Genetic diversity – the variety of genes and alleles within a species – constitutes the most basic level of biodiversity, and is an important prerequisite for productivity and sustainability in agricultural production systems. We have developed and applied various methods to determine genetic diversity on farms in Europe, Ukraine and Uganda. A questionnairebased survey conducted on a total of 203 farms has shown that the genetic diversity of crops and livestock varies greatly between different regions, and depends upon the prevailing production systems. In order to obtain a more accurate insight into the genetic diversity of grassland, we studied 60 populations of orchard grass from Bulgaria, Norway and Switzerland with molecular genetic markers. In doing so, we learned that although this species exhibits a very large variability within the populations, the differences between the populations tend to be minor.
Spring J.-L-, Zufferey V., Verdenal T., Reynard J.-S., Lorenzini F., Bourdin G., Blouin A., Carlen C., Jermini M., Morisoli R., Ferretti M.
Five Merlot clones bred in Switzerland are currently being distributed by the certification sector. A multiyear trial conducted by Agroscope in Gudo (Canton of Ticino) has made it possible to compare them with French and Italian reference clones and to highlight their very good performances.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are important for healthy soils and crops. A pan-European study shows that plant-protection products adversely affect these fungi, reducing their ability to supply plants with phosphorus via their roots.
Birdsfoot trefoil and sainfoin are used in mixtures for perennial hay meadows and for tannin-containing fodder. Agroscope is adding two new cultivars of birdsfoot trefoil to the ‘List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants’, whilst there is no change in the case of sainfoin.