New York State Ag Commissioner Darrel Aubertine recently announced that the Empire State is making excellent progress in eradicating Plum Pox Virus, a disease affecting stone fruit. And 24,000 acres in Orleans and Wayne counties are one year closer to having the PPV quarantine lifted.
2012 is the first year since 2006 that state inspectors have detected no evidence of PPV. As a result, Orleans and Wayne Counties have been released from a Regulated Area quarantine designation.
"This is great news for New York's stone fruit industry," says Aubertine. "I'm cautiously optimistic that this progress will soon lead to a total eradication here in New York State and, in turn, the continental United States."
Prunus species trees can once again be planted in both countes for fruit or ornamental purposes in what was once a "no plant zone." However, propagation of budwood and nursery plantings still isn't allowed in the quarantine area. Regulations in Niagara County remain unchanged due to a positive test result for Plum Pox Virus in 2011.
Stone fruits are fruits that have stone pits in them, and include peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and prunes. PPV is spread on infested budwood or through transmission by aphids. Plum Pox first appeared in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in October 1999, and was eradicated there by 2009.
The virus first appeared in New York State in Niagara County in 2006 and was later found in Orleans and Wayne Counties. Since then, state inspectors from the Department of Agriculture and Markets have conducted surveys in a 16-county region, with primary samples taken in Niagara, Orleans and Wayne counties. The 2012 survey collected 155,927 samples in more than 1,250 acres.
Economic impact huge
"The economic impact of this new designation on Orleans and Wayne County growers will be tremendous," notes Aubertine. Growers can begin replanting these high-value fruits.
New York ranks 11th in the nation for peaches, producing 6,800 tons valued at $8,352,000 in 2011. Most of the state's fruit production is around Lake Ontario; fresh market fruit is also located in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island.