Canada's plant science industry seeks solutions to anticipated climate change

OTTAWA, April 22 /CNW/ - Canada's plant science industry is focusing on developing new technologies in anticipation of the impact climate change will have on farming here in Canada and around the world.

"Earth Day brings to mind for all of us the importance of protecting our environment and of preparing for a future that may be significantly different as a result of climate change impacts," said Lorne Hepworth, president of CropLife Canada. "Canadian farmers are well-aware of the importance of protecting the land in their care and our industry is well aware of our obligation to help farmers do that."

With studies warning that climate change will increase the number of challenges facing farmers, Canada's plant science industry is already hard at work developing solutions for expected problems such as reduced access to water, changes in growing seasons and new considerations about how climate change will impact pests (such as higher over-winter survival rates and increased habitat ranges that could introduce new insects and plant diseases).

One example of how the plant science industry is preparing for a new future is research into developing crops that are tolerant to heat, drought and salinity, all considerations given predictions that one in five countries will face water shortages or salt water intrusion by 2030. Here in Canada, drought-tolerant corn and canola are already at the field-testing stage and are expected to be on the market in the next five years.

In addition, greenhouse gas emissions from farming practices have already been significantly reduced thanks to existing plant biotechnology and pest control products.

For example, pest control products that reduce or eliminate the need for farmers to till their land in order to control weeds reduces the amount of fuel a farmer needs to use by 40 to 70 per cent for low-tillage and no-till practices respectively. No-till and low-till also increases the amount of carbon that remains in the soil, something that has enabled Canadian farmers to begin collecting and trading carbon credits. Meanwhile, plant biotechnology crops with built-in pest resistance also help reduce emissions by cutting down on the amount of time a farmer spends driving equipment to apply herbicides and/or insecticides.

"Care of the environment is everyone's responsibility and Canada's plant science industry is proud of the ways our technologies contribute to that common goal," Hepworth said.

CropLife Canada is the trade association representing the manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science innovations - pest control products and plant biotechnology - for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings.

SOURCE CropLife Canada

For further information: For further information: Nadine Sisk, P: (613) 230-9881 ext 3224, E:

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