The difference in the effects of six crop rotations, grass-clover ley, Miscanthus, and bare fallow on the amount of drainage runoff, nitrate concentration, and the amount of nitrate leached to groundwater was investigated during seven years (1993-1999) using lysimeters (1 m2 surface and 1.4 m usable depth, filled in 1982 with a low humus, loamy sand). The results revealed differences depending on precipitation, rotation, and degree of vegetation cover. Seven-year average nitrate losses of rotations involving cover crops were 85 kg N/ha and thus one third lower than those of rotations without cover crops. Averaged over all six rotations and bare fallow, nitrate concentration during the whole year exceeded the tolerance level for drinking water of 40 mg NO3/l. Different types of pre-cultivation can lead to different nitrate losses during the main cropping period. Thus, with respect to nitrate leaching, the sequence of crops should receive more attention.
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.