Sugar Tech

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 579–583 | Cite as

Yield Loss in Sugarcane Due to Diatraea tabernella Dyar (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in Panama

  • Randy Atencio
  • François-Regis Goebel
  • José Pérez Milián
  • Mérida Rodríguez
  • Luisana Fernández
Research article


The moth borer Diatraea tabernella Dyar (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeds on sugarcane causing holes and tunnels in the stalks resulting in yield losses. Damage facilitates the entry of red rot (Colletotrichum falcatum) causing inversion of sucrose in the sugarcane juice. Two types of damage that can be related to sugar loss were assessed and analyzed: the percentage of internodes bored in the stalk and the internal damage (=length of borer tunnels). After a preliminary assessment on borer damage in 2012, a new study was conducted in 2016 to thoroughly investigate the impact of D. tabernella not only on cane and sugar yield, but also on stalk parameters (length, diameter, stalk mass, etc.). This assessment was conducted on eight varieties and was carried out on three samples (replicates) of five stalks per variety grouped in five damage levels (0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 internodes bored). The results indicated that stalk mass, fiber and sugar yield were significantly affected by the stalk borer. Sugar yield decreased up to 2.56 t of sugar per hectare, with damage level 3 similar to the yield with no damage (level 0). Internodes of cultivars E07-09, Na56-42, SP01-2050 and SP81-3250 were less damaged at the two-internode category and had lower sugar losses. There was an exact linear relationship negative (decreasing) between sugar yield (t/ha) and damage levels (y = −0.579x + 9.324, R 2 = 0.9069) with a range from 12.9% with damage level 1 to 26.47% loss with damage level 4.


Sugarcane Borers Damage Yield losses 



SENACYT/SFERE provided the Ph.D. Grant and CALESA provided technical and logistical support. Hans H. Hammerschlag (CALESA CEO), Guillermo Ramirez (Department of Fields), Greisy Borrero (Laboratory of Quality and Sugar) and Abby Guerra (Biotechnology Laboratory) in particular are thanked for their support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Randy Atencio has received research Grants from Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologìa de Panamá (SENACYT). François-Regis Goebel has received research grants from Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD). José Pérez Milián and Mérida Rodríguez have received research Grants from Instituto de Investigaciones de la Caña de Azúcar de Cuba (INICA). Luisana Fernández has received research grants from University of Panama. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Sugar Research & Promotion 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Montpellier/CIRAD Unité de Recherche AIDAMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.CIRAD Unité de Recherche AIDAMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.INICAResearch Institute of SugarcaneHavanaCuba
  4. 4.Faculty of AgronomyUniversity of PanamaPanama CityPanama

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