Fallow land sown with a wildflower seed mixture is one of the major set-aside areas promoted by the Swiss legislation in order to enhance biodiversity in the landscape. Still, the installation of such areas on arable land raises concerns about their potential to contribute to the dissemination of noxious weeds. In order to gather information about weed development in such fallows, botanical observations have been carried out, between 2003 und 2005, on about 200 of them nationwide. The majority presents an intresting or even excellent botanical composition. Nevertheless, several weeds were regularly observed, especially creeping thistle, broad-leaved dock, couch grass and bindweed. We estimate that about 5-10 % of the fallows present a critical weed situation – mainly because of thistels. Moreover, Solidago species (S. Canadensis, and S. gigantnea) are present in about a third of them. Control methods are now under development to reduce the impact of these invasive species.
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.