The increase of the share of ecological compensation areas from 5 % to 7% of the agricultural area in 1998 had different effects in the Rafzerfeld and at Ruswil/Buttisholz. While in the Rafzerfeld the area of the extensively managed meadows increased by 30 % it doubled at Ruswil/Buttisholz and the area of the few intensively managed meadows trippled. The mean size of a meadow declared as an ecological compensation area is a half or a sixth of a mean agricultural plot. But the largest of them have the size of a mean agricultural plot in the same region. In all the three regions of the study there is a tendency to place ecological compensation areas close to an existing ecological compensation area. In Combromont/Nuvilly and in Ruswil/Buttisholz it is a tendency to place ecological compensation areas near the forest.
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.