Europe Needs to Plan for Increased Need for Fungicides Due to Climate Change


The climate is changing in Europe with increasing temperatures predicted. Higher temperatures create improved conditions for the growth of fungi and infection of crops. More infection events will create the need for more fungicide use. Will European policymakers be ready?

“Here, we estimated the evolution of potential infection events of fungal pathogens of wheat, rice, and grape in Europe. …Our results show an overall increase in the number of infection events, with differences among the pathogens, and showing complex geographical patterns. For wheat, Puccinia recondite, or brown rust, is forecasted to increase +20-100% its pressure on the crop. Puccinia striiformis, or yellow rust, will increase 5-20% in the cold areas. Rice pathogens Pyricularia oryzae, or blast disease, and Bipolaris oryzae, or brown spot, will be favored all European rice districts, with the most critical situation in Northern Italy (+100%). For grape, Plasmopara viticola, or downy mildew, will increase +5-20% throughout Europe. …Our findings represents the first attempt to provide extensive estimates on disease pressure on crops under climate change, providing information on possible future challenges European farmers will face in the coming years.

On the whole, moving from the 2030 to the 2050 time frame, an increase in the number of potential infection events is expected. …Policy makers can use the outcomes of this study to be aware of possible future challenges to face when planning regional or local policies in terms of disease pressure and consequently of chemical control.”

Authors: Bregaglio, S., et al.
Affiliation: University of Milan.
Title: Fungal infections of rice, wheat, and grape in Europe in 2030-2050.
Source: Agron. Sustain. Dev. 2013. 33:767-776.




Climate Change Increases Need for Fungicides in Egypt

The earlier seasonal onset of warm temperatures in parts of the world is resulting in a threat of earlier disease development. With an increase in the potential for more severe epidemics, the number of fungicide applications needed for control also increases. Researchers have determined that 1-3 more fungicide sprays will be needed in Egypt to control tomato diseases as a result of climate change…

“The ranges of several important tomato disease[s] in Egypt; including tomato late blight (the most destructive tomato disease causing fruit yield losses) have expanded since the early 1990s, possibly in response, in part, to climate trends. … Based on analysis of plant/disease/climate relations, an epidemic of late blight onset on tomatoes that is 1-2 weeks earlier means 2-3 additional sprays to achieve sufficient control of late blight. Accordingly, 1-3 more sprays will be applied at the incoming decades of the 2025-2100.”

Authors: M.A. Fahim¹, M.K. Hassanein¹, A.F. Abou Hadid² and M.S. Kadah²
Affiliation: ¹Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate, Giza, Egypt; ²Climate Change Information Center, Giza, Egypt
Title: Impacts of climate change on the widespread and epidemics of some tomato diseases during the last decade in Egypt
Publication: Acta Horticulturae. 2011. 914.

Climate Change Warms Up Finland – Increased Need for Fungicides Results

Finland is the northernmost country in the world with successful agriculture. Long harsh winters and low temperatures limit effective production of most crops. However, the cold climate also limits the proliferation of fungal pests. Now that the climate of Finland is heating up, the need for fungicides has grown.

“On average, since the 1960s there has been a trend of the growing season starting 2.1 days earlier per decade in the east and north of Finland, and 2.8 days earlier per decade in the west, with the pace of development accelerating since the 1980s.”

“With a longer growing season plant pathogens will thrive. For example, studies based on simulation models indicate that an increase of 1°C in mean temperature in southern Finland extends the period when potato late blight control (Phytophthora infestans) is necessary by 10-20 days, which means 1-2 more fungicide applications per season. The need for plant protection measures for potato late blight control has already increased following climate change, and the epidemiology of the pathogen has also changed substantially.”

Authors: K. Hakala, et al.
Affiliation: MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Plant Production Research, Jokioinen, Finland
Title: Pests and diseases in a changing climate: a major challenge for Finnish crop production.
Publication: Agriculture and Food Science. 2011. 20:3-14.