Following the early detection of the unwanted virus, the tomato brown rugose fruit virus in a small tomato seed lot last year, a group of growers, GIA industry partners, and Biosecurity NZ met in February to discuss measures growers can adopt for good greenhouse hygiene to prepare for, and help prevent the spread of this virus. This virus is mechanically transmitted so it can be easily spread and can survive on greenhouse surfaces for up to 6 months.
From the meeting, TomatoesNZ and Vegetables NZ are working together to develop information tools for greenhouse growers on effective hygiene practices including a poster with high-resolution photos of virus symptoms for display in key areas, and an information sheet. The hygiene measures required are similar to those for managing bacterial canker, which many growers have some prior experience of. Key recommendations are:
Start clean, stay clean; maintain or enhance good hygiene practices; staff training and vigilance; and if something looks wrong, report it to MPI 0800 80 99 66 and get it tested.
A guide for vegetable-covered crops biosecurity was published last year and sent to all growers. There also have resources available for growers under the biosecurity tab.