Upfold Hot Water Treatment Plant for Effective 50°C. 2 hour Hot Water Treatment of Seed cane against ratoon stunting disease (RSD).
For the Small, Medium and Larger Grower.

The Upfold Hot Water Treatment Plant has made a large contribution in the fight againsed Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD).


Surveys have shown that ratoon stunting disease (RSD) is common in most sugar industries in southern and central Africa. In South Africa in 1998, approximately 12% of commercial cane fields contained some level of RSD infection, but the mean number of stalks infected was low. The most recent estimates of the numbers of infected fields in other industries are: Swaziland 30%; Zambia 50%; Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe 60-90%; Tanzania and Mafambisse estate in Mozambique 100%. In some of these industries the majority of stalks within fields are infected. Field experiments have shown that RSD can cause reductions in yield of 15-30% under good irrigated conditions, and 20-40% under average rainfed growing conditions in varieties that are widely grown in Africa. By integrating survey data and experiment results, it is estimated that yield losses due to RSD in South Africa are equivalent to approximately 1% of current production, but that losses of 10-20% or even greater are probable in some of the other industries.

Minimising the effects of ratoon stunting disease (RSD) on production should be a priority throughout the region. To achieve this, attention must be given to two main factors. Firstly, the consistent production of healthy seedcane through well-managed schemes incorporating hot water treatment and, secondly, improving the efficiency of stubble destruction before fields are replanted, to prevent ratoon stunting disease (RSD) surviving in infected volunteer plants and spreading to new plantings. In many areas this will require longer breaks from cane before fields are replanted.

The above is an abstract from a paper by RA BAILEY and SA McFARLANE delivered at the 73rd Annual Congress of the South African Sugar Technologist's Association (1999). Full text available from the SASTA Secretary, Experiment Station, P/Bag X02, Mount Edgecombe 4300, Telephone (031) 5393205.