The spray application of plant protection products (PPP) leads to a contamination of non-target areas via spray drift: Droplets containing the active ingredient are deposited outside of the targeted area. The potential risk for non-target organisms caused by this drift is evaluated in the authorization-process of PPP. In order to achieve acceptable risk levels for aquatic organisms and terrestrial non-target arthropods, spray-free buffer zones of 6 to 100 m towards surface waters and terrestrial biotopes are enacted if necessary. Driftmitigating measures reduce the input of PPP into non-target areas and allow reducing the enacted buffer zones. The approved measures and the possible reductions of buffer zone widths are defined in the new directive of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture released in November 2013.
Agroscope has developed a scoring system for plant protection in vegetable crops. The system enables the creation of incentives for reducing the use and environmental risks of plant-protection products and promoting preventive and non-chemical measures.
Many consumer goods contain activated carbon, which can be contaminated with pollutants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Agroscope showed that current analytical methods and legal bases used to address PAH content are incomplete.
Dry summers can see a loss of up to 25% of total Swiss roughage production. This is because grassland yields are strongly correlated with summer drought, as shown by a new analysis conducted by Agroscope and the Swiss Farmers’ Union.