The high-resolution erosion risk map (ERM2) of Switzerland’s utilised agricultural area shows potential erosion risk based on the locational factors of relief, soil and precipitation – irrespective of particular land use (arable land, permanent grassland or vines) or crop management. Areas at high risk of erosion within a plot or on a hillside, such as talwegs for example, are easy to identify on the map. Erosion damage mapping in the field, comparisons with other erosion risk maps and discussions with farmers have confirmed the validity of the map. Altogether, 44 % of the utilised agricultural area in the valley region was classified as a potential erosion risk on the basis of a 2×2-meter grid. 38 % of all the land in the valley region is used as permanent grassland, however, and to this extent poses no real erosion risk. A digital map of arable land is not currently available, so the land could not be broken down into arable and permanent grassland. ERM2 now provides a standard basis for assessing the potential erosion risk on plot scale for the whole of Switzerland. It enables farmers and cantonal advisors to identify in advance the land at risk of potential erosion, assess it jointly in situ and plan the requisite action. It remains essential, however, to carry out a field inspection of the erosion risk modelled.
Those wishing to promote biodiversity in agriculture by means of result-based schemes need meaningful indicators. An overview of proposed and used indicators highlights developments and challenges.
Foods of animal origin – friend or foe? It all depends on the needs of consumers and on local production conditions, as shown by a major review in which Agroscope took part.
In vegetable production it is usual to leave crop residues on the field. Measurements carried out by Agroscope researchers show that removing these residues significantly reduces nitrate leaching.