Swiss agricultural policy is guided by the goal of improving the ecological services provided by farms through direct payments for ecological compensation areas (ECAs), but evaluation programs have shown that financial incentives alone do not guarantee the implementation of ECAs. We investigated, by means of structured interviews with conventional, integrated production, and organic farmers, which role economic, ecological and social motivations play in the decisions by Swiss lowland farmers to implement ECAs. The results show that ECAs are primarily implemented if they are perceived by farmers to be conservation relevant and if they are easily integrated into the farm’s workflow. Financial aspects were found to play a more important role than ecological aspects for conventional farmers, while organic and integrated production farmers were found to be more ecologically oriented with organic farmers showing the highest ecological motivation. However, only a weak correlation between motivation and the quantity and quality of ECAs was found. To efficiently increase ECAs, more emphasis should be placed on communicating the benefits of specific measures and on developing instruments that make the farmers’ accomplishments apparent and increase their appreciation by farmers and consumers.
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.