Apr 01 2019

April Monthly Update

International reports of a new Tobamovirus spreading rapidly

Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV) is not known to have arrived in New Zealand or Australia so far.

However it is considered an “emerging risk” as it spreads rapidly overseas. It was first discovered in Israel in 2014, before being reported in Germany where it is said to be “under eradication”, in Italy, and in Mexico (under eradication) and one greenhouse in California in 2018 where it was eradicated.

ToBRFV is closely related to Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV). Its main hosts are tomatoes and capsicum, and it has been shown to survive on petunia, black nightshade and goosefootweeds. However it did not survive on potato or eggplant after inoculation in a lab. 

Symptoms on tomato fruits include yellow spotting and discoloration, green spots and deformations, green grooves and irregular brown spots. Fruits may be deformed and have irregular maturation. On tomato leaves, ToBRFV symptoms appear as mosaic symptoms, spots and yellowing. Leaves can also appear narrowed, puckered and deformed.

ToBRFV is easily transmitted from plant to plant by mechanical means which include common cultural practices, contaminated tools, equipment, hands, clothes, soil, and infected plants. Volunteer crop plants and solanaceous weed species can serve as pathogen reservoirs. For the time being, seed transferability of ToBRFV has not been demonstrated, but it cannot be ruled out. Tobamoviruses are very persistent and can last for a long-time on host plants, and survive on inert materials (clothing, tools), in plant remains, in substrate and in soil without losing their virulence.

Given the high risk that this virus presents to NZ and that it may be seed borne, The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is currently looking at adding a test for this virus to the testing regime already in place for imported seeds, which is being supported by the seed companies. 

We have published a new “Exotic pest fact sheet” for this virus, which is available for download under the biosecurity section of the tomatoesnz.co.nz website.

Report any unusual plant symptoms to the MPI exotic pest and disease hotline 0800 80 99 66.

(Information source: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation website: https://www.eppo.int/ACTIVITIES/plant_quarantine/alert_list_viruses/tomato_brown_rugose_fruit_virus)

New commodity levy order made

The Commodity Levies (Fresh Tomatoes) Order 2019 has been made and will have come into effect on 1 April 2019. The previous levy order (Vegetables and Fruit Order 2013) is revoked.

There is no change to the fresh tomato levy rate of 0.35%, from 1 April.  The due dates for payment and the way the levy is calculated are all staying the same.

Under the new order, the maximum allowable levy rate has increased from 0.35% to 0.50%. The levy rate can only be increased (or decreased) though a vote at an annual general meeting. 

There is also a change to who the levy is paid to – from 1 April the levy will be paid to TomatoesNZ Inc. directly instead of Horticulture New Zealand. However Horticulture New Zealand is still administering the collection of the levy on TomatoesNZ’s behalf.

The new order also requires collection agents (who pay the levy on behalf of growers) to provide more details to TomatoesNZ than before, including the name, postal address, email and phone number of the growers they have paid levy for. This is to ensure that we can communicate with everyone who pays a levy and they receive all the benefits of TomatoesNZ membership. 

There is a slight change to the wording around calculating the levy payable on exports. The new order specifies that offshore costs (including international freight) are excluded from the levy calculation. In practise this was already the case, but it is now clearly defined in the order.

“Biosecurity activities” is now explicitly listed as an activity for which the commodity levy money may be spent.

Conference registrations open

The Horticulture Conference 2019 is 31 July – 2nd August at Mystery Creek in Hamilton.

The combined TomatoesNZ Incorporated and TomatoesNZ (Product group of Horticulture New Zealand) AGM will be held late afternoon on Wednesday 31st July at Mystery Creek in Hamilton.

More details will follow in the coming months and be available on the www.tomatoesnz.co.nz conference page.

To register for the conference visit https://conferences.co.nz/hortnz2019/

TomatoesNZ will again be offering funding support for members who wish to attend conference.  

TomatoesNZ Board Nominations

Due to rotations there are currently two vacancies on the TNZ Board:

•             Malcolm Pook, Auckland, is retiring.

•             Simon Watson, Auckland,is retiring by rotation and making himself available for re-election.

This means the board will have a vacancy unless at least one more grower puts themselves forward for this election. 

If you are interested and want to know more please contact me on helen.barnes@hortnz.co.nz or 0508 467 869.

Any active fresh tomato grower that has grown and paid levy on fresh tomatoes during the past 12 months, or a director, shareholder, trustee or employee (nominated by the grower entity as their representative) of an active fresh tomato grower, can be nominated or make a nomination.

Nominations close 5:00pm Wednesday 12th June 2019