Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD) was first identified as a disease (on a world basis) in Mackay in 1944.
Caused by a bacterium that lives in the vascular system of the cane plant, the disease restricts the plant’s ability to carry water – leading to lower yields.
Consistent and focused disease management is needed to minimise RSD incidence, including disease-free planting material, elimination of volunteer cane and sterilisation of cutting equipment. Yield losses range from 5-60%; the largest losses are associated with moisture stress (drought). The lack of external symptoms means the disease is easily overlooked and not appropriately managed.