Senecio aquaticus Hill (marsh ragwort) is a poisonous weed in grasslands of various countries (e.g. Great Britain and Central European states); its further spread into farmland must be prevented. This study provides information on habitat preferences of S. aquaticus and reveals how management practice can influence the occurrence of the species. In a survey conducted in the northern and central part of Switzerland, botanical assessments were carried out on grassland plots containing S. aquaticus and on neighbouring plots without S. aquaticus. On all plots, we analysed the soil nutrients and the details of management practice, such as type and intensity of management and fertiliser application. The most important factors influencing S. aquaticus were related to management practice. There was a high risk for occurrence of the species with low nitrogen fertilisation, with a decrease of management intensity in the preceding 15 years, high inclination, and gaps in the sward. The change of vegetation composition caused by the decrease in management intensity most probably provided gaps in the sward, which were colonised by S. aquaticus. For long-term control of S. aquaticus, we suggest promoting dense swards, preventing sward damage as much as possible, and controlling the species when it first arrives on a parcel.
Stucky T., Hochstrasser M., Meyer S., Segessemann T., Ruthes A. C., Ahrens C. H., Dahlin P., Pelludat C.
The root knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne incognita causes damage in field and greenhouse crops. Agroscope researchers have developed a new screening test to identify bacteria that antagonise this agricultural pest.
With CULTAN fertilisation, nitrogen is injected into the soil as an ammonium solution. Multi-year trials conducted by Agroscope show that this method reduces nitrogen leaching by an average 38% without negatively affecting yields.
Tuta absoluta is one of the most destructive pests of solanaceous crops. Agroscope has developed a statistical model to study the population dynamics of the pest and its parasitoids and allows interventions to be optimally planned.