Ecological compensation areas in agriculture not only have to enhance biodiversity of rare and threatend species, but also support biological control of agricultural pests by increasing the diversity and abundance of beneficial arthropods. This is of particularly importance for integrated production (IP) and biological farming. Our investigations show that almost all spiders and predatory beetles active in crop fields in spring and summer depend on seminatural habitats for overwintering.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation by bacteria in the soil coexisting with legumes leads to reduced fertiliser requirement. It is not easy to measure this variable on farms, however. Now researchers from Agroscope have developed a method for estimating nitrogen input via symbiotic fixation at farm level.
With increasing global and regional temperatures, even in Switzerland the growing season has lengthened considerably. Using data from the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, Agroscope has traced the development of the growing season since the start of the previous century.
The phosphate mineral reserves required for fertiliser production could be exhausted on a global scale in just a few decades. This study presents a method for recycling a Swiss industrial by-product into a phosphate fertiliser.