For more than forty years the Swiss Federal Research Station in Wädenswil (FAW) has operated a warning service for pests and diseases in perennial fruit crops in order to support the endeavours of growers towards a more ecological production. Designed as a decision support system, it is based on a close collaboration between FAW, the Swiss Meteorological Institute (SMA), the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, the Cantonal Extension Services and the growers. It employs data from five automatic weather stations and a network of twenty warning computers to drive simulation models and to predict local pest phenology and disease epidemiology. In addition pests and diseases are monitored at roughly 100 different sites by means of twig sampling, visual counts and various types of traps. Information is compiled weekly at the FAW and recommendations distributed by mail, fax and more recently on the world-wide-web. In future new forecasting and communication tools will be implemented with the objective of improving accuracy as well as the spatial and temporal resolution.
Grass-based beef production is markedly less productive than intensive year-round indoor-housing system-based production. Agroscope experts therefore studied how grass-based farms can produce both economically and in an ecologically sound manner.
Orchard crop spraying using unmanned aerial spraying systems commonly referred to as drones can lead to drift, posing a risk to residents and bystanders. The study shows that the risks arising from this are taken into account by the current registration process.
Trials conducted by FiBL have shown that conversion to organic farming also promotes endangered Red List species such as the carabid beetle species Amara tricuspidata. This species and other species consume seeds of forbs and grasses and thus supports natural weed control.