Agriculture will undergo ecological intensification. Agroforestry systems which combine woody plants with arable crops and/or grassland provide ecological as well as economic benefits. One the one hand, agroforestry systems are characterised by higher overall productivity. On the other, they are expected to provide improved resource conservation and contribute to enhanced biodiversity. Whether this potential can be effectively realised and whether or not it is offset by possible drawbacks such as more complicated farm management, long term tying-up of land etc. can only be tested using empirical data. For this purpose, a monitoring tool was developed containing indicators relating to productivity, labour costs, economic viability, management strategies, environmental factors and the perception of those working the land. An initial survey was conducted on existing plots of land belonging to three farms and will be repeated annually in future. This basic programme (minimal outlay) can be supplemented by process studies on a case-by-case basis.
Herbicide-resistant weeds are a growing problem throughout the world. Monitoring herbicide resistance in Switzerland allows us to understand the mechanisms behind it and to better manage the use of herbicides.
Agroscope compared crop protection strategies in apple production. Reducing the use of plant-protection products lowered the local ecotoxological risks, but resulted in trade-offs between environmental and economic performance.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium proteins protect Bt maize from being fed on by specific insects. A new, systematic analysis of international field data confirms that non-target organisms in Bt maize are largely spared.