Severe pest and disease outbreaks in the Australian sugarcane industry have caused some heavy losses to productivity.

Outbreaks of the diseases Fiji leaf gall, orange rust and smut have cost hundreds of millions of dollars and have impacted the sugarcane plant breeding program and on-farm management.

Exotic pests and diseases and more commonly endemic/established pests and diseases pose an ongoing challenge to the industry.


Managing sugarcane pests by using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach relies on good farm management practices. There are a number of common insect and animal pests found in Australia. Potential incursions of exotic pests not currently found in Australia also pose an ongoing threat.


Disease management has become significantly easier in recent years with the development of disease diagnostic testing methods.

When combined with increased quarantine and protection measures, fungicides (where appropriate), the breeding of resistant varieties and ongoing monitoring of potential threats, diseases can be kept to a minimum.

The first step in halting the spread of any disease is quick identification.