Sward height measurements were made on a variety of Swiss grassland plots in 1997-98. Between values measured with a French and a New Zealand rising plate meter (RPM), very good correlation was found whereas it was less strong with ruler measurements. For two different grassland types, regression analysis was applied to estimate dry matter (DM) yield using vegetation height. Equations differed considerably between herbage types, but also between years for the same plot. Height and yield measurements also give evidence that lower cutting leads to shorter and denser regrowth. At one location (La Frêtaz) sward density (kg DM/ha/ cm) declined strongly during the season. Therefore, when height measurements are converted into yield estimates, there should be sufficient differentiation for measuring conditions. However, the rising plate meter is appropriate for the determination of grass growth curves and as an aid to better pasture management in terms of time and area.
Spring J.-L-, Zufferey V., Verdenal T., Reynard J.-S., Lorenzini F., Bourdin G., Blouin A., Carlen C., Jermini M., Morisoli R., Ferretti M.
Five Merlot clones bred in Switzerland are currently being distributed by the certification sector. A multiyear trial conducted by Agroscope in Gudo (Canton of Ticino) has made it possible to compare them with French and Italian reference clones and to highlight their very good performances.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are important for healthy soils and crops. A pan-European study shows that plant-protection products adversely affect these fungi, reducing their ability to supply plants with phosphorus via their roots.
Birdsfoot trefoil and sainfoin are used in mixtures for perennial hay meadows and for tannin-containing fodder. Agroscope is adding two new cultivars of birdsfoot trefoil to the ‘List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants’, whilst there is no change in the case of sainfoin.