The costs of human induced evolution in an agricultural system

Varah, A., Ahodo, K., Coutts, S.R., Hicks, H.L. ORCID: 0000-0003-1325-2293, Comont, D., Crook, L., Hull, R., Neve, P., Childs, D.Z., Freckleton, R.P. and Norris, K., 2020. The costs of human induced evolution in an agricultural system. Nature Sustainability, 3 (1), pp. 63-71. ISSN 2398-9629

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Abstract

Pesticides have underpinned significant improvements in global food security, albeit with associated environmental costs. Currently, the yield benefits of pesticides are threatened as overuse has led to wide-scale evolution of resistance. Despite this threat, there are no large-scale estimates of crop yield losses or economic costs due to resistance. Here, we combine national-scale density and resistance data for the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass) with crop yield maps and an economic model to estimate resistance impacts. We estimate that the annual cost of resistance in England is £0.4 billion in lost gross profit (2014 prices) and annual wheat yield loss due to resistance is 0.8 million tonnes. A total loss of herbicide control against black-grass would cost £1 billion and 3.4 million tonnes of lost wheat yield annually. Worldwide, there are 253 herbicide-resistant weeds, so the global impact of resistance could be enormous. Our research supports urgent national-scale planning to combat resistance and an incentive for increasing yields through food-production systems rather than herbicides.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Nature Sustainability
Creators: Varah, A., Ahodo, K., Coutts, S.R., Hicks, H.L., Comont, D., Crook, L., Hull, R., Neve, P., Childs, D.Z., Freckleton, R.P. and Norris, K.
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Date: January 2020
Volume: 3
Number: 1
ISSN: 2398-9629
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1038/s41893-019-0450-8DOI
1262620Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 06 Jan 2020 11:48
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:07
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/38929

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