Climate change affects us all, but the effect on agriculture is especially impactful. Extreme weather events such as drought, severe heat, flooding, and other climatic events increase the challenges on farms. It not only affects their livelihoods but puts at risk the global food system we all rely on.

In every corner of the world, climate impacts such as extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, degrading ecosystems, and water scarcity will worsen as the planet warms. Without action, the changing climate will affect food availability and hinder access to food.

Agriculture and food systems are a huge part of the climate solution, but they must transform through inclusive, multisectoral approaches that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience and adaptive capability.

The shift from biotic to abiotic stress innovations

The dangers of biotic stressors like disease and pest control have always been known and well supported with innovative products. However, more frequent episodes of extreme heat, increased drought conditions, as well as more frequent flooding will add even more damage to crops worldwide.

Increasingly unfavourable growing conditions have contributed to farmers losing between 30-70% of their harvests[1] compared with an estimated contribution of biotic stress (that is to say, the negative effect of pests and parasites) of only 10%.

This graph shows how the vast majority of yield losses are caused by abiotic factors rather than biotic factors across crops such as corn, wheat, soy, millet, oats, and barley.

Given this, we should expect a dramatic shift as more focus and resources gravitate towards sustainable biostimulant solutions like those being perfected at Acadian Plant Health. Especially since abiotic stressors can negatively impact the biotic stress of pathogens, insects and weeds themselves.

[1] Buchanan, B.B., Gruissem, W. and Jones, R.L. (2000) Biochemistry and molecular biology of plants. American Society of Plant Physiology, Rockville, Maryland.

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