Ratoon stunting disease (RSD), mosaic, smut and leaf scald are diseases of major concern to the South African sugar industry. Red rot is a problem in certain areas, whereas pokkah boeng, gumming, rust and various leaf spots are of lesser importance. Field surveys to determine the incidence of diseases are an important aid towards the successful management of these problems.
At present, RSD can be accurately identified only in the laboratory, by microscopically examining the sap from samples of cane stalks. A sample consists of the basal portions (1 m) of 20 stalks per field collected from stools which appear to be stunted. Make arrangements for this test with your Extension Officer or Local Pest and Disease Control officer. A small user-pays charge applies to RSD diagnosis.