This programme develops integrated management strategies that minimise the effects of pests, diseases and weeds on crop production in a sustainable manner.


Research in this Key Area focuses on:

  • Development of proactive threat specific counter-measures and biosecurity incursions plans;
  • Generation of knowledge of the biology, pathogenicity and epidemiology of pathogens posing potential incursion threats to the industry, as well as the agroecology, behaviour and reproductive biology of new potential pests; and
  • Development of improved procedures and diagnostic technologies to ensure that varieties released or propagated into the industry, or imported via the industry Quarantine Facility, are free of pathogens and pests. The information and knowledge gained in this Key Research Area are applied towards the development of Integrated Management tactics for potential new pathogen and pest incursions into the industry.

Biology and Ecology

Research in this Key Area focuses on:

  • Investigation of the biology and ecology of the primary pathogens, pests (including nematodes) and weeds of the industry with a view to the development of integrated management tactics and knowledge exchange with the grower community; and
  • Assessment of the impact on crop yield of the primary and emerging pathogens, pests (including nematodes) and weeds in the industry to facilitate grower decision-making with regard to the implementation of management tactics. The information and knowledge gained in this Key Performance Area are applied to the development of integrated management tactics for the major pathogens, pests (including nematodes) and weeds in the industry.


Research in this Key Area seeks to develop knowledge regarding the biological basis of sugarcane resistance to pathogens and pests (including nematodes) in order to develop approaches, resources and technologies to enhance resistance breeding in Commercial Breeding.

Cultural and Environmental Practices

Research in this Key Area seeks to develop cost-effective technologies that permit the establishment of sugarcane agro-ecological environments in which pathogens, pests (including nematodes) are suppressed to low levels by benign biological or ecological means.

Several complementary habitat management technologies are considered, including:

  • Push-pull technology
  • Biodiversity management, including wetland, riparian zone and vegetation corridor restoration;
  • Crop husbandry, including crop rotation, use of fallow crops and crop residue management;
  • The Sterile Insect Technique; and
  • Parasitoid and entomo-pathogen release.


Investigations in this Key Research Area focus on the development of a suite of effective pathogen, pest (including nematodes) and weed control agents that are agriculturally, environmentally, ecologically and economically sustainable.

Research focuses on a series of technologies, including:

  • Development of pheromones to enable monitoring and rational agrochemical application programmes, primarily for eldana;
  • Search for more benign alternative chemistries; and
  • Development of superior application tactics and product formulations.

Current Projects

The efficiency of Sipha flava as a vector of SCMV

Endophytic Beauveria for the control of eldana, chilo and yellow sugarcane aphid

Development of methods for quantifying colonization of Sporisorium scitaminea (smut) in sugarcane

SIT against Eldana saccharina in sugarcane (funded by DAFF Research Technology Fund)

Research into long-term sustainable integrated pest control of Cacosceles newmannii (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Prioninae) (SU Contract: Prof. John Terblanche)

Development of TaqMan Real-Time Quantitative PCR Assays for the detection of sugarcane pathogens

Sterile Insect Technique for eldana management: Resource development and pilot release programme

Application of qPCR in smut epidemiology research

Variety Evaluation – Nematodes Project

Variety Evaluation – Diseases Project

Variety Evaluation – Phytotoxicity of selected herbicides to new varieties

Additional chemistries and strategies for sugarcane pest, nematode, disease and weed control

Prediction of quantitative resistance to sugarcane pests (eldana, yellow sugarcane aphid, thrips) and diseases (brown rust, tawny rust, smut) by means near infra-red spectroscopy

Improved field performance of sterile male Lepidoptera to ensure success in SIT programmes (funded by the IAEA)

Use of potted cane to determine yield loss to yellow sugarcane aphid

Fungicidal, nematicidal and biological control of Fusarium associated with eldana

Chemical ecology and microbiome of Cacosceles newmanii

Decontamination of mechanical harvesters to minimise RSD transmission

Development of a user-friendly, in-field test for RSD

The development of an eldana risk index on the SASRI WeatherWeb

Longhorn beetle suppression and monitoring technologies

Integrated weed management

Programme Manager: Crop Protection

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