosecurity Advisor
Dr Chandan PalZespriInnovation Manager
Rebecca BurnsZespriInnovation Leader
Juliet AnsellZespriHead of Core and Resilience Innovation
Robert TaylorMinistry for Primary IndustriesTeam Manager Mycology & Botany
Simon CookKVHKVH Board Chair
Dr David BellamyPlant & Food ResearchScience Group Leader Entomology
Dr Rebecca McDougalScionTeam Lead Pathology Ecology & Control
Dr David TeulonPlant & Food ResearchPrincipal Scientist
Karen PughMinistry for Primary IndustriesTeam Manager Fresh Produce Imports
Sophie BadlandNew Zealand WinegrowersBiosecurity and Emergency Response Manager
Dr Phil HumeCOBRASDirector


KVH investigates reports of unusual symptoms to identify and manage any biosecurity risks.

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06 Jun 2024

On the look-out for vine disorders

KVH follow-up of unusual symptoms including “sudden collapse of vines” during flowering or leading up to harvest, often identifies symptoms which have gone unnoticed for some time. Leader dieback; swellings at, above or below the graft; swelling at the trunk crown (base); or cracking, cankering, or swelling of leaders and trunks is often not noticed, as the focus in any production year is generally on the canopy, buds, flowers, and fruit rather than the architecture of vines. A perfect job for autumn and early winter is to complete a monitoring round to assess and act on vine symptoms that have crept in under the radar across the years and which are indicative of kiwifruit vine disorders. Mapping of symptomatic vines allows insight into areas where gaps are emerging, or canopies are becoming sparse due to a decline in vine health. Replacement strategies, such as replanting alongside affected plants or stringing of replacement canes from vines in adjacent rows will allow for the cut-out of infected vines without a significant drop in production. The earlier infected vines are removed the better, as spores from the fungal invaders can be harboured in fruiting bodies within the infected area and spread via soil, water, and air movements. Infections in leaders and canes can also be spread by unclean tools and infections in rootstock can travel across graft unions and impact on newly grafted cultivars. Research projects initiated through the Zespri Biosecurity Innovation portfolio have identified several fungal organisms associated with the various kiwifruit trunk disease symptoms and shown that disease complexes rather than single species are generally involved. Regular monitoring of sites is valuable as new growing situations can change the status of fungal diseases. Different cultivars and rootstock may be more susceptible, marginal growing areas, environmental factors, stressed and aging vines, different management practices (e.g. girdling) and build-up of site inoculum are all factors that can lead to a change in vine impacts. Annual review helps ensure orchards remain resilient and successful into the future. More information on vine decline and trunk diseases is available here and an image library of trunk symptoms to watch out for is available here. If you have unusual symptoms that need follow-up, contact [email protected]

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04 Jun 2024

Mystery Creek Fieldays – see you there

We look forward to seeing you at Fieldays next week. We’ll be in the Zespri tent as per previous years, taking part in midday presentations each day providing updates on our biosecurity activities and upcoming Biosecurity Symposium. Gates are open - and we’re on-site - daily from Wednesday to Friday, 8.00am to 5.00pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Fieldays website.

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04 Jun 2024

Upcoming KVH AGM

KVH’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place at 9am, Wednesday 21 August, at Mercury Baypark in Mount Maunganui. Growers will receive their AGM packs by email during the last week of July. This is a public meeting and anyone who is interested is welcome to attend. Special guest Dr Jacqueline Rowarth will be joining us to speak about precision breeding, followed by the NZKGI and then Zespri annual meetings.

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