A probabilistic bio-economic assessment of the global consequences of wheat leaf rust

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7 Scopus citations


This study provides a bio-economic assessment of the global climate suitability and probabilistic crop-loss estimates attributable to wheat leaf rust. We draw on a purpose-built, spatially explicit, ecoclimatic suitability model for wheat leaf rust to estimate that 94.4% of global wheat production is vulnerable to the disease. To reflect the spatiotemporal variation in leaf rust losses, we used a probabilistic approach to estimate a representative rust loss distribution based on long-term, state-level annual U.S. loss estimates. Applying variants of this representative loss distribution to selected wheat production areas in 15 epidemiological zones throughout the world, we project global annual average losses of 8.6 million metric tons of grain for the period 2000 to 2050 based on a conservative, baseline scenario, and 18.3 million metric tons based on a high-loss scenario; equivalent to economic losses ranging from $1.5 to $3.3 billion per year (2016 U.S. prices). Even the more conservative baseline estimate implies that a sustained, worldwide investment of $50.5 million per year in leaf rust research is economically justified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1886-1896
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: A significant portion of the funding for this work was provided by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT; CGIAR’s Wheat CRP) with additional support from the University of Minnesota MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Initiative, the International Science and Technology Practice and Policy (InSTePP) Center, the GEMS Agroinformatics Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by way of the HarvestChoice initiative.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The American Phytopathological Society


  • Climate suitability
  • Disease control and pest management
  • Puccinia triticina
  • R&D investment
  • Wheat leaf rust
  • Yield loss

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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