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.
Those wishing to promote biodiversity in agriculture by means of result-based schemes need meaningful indicators. An overview of proposed and used indicators highlights developments and challenges.
Foods of animal origin – friend or foe? It all depends on the needs of consumers and on local production conditions, as shown by a major review in which Agroscope took part.
In vegetable production it is usual to leave crop residues on the field. Measurements carried out by Agroscope researchers show that removing these residues significantly reduces nitrate leaching.