In a six year experiment in the Swiss lowlands of the Canton of Bern the development of single sown species, their competitive ability towards spontaneous species and flowering diversity were studied for four fallow seed mixtures (rotational fallow and wildflower strip mixtures of the companies UFA Winterthur and Schweizer Samen). The wildflower strip mixtures of both companies produced qualitatively good canopies rich in different species which remained competitive for the whole duration of the study. The mixture of Schweizer Samen distinguished itself by the high flower density and good canopy structure. From the fifth year onwards, Tanacetum vulgare started to dominate, especially on the UFA rotational fallow plots. Other species like e.g. Centaurea jacea developed differently in the mixtures of the two companies too. Both rotational fallow mixtures produced stable swards during four years. Towards the end of the experiment, the UFA rotational fallow mixture consistently deteriorated and was no longer competitive towards spontaneous species and species invading from adjacent wildflower strips. During the sixth year the quality of all mixtures deteriorated considerably.
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.
Tall oat grass and golden oat grass are typical hay-meadow grasses that are also suitable for forage mixtures. Of the four tall and three golden oat grass varieties tested, only one new variety of tall oat grass is likely to make it onto the List of Recommended Varieties.