In Switzerland, sunflower cultivation extend since the nineties and reaches about 5’000 ha nowadays. The sunflower seeds are not treated with insecticides (imidacloprid, fipronil) but despite that, Swiss beekeepers are complaining about colony losses if the hives are placed close enough to fields of blooming sunflower. We carried out a two years trial, in order to find out whether sunflower by itself is detrimental for bees or if it causes any colony damages. The results are that foraging of sunflower has no adverse effect to bee populations during the blooming period and within the next few month after blooming. There was no impact of sunflowers on the bee losses during winter. The bees were foraging intensively on sunflowers but the quantity of nectar collected was small or nought. The bees were collecting sunflower pollen during a few days after the migration to the sunflower fields but soon they used to change to alternative pollen sources such as maize and clover while abandoning the sunflower completely.
Pontiggia A., Münger A., Ammer S., Philipona C., Bruckmaier R. M., Keil N.M., Dohme-Meier F.
Even in temperate climate zones, an increase in the ambient temperature and solar radiation can cause heat stress in grazing dairy cows. Agroscope studied the physiological changes in cows caused by increasing heat load.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Heimo D., Seifert S., Camarinha-Silva A., Borda-Molina D., Zähner M., Schrade S., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
In dairy cows, herbage-based diets often lead to increased nitrogen excretion. Tanniferous sainfoin and extract of acacia can reduce nitrogen excretion from urine and thus ammonia volatilization from slurry.
Excessive nitrogen inputs from the air lead to over-fertilisation of sensitive ecosystems. Continuous feeding optimisation can make an important contribution to reducing ammonia losses and thus nitrogen inputs.