BULLETIN NO.: MGR-96-051
To: All Reinsured Companies
All Risk Management Field Offices
FSA Headquarters, Program Delivery and Field Offices
From: Kenneth D. Ackerman
Acting Administrator
Subject: 1996 Appraisal Deviation for Smut Infected Sugarcane in Texas
BACKGROUND:
Recent outbreaks of stem or culmicolous smut (Ustilago Scitaminea Syd.) have
been reported in many sugarcane fields in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Hot dry conditions promote spore survival/dispersion and mild overwintering
conditions for the past four winters have contributed to the smut buildup in
the area. This, coupled with persistent drought conditions, has triggered a
severe outbreak of the disease in many fields.
The disease is spread by smut spores entering the basal buds of the canes,
germinating, and penetrating the stalk. The disease progresses upward inside
the cane and eventually reaches the growing point where it is transformed
into a buggy whip type growth. Easily recognizable at this point, the whip
is a thinly cased body containing millions of dark brown to black spores
easily dispersed and spread throughout the field by wind and through
irrigation water. Affected plants are stunted, stalks are abnormally thin
and lateral buds or eyes often germinate and grow giving the whole plant a
grassy appearance.
The ultimate affect of the fungus is a reduction in the amount of processable
sugar from infected canes. The disease is progressive once it becomes
established in a field as there is no known chemical control for the fungus.
The most effective control has been the use of resistant varieties. Although
the disease has been present in many of the fields since about 1981, the
disease has had no noticeable effect on yields until this year. Yield
reductions become noticeable when plant/stool infestation levels throughout
the field exceed the 10-15 percent range.
Current appraisal methods in the Sugarcane Handbook provide for appraisals
based on the Primary Shoot and Mature Weight methods but neither method makes
any allowance for the affect of this disease on potential yields for
processed sugar.
Based on processing information obtained from the sugar mill and in
collaboration with Texas Agricultural Extension Service at Texas A&M
University, sugarcane appraisals need to be adjusted to reflect the reduction
in sugarcane tonnage from smut infected acreage. The reduced tonnage will
ultimately result in a reduced amount of processable sugar.
ACTION:
For smut infected sugarcane, to be used ONLY in conjunction with the Primary
Shoot appraisal method, use the following table to adjust the per acre
appraisal (tons) for the field based on the simple average of the percent
smut infected canes:
Field Average Tonnage Field Average Tonnage
Percent Smut Remaining Factor Percent Smut Remaining Factor
Infected Canes Infected Canes
-------------- ------------------ ------------------ ----------------
Less than 20% Use full appraisal 50% .30 factor
20% .80 factor 55% .25 factor
25% .70 factor 60% .20 factor
30% .60 factor 65% .15 factor
35% .50 factor 70% .10 factor
40% .40 factor 75% .05 factor
45% .35 factor 80% or Greater Total Loss
APPLICATION:
1 Use the Primary Shoot appraisal method from the loss adjustment
procedure. Note: Primary Shoots are identified as the first shoot from
the plant (cluster, stool, or ratoon).
2 Document, on the appraisal worksheet, the following:
(a) From each sample (used for the Primary Shoot appraisal method):
Select 5 consecutive plants/stools from the same sample. Count the
total number of stalks from the 5 consecutive plants/stools. Count
the number of smut infected stalks from the same plants/stools.
Divide the number of smut infected stalks by the total number of
stalks, rounding to the nearest whole percent. The result is the
percent of smut infected canes in the sample.
(b) Calculate a simple average of all samples to determine the Field
Average Percent Smut Infected Canes, rounding to the nearest 5
percent.
(c) Select the Tonnage Remaining Factor from the table above, using
the Field Average Percent Smut Infected Canes from item 2(b).
(d) Multiply the tons per acre appraisal determined from the Primary
Shoot Method by the Tonnage Remaining Factor.
(e) Convert the reduced tons per acre appraisal (item 2(d)) to whole
pounds of sugar using the following formula:
Adjusted Tons Per Acre Appraisal X Percent-of-Sugar Factor (percent
of sugar from the County Actuarial Table converted to a 3-place
decimal) X 2000 = Potential in pounds of Raw Sugar
(f) Document date of this bulletin authorizing the deviation.
3 Insurance providers are reminded that damage caused by smut invokes the
plant disease claims procedures outlined in "Other Special Claims
Procedure" of the Loss Adjustment Manual.
4 If insurance providers appraise smut-infected acreage and the insured
elects to continue to care for the crop, the amount of production to
count for such acreage will be the harvested production. If a
reappraisal is required due to additional damage and the crop is mature,
use the Weight Method appraisal. The tonnage remaining factor would
not apply.
EXAMPLE:
1 Per Acre Appraisal for the field determined using the Primary Shoot
Method = 14 tons
2 (a) Percent of smut infected canes in each sample.
Sample No. 1 = 10 smut infected stalks ö 25 total stalks = 40%
Sample No. 2 = 29 smut infected stalks ö 45 total stalks = 64%
Sample No. 3 = 39 smut infected stalks ö 65 total stalks = 60%
Sample No. 4 = 24 smut infected stalks ö 80 total stalks = 30%
(b) Simple average determined from all samples:
% Smut Sample #1 Sample #2 Sample #3 Sample #4 Simple Average
Infected --------- --------- --------- --------- --------------
Canes 40% 64% 60% 30% = 194 ö 4 = 48.5 = 49%
Per Sample
(c) Simple average of 49%, rounded to nearest 5% = 50% Field Average
Percent Smut Infected Canes. Tonnage Remaining Factor from the
table = .30 factor
(d) Reduced appraisal after applying the Tonnage Remaining Factor:
14 tons per acre appraisal X .30 = 4.2 tons per acre
(e) Converted reduced tons per acre appraisal to whole pounds of sugar
equals:
4.2 reduced tons per acre X .090 percent-of-sugar
factor X 2000 = 756 lbs.
Note: Throughout this notice the terms cane, stalk, and shoot are used
synonymously and the terms plant, cluster, stool, and ratoon are
used synonymously.