Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 21 June 2018

Climate change could cause 'explosion of pests'

Pine Weevil
Pine Weevil
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Increased temperatures and longer growing seasons that could be on the horizon as a result of climate change would lead to increased incidents of diseases in crops and cost implications for farmers.

Met Eireann's Seamus Walsh said recently that average temperatures in Ireland would rise by 1.5 degrees in the years ahead.

He said this would lead to less frost and more record high temperatures and also an increased growing season of 30-40 days.

Teagasc's Michael Hennessy said while he doesn't see this as a problem of the near future, he said that warmer temperatures and an increased growing season would lead to an "explosion" of pesticides and insects in Irish crops.

"It would change the crop mix but I don't think it would happen in the short or even medium term.

"In the long term it's a trend that may occur," he said.

"If we get warmer conditions it would lead to more insects, pesticides and disease and would make growing situations more difficult.

"When weather gets warmer you could see BYDV infecting crops, and you'd be more likely to get an explosion of pests like bean weevil in the bean crop. There would be a lot of challenges and definite cost implications down the line if this was to happen."

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