Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Cropping technique: the key to top quality vegetables

Vegetable production is without doubt the most diverse and demanding branch of Swiss Agriculture. Although neither crop husbandry nor the structures of cropping and farming systems differ significantly from that of other agricultural production areas, the crop diversity and the specific market requirements demand outstanding know-how and high organisational and economic capabilities from the producers. In no other agricultural branch is the time frame for strategic, tactical and operational decisions shorter than in vegetable production. Within this context, crop husbandry, such as sowing and planting technique, soil cultivation, crop maintenance, weed management and fertilisation are of key importance. Reducing costs, as one of the most important economic objectives, is a question of careful long term planning of the cropping- and farming system. Innovative approaches and flexibility are required in crop husbandry to avoid problems before they occur, as solving them later might be much more expensive. Increasing demands of the market and the requirement of sustainable resource utilisation will, in the medium term like in other countries, lead to greater specialisation among Swiss vegetable producers. As a result, the significance of an efficient and professional independent research and counselling service is more important than ever.

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