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.
Agroscope has developed a scoring system for plant protection in vegetable crops. The system enables the creation of incentives for reducing the use and environmental risks of plant-protection products and promoting preventive and non-chemical measures.
Many consumer goods contain activated carbon, which can be contaminated with pollutants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Agroscope showed that current analytical methods and legal bases used to address PAH content are incomplete.
Dry summers can see a loss of up to 25% of total Swiss roughage production. This is because grassland yields are strongly correlated with summer drought, as shown by a new analysis conducted by Agroscope and the Swiss Farmers’ Union.