Control of arable crop pathogens; climate change mitigation, impacts and adaptation
In the context of threats to global food security from impacts of damaging crop diseases and of climate change, this chapter describes three aspects of the interactions between climate change and diseases that reduce arable crop yields. It considers the role of crop disease control in climate change mitigation, by estimating consequences for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of crop management strategies to control diseases, using UK oilseed rape and barley crops as examples. In this chapter we conclude that good control of crop diseases, resulting in more efficient use of nitrogen fertiliser, can decrease UK GHG from crop production by c. 1.6 Mt CO2 eq. each year. Within the chapter we discuss impacts of climate change on incidence of crop diseases and their effects on crop yields, using UK oilseed rape phoma stem canker and wheat fusarium ear blight as examples. For both these diseases, it is estimated that global warming will increase the range and severity of epidemics. To make such estimates, it is emphasised that it is important to estimate impacts of climate on both crop growth and disease development. In response to such projections of impacts of climate change, within this chapter we assess strategies for adaptation to climate change of crop disease management to decrease arable crop losses related to climate change, for both policymakers and farmers.