New research links crop disease and climate change

There is currently considerable debate about both adaptation and mitigation of climate change in relation to controlling crop disease while maintaining food production.  What should governments and the agricultural industry do to prepare for the impacts of climate change particularly where food production is likely to be adversely affected?  What strategies for adaptation to climate change needed to maintain good disease control and crop yields whilst also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions?

Researchers led by Professor Bruce Fitt from the School of Life Sciences have investigated links between crop disease and climate change which impact crop growth and yield.  The team of researchers, in collaboration with Professor Jon West at Rothamsted Research and Dr. Rob Carlton of Carlton Consultancy, have produced two papers which are to be published in a special edition of European Journal of Plant Pathology.

In a paper entitled Comparative biology of different plant pathogens to estimate effects of climate change on crop diseases in Europe, environmental factors that influence the severity of crop disease epidemics are reviewed.

Further research on the environmental impacts and crop production of various arable systems is described in the paper entitled A comparison of GHG emissions from UK crop production under selected arable systems with reference to disease control.