A recent study at the ETH Zurich shows that the development of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Switzerland will, also in the near future, mainly depend on the development of livestock populations. Current GHG reduction measures may only play a marginal role, given their relatively high cost. Furthermore, the results indicate that the target of reducing agricultural GHGs by 20% below the 1990 level could be achieved with a GHG charge of 50 CHF/t CO2eq only if at the same time the agricultural price level would be lowered. Yet, this would entail substantial income losses for the farmers.
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.