Drug-containing droplets from the application of plant protection products (PPP) can be transported and deposited outside of the target area, which is called direct spray drift and affects adjacent waterbodies and other non-target areas. The environmental risk expected through spray drift of PPP is estimated as part of the authorization-process. If necessary, spray free buffer zones of 6 to 100 m must be applied towards surface waters. If drift is reduced by appropriate measures, the width of these buffer zones could be diminished. Four drift reduction measures have been tested under practical conditions of Swiss apple production. Windbreak hedges or injector nozzles reduced drift by approx. 75 % each, a hail net on the top of the orchard by approx. 65 %. A coarse-mesh net as a windbreak at the edge of the field showed an effect of about 20 % drift reduction only.
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.