Rising temperatures from climate change cause pests to increase and soil health to degrade

Photo Credit: Nadine

A new study has been added to the list of growing research that shows our food security is threatened by climate change. Research published in the journal Pest Management Science found that wheat yield and quality are reduced by warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Rising temperatures shortened the growing season for wheat, but that’s not the only reason yield declined. Aphid and weed populations boomed with warmer temperatures, while beneficial soil microbes that would normally help keep the crop healthy decreased. Wheat quality also declined with warmer temperatures, where protein, gluten and starch decreased and fiber increased. The results from this study are important for all agriculture. However, implications for organic agriculture may be greater. Increases in pests and diseases associated with climate change will pose greater challenges for organic farmers who are not allowed to use fast-acting synthetic insecticides and herbicides as tools against these pest pressures.