In the last 20 years, the yield of mid-early forage maize increased by 2 dt dry matter/ha/ year. Varieties with major agronomical problems such as lodging were eliminated. The improvement of quality, and more specifically the content of digestible organic matter (DOM), is more difficult to evaluate, as it is highly influenced by environmental condition. Both yield and quality vary among locations and years. Dry matter content at harvest only influences the DOM up to 30 %, when seed filling is not complete and therefore grain content too low. This is one more reason not to harvest variety trial too soon, so that the late varieties can reach the minimum DM content (30 %). Data from several locations were compared. For example, differences appeared between Changins (Nyon, VD) and Reckenholz (Zurich, ZH): in Changins, summers are warmer and dryer. Satisfying dry matter content for harvest was usually reached 2 to 4 weeks earlier than in Reckenholz. Yields were lower but with similar content of DOM. DOM was less correlated to grain content in Reckenholz (R2=0.01, ns) than in Changins (R2=0.21***), where plants are smaller and ear development seems to be able to compensate the lower digestibility of the rest of the plant. New varieties showed significant improvement compared to older ones, especially for yield and quality parameters such as DOM. Variety trials over 20 years allowed these improvement to be available for the farmers.
Stucky T., Hochstrasser M., Meyer S., Segessemann T., Ruthes A. C., Ahrens C. H., Dahlin P., Pelludat C.
The root knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne incognita causes damage in field and greenhouse crops. Agroscope researchers have developed a new screening test to identify bacteria that antagonise this agricultural pest.
With CULTAN fertilisation, nitrogen is injected into the soil as an ammonium solution. Multi-year trials conducted by Agroscope show that this method reduces nitrogen leaching by an average 38% without negatively affecting yields.
Tuta absoluta is one of the most destructive pests of solanaceous crops. Agroscope has developed a statistical model to study the population dynamics of the pest and its parasitoids and allows interventions to be optimally planned.