Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD) was first discovered 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 and grow.
Due to improved diagnostics and management practices, this disease affects fewer than 5% of crops. When the disease does occur, it can cause losses of 5-60%. Losses are greatest when the cane is moisture stressed and even with good irrigation, losses can range from 10 to 30%.