Costs of major pests and diseases to the Australian sugar industry

R.S. McLeodA, G.G McMahonB and P.G. AllsoppC

A eSYS Development, GPO Box 2482, Sydney, New South Wales 2001, Australia.

B Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, PO Box 86, Indooroopilly, Queensland 4068, Australia.

C Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, PO Box 651, Bundaberg, Queensland 4670, Australia.


An estimate of the annual control and production loss costs attributable to major sugarcane pests and diseases in the Australian sugar industry was calculated using pest and disease incidence data derived from Cane Protection and Productivity Board surveys and published empirical sugarcane disease loss relationships.

The total cost of major diseases and pests in the 1996 crop was $111m. Pest and disease control costs accounted for 9% of the total cost estimate, and largely comprised insecticides used to control canegrubs in northern and southern cane growing areas. Of the major pests and diseases considered, soil-borne pathogens were estimated to cause the most substantial cost of $83m. The next most important pest and diseases were canegrubs ($11.1m), ratoon stunting disease ($6.3m) and sugarcane rust ($3.6m).


Plant Protection Quarterly (1999) 14 (2) 42-46.