New digital tool could help apple and grape growers adapt to climate change

A free interactive tool has been launched to provide apple and grape growers and prospective investors with a glimpse into how climate change may affect the risk and costs of living with common plant diseases in different parts of New Zealand.

Created as part of the MBIE-funded Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, the Changing Climate: Disease Risk & Costs tool allows people to enter their orchard or vineyard’s address to view the risk of Apple Fire Blight, Grape Powdery Mildew and Grape Botrytis on their crops under different climate change scenarios.

It also translates that risk into financial terms, helping people understand how climate change may affect the cost of managing plant diseases on their land in the decades ahead.

“In simple terms it’s a portal into the future,” says Mike Barley, the director of New Zealand agri-tech company HortPlus.

“It helps with climate adaptation planning and provides easy to digest information for people in the apple and winegrowing industry who want to understand how plant disease risks are likely to change, and importantly, what the cost implications of those changes might be.”

HortPlus developed the tool in collaboration with Plant & Food Research (disease models, Te Ao Māori), NIWA (climate models), The Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (economic modelling) and Applied Research & Technologies (disease model reviews).

Source:  Plant and Food Research

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog