Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (SCYLV) was first detected in sugarcane of Réunion Island in 1997. A field experiment was undertaken to assess the potential impact of this virus on sugarcane production. The agronomic characteristics of SCYLV-infected plants were compared to those of virus-free plants of three sugarcane cultivars (R570, R577 and R579) which occupy more than 90% of the cultivated sugarcane area on Réunion Island. In the plant crop, significant losses in stalk weight (28%) and in sugar content (11%) were detected for cultivar R577, but not for either of the two other cultivars. In the first ratoon crop, yield reduction was detected for cultivar R577 (37%), but also for cultivar R579 (19%). Cultivar R577 also showed significant losses in sugar content (12%) due to reduced amount and quality of extracted cane juice. No yield reduction was found for cultivar R570, although stalk height and diameter were reduced in SCYLV-infected canes of this cultivar in the first ratoon crop. Leaf yellowing was observed at harvest of plant and ratoon crops when sugarcane was no longer irrigated, and 10-59% of symptomatic stalks could be attributed to the presence of SCYLV. The most severe yellowing symptoms were related to infection of sugarcane by the virus.
- Yellow leaf syndrome