Intensive soil tillage in conventional potato cropping increases the risk of erosion and leaching of nitrate. Direct mulch planting of potatoes was developed to reduce this risk. Ridges and covercrops are established in August after harvest of the preceding cereal crop. In the following spring potatoes are plated without any soil tillage. The results of a FAL-trial series (1995-1999) show the chances of the new cultivation system. Early weed control is necessary because of the presence of established weeds and germinating weeds. Heavy soil with high bulk density influences negatively the quality of tubers and reduces the yield. In light soils however quality and yield almost comparable to conventional cropping is reported by other authors.
Spring J.-L-, Zufferey V., Verdenal T., Reynard J.-S., Lorenzini F., Bourdin G., Blouin A., Carlen C., Jermini M., Morisoli R., Ferretti M.
Five Merlot clones bred in Switzerland are currently being distributed by the certification sector. A multiyear trial conducted by Agroscope in Gudo (Canton of Ticino) has made it possible to compare them with French and Italian reference clones and to highlight their very good performances.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are important for healthy soils and crops. A pan-European study shows that plant-protection products adversely affect these fungi, reducing their ability to supply plants with phosphorus via their roots.
Birdsfoot trefoil and sainfoin are used in mixtures for perennial hay meadows and for tannin-containing fodder. Agroscope is adding two new cultivars of birdsfoot trefoil to the ‘List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants’, whilst there is no change in the case of sainfoin.