No-tillage and conventional plough tillage have been compared in a crop rotation without fallow period and application of mineral fertilizer only, in the long-term field trial “Oberacker” at the Inforama Ruetti in Zollikofen (Berne) since 1994. The slightly humic sandy loam is a deep and nutrient-rich soil. The results obtained so far show continuous no-tillage of long duration to be an alternative to traditional plough tillage: no-tillage is ready to be put into agronomical practice, it leads to a biologically active soil of stable structure and thus of high load capacity, reduces the risk of soil erosion, the number of vehicle crossings and the consumption of fuel and presents an overall more favourable life cycle assessment. After a seven-year conversion period, slightly higher plant yields of comparable quality were obtained in no-tillage, due to more soil water being preserved and continually delivered to plant roots, as well as to a higher N-efficiency. In both cropping systems only about 60% of the standard amounts of N-fertilizer were applied. In the coming years both systems shall be tested further and optimised with regard to environmental sustainability and energy consumption by introducing more legume crops, applying ammonium-based N-fertilizer, and by reducing the application of glyphosate in no-tillage and the tillage intensity in conventional plough tillage.
Grass-based beef production is markedly less productive than intensive year-round indoor-housing system-based production. Agroscope experts therefore studied how grass-based farms can produce both economically and in an ecologically sound manner.
Orchard crop spraying using unmanned aerial spraying systems commonly referred to as drones can lead to drift, posing a risk to residents and bystanders. The study shows that the risks arising from this are taken into account by the current registration process.
Trials conducted by FiBL have shown that conversion to organic farming also promotes endangered Red List species such as the carabid beetle species Amara tricuspidata. This species and other species consume seeds of forbs and grasses and thus supports natural weed control.