Since 1992 an intensive (IS), an integrated (IP) and a low input (LI) farming system are compared on all arable plots of the Burgrain farm. The number of pesticide treatments in the integrated and the low input system was 63 % and 83 % lower than in the conventional, rather intensive farming system. Also the input of mineral nitrogen was reduced by 22 % in IP and by 37 % in LI. In the integrated system mean yields of potatoes, corn and cereals were 4 %, 5 % and 14 % lower than in the intensive system. In LI these differences were 10 %, 9 % and 17 %. In contrast, yields of clover-grass meadows showed almost no differences between the farming systems. Differences in gross margins between the farming systems were mainly due to differences in yields. Over the seven arable crops the gross margin of IP and LI was 62.- and 265.- Swiss francs smaller per hectare and year than in IS. However the less intensive systems achieved a comparable or better net profit than IS due to the direct payments of the Swiss government for integrated or organic farming.
Global food availability is expected to remain stable in the medium term. Food security challenges in Switzerland include the decline in agricultural land area per capita, higher incidence of extreme weather events and increased pressure from pests.
Different cultural backgrounds lead to different uptake of biodiversity agri-environmental schemes at the inner-Swiss French-German language border. Economic policy incentives could mitigate culture-driven behavioral differences.
The agricultural sector as an aggregate proved resilient to the COVID-19 shock. But how did it impact agribusiness firms within the sector? Using the Swiss case, we provide the first set of evidence on how agri-food importing firms survived the pandemic economically.