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Climate change is one of the prominent issues of our time. Since crop production depends to a large extent on weather, agriculture is currently facing a great challenge. Germany anticipates prolonged dry periods, associated with water shortages especially in the critical growth stages in spring. Mild winters becoming a regular phenomenon are discussed as well, since they could promote the survival and spread of harmful organisms. It is assumed that extreme weather events like storms, hail and flooding are likely to happen more often in the future. They are another factor threatening the crop or reducing their quality. Unfortunately it is impossible to predict with certainty what awaits us exactly in the next decades. That is why research at the JKI takes more than one direction and includes quite different areas.

It is the primary concern of JKI activities to keep plants healthy. Certain pathogens and pests benefit from climate change. These species need to be identified in order to take measures against their proliferation or even their invasion, and for their early-enough containment.  Appropriate tools to do so are the adaptation of farming systems, for instance, by introducing novel species or the cultivation of new disease-resistant or stress-tolerant cultivars. For the latter, the JKI breeding researchers’ expertise is in demand.

To get a better understanding of what will happen to our domestic crops when the climate changes, forecasting systems are needed that knit together quite diverse data: phenological, climate, and yield data as well as data on the individual harmful organisms. This is the only way which provides scientists with a sound basis for impact assessments and risk analyses and for recommendations concerning practical measures.

We are not only concerned with the impact of climate change, but want to counteract any detrimental consequences at an early stage. Our work on the resource management in the field is a contribution to minimizing climate-damaging emissions and to making optimal use of the once invested energy.

Our focus in key words:

  • effects on crop diseases, pests and pathogens
  • adaptation of farming systems
  • keeping pace to changes with plant breeding
  • invasive alien species as beneficiaries
  • counteracting climate change