The environmental impact of bioenergy production from biomass strongly depends on the crop cultivation. This study looks into the ecological optimisation of biomass cultivation answering following three questions: What is the environmental advantage of organic over integrated farming? Which crops are suited for biomass production? What other key factors have to be considered for a ecological production? The LCA was carried out using the SALCA-methodology (Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment) of Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART. Per kg harvested product (dry matter, starch for bioethanol crops, oil for biodiesel crops respectively) organic farming of energy crops is preferred to integrated production for corn, silage maize and soy cultivation. For cereals and rapeseed cultivation organic farming has advantages and drawbacks. The lowest environmental impacts for biogas show extensive grassland. Together wit sugar beets it also has the lowest environmental impact for bioethanol. There is not a preferable crop for biodiesel.
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.