The aim of this study was to characterize a field of Agroscope Reckenholz research station regarding its soil constituents with X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) and other analytical methods. In addition, criteria for homogeneity were to be determined in order to assign homogeneous lots for long-term agricultural experiments. In the first part, a method was developed and used to determine the total contents of Fe, Ca, K, P, Si and Al in the soil. In these samples nutrients and other parameters (AAE10-P, -K, -Ca, -Mg extracted with ammonium acetate-EDTA, N-total, pH, carbonate and TOC) were determined as well. In the second part, three groups of parameters for soil homogeneity were determined as a working instrument: The clay-mineral-homogeneity consisting of total Fe, K, P, Al, Mg and Na – all parameters can be determined by XRF alone; the lime/dolomite-homogeneity comprising total-Ca, total-Mg, TIC, pH, AAE10-Ca and AAE10-Mg, as well as the carbon-nutrient-homogeneity with TOC, N-total, AAE10-P and AAE10-K.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation by bacteria in the soil coexisting with legumes leads to reduced fertiliser requirement. It is not easy to measure this variable on farms, however. Now researchers from Agroscope have developed a method for estimating nitrogen input via symbiotic fixation at farm level.
With increasing global and regional temperatures, even in Switzerland the growing season has lengthened considerably. Using data from the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, Agroscope has traced the development of the growing season since the start of the previous century.
The phosphate mineral reserves required for fertiliser production could be exhausted on a global scale in just a few decades. This study presents a method for recycling a Swiss industrial by-product into a phosphate fertiliser.