In order to estimate the potential of Swiss composts to influence soil fertility and plant health, one hundred composts representative of the different composting systems and qualities available on the market were analyzed. The nutrient content of the composts was predominantly influenced by the materials of origin. The organic matter content, respiration rate and enzyme activities decreased when the composts become more mature. The N-mineralization potential of compost added to soil showed that a high proportion of young composts immobilized the nitrogen in the soil. The NO3-content of the compost allows it to predict the risk of nitrogen immobilization in soil. The phytotoxicity of the composts varied very much even in mature composts, showing that the storage of the compost plays a decisive role. While the majority of composts protected cucumber plants against Pythium ultimum, only a few composts suppressed Rhizoctonia solani in basil; the management of the maturation process seems to play a major role here. In field experiments, some biologically immature composts immobilized nitrogen in soil and reduced growth of maize. With additional fertilization, however, it was possible to compensate this effect. Digestats and composts increased the pH-value and the biological activity of soil. These effects were still observable one season after compost application.
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.