Several plant and animal species are promoted by wildflower strips. So far, potential benefits of this ecological compensation element to the soil have not yet been examined. Therefore, in the cantons Aargau and Basel-Land two soil aspects have been studied: five or six years old wildflower strips were compared to cereal fields and permanent meadows in regard to the quality of the soil structure and the abundance of the entomopathogenic soil fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. In the permanent meadows both in the topsoil and the under layer the quality of the soil structure was better than in the cereal fields. The values of the wildflower strips were in between. M. anisopliae was detected in all surfaces. The highest frequencies and densities were found in the permanent meadows. In the wildflower strips the fungus density tended to be higher than in the cereal fields. Thus, the soil can benefit from wildflower strips, but it takes several years until improvement.
Gilgen A., Felder R., Baumgartner S., Herzog F., Jeanneret P., Séchaud R., Paunovic S., Merbold L.
Agroscope researchers tested the FAO method for assessing the agroecological status of farms in Switzerland for the first time, demonstrating the advantages of a holistic evaluation as well as the limits of the tool.
In wheat crops, pesticides can be used more sparingly without sacrificing cost-efficiency. With oilseed rape the situation is more difficult, since the reduced yields are not offset by higher revenues. These are the findings of the analysis of the first two harvest years of the PestiRed project.
Soil samples can be measured directly in the field by means of spectroscopy. Agroscope researchers have tested mobile devices and shown how to make the best use of them.