Forest managers are used to planning for decennials and they need to consider possible climate change scenarios. In addition, storm and bark beetle damage may necessitate rejuvenating the forest earlier and faster than foreseen. As an alternative to traditional plantations, an innovative direct seeding method in the forest is proposed. Trials have been conducted with agricultural machines such as manure barrels, pumps, tube bobbin and water cannon with a feed unit. The idea was to eject seeds onto the forest surface by water cannon. It is now clear that this kind of seeding is technically feasible. The machines may be used in the forest without problems. Within a few minutes, the seeds are ejected over a distance of 50-60m. Adding seeds directly into the manure barrel was unsuccessful but adding them by feed unit works well. The advantages of this method are (1) the seeds are sufficiently and efficiently distributed, (2) sprinkling brings seeds into good contact with the soil, (3) forest soil is not driven over again, (4) expensive fell clearing is not necessary and (5) natural regeneration is completed with tree species desired but not yet present. Some questions remain, however, about technical, silvicultural and ecological aspects. Nevertheless, this forest direct seeding method may open new opportunities to companies.
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.