The earliest cut of meadows, which are implemented as ecological compensation areas, nowadays is June 15th, first July or July 15th depending on the agricultural zone. An earlier cut is only possible with the permission of the cantonal authorities of nature conservation. Within the process of the agricultural law revision a liberalisation of these earliest cut dates are discussed. A liberalisation would induce an earlier first cut in the year. Based on the life cycles of the birds and butterflies we estimated the effect of the earlier cut on birds and butterflies. Both, birds and butterflies would be affected negatively by the liberalisation of the cut. In particular threatened species would be very dangerously exposed. Thus an earlier cut should remain being exceptional.
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.