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.
Those wishing to promote biodiversity in agriculture by means of result-based schemes need meaningful indicators. An overview of proposed and used indicators highlights developments and challenges.
Foods of animal origin – friend or foe? It all depends on the needs of consumers and on local production conditions, as shown by a major review in which Agroscope took part.
In vegetable production it is usual to leave crop residues on the field. Measurements carried out by Agroscope researchers show that removing these residues significantly reduces nitrate leaching.