The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) authorized the use of streptomycin to fight fire blight under controlled conditions in 2008 with the provison that the development of antibiotic resistance in the treated plots is monitored. Agroscope in Wädenswil thus performed the first study to quantitatively analyze the influence of streptomycin use in agriculture on the abundance of the mobile streptomycin and tetracycline resistance genes (strA, strB, aadA, tetB, tetM, tetW) and the insertion sequence IS1133. Furthermore, the effect of the streptomycin treatment on the bacterial community structure was assessed. Flowers, leaves and soil were collected from three streptomycin-treated orchards in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The abundance and distribution of the resistance genes was analyzed at different time-points and included as a function of the treatment. The mobile antibiotic resistance genes were detected prior to streptomycin treatment in almost all samples, indicating the presence of these genes in nature. Statistically significant increases in the resistance gene abundance were occasional, inconsistent and not reproducible from one year to the next. Analysis of the bacterial community in soils from orchards with or without streptomycin treatment revealed no statistically significant or constant alterations. We conclude that the application of streptomycin in these orchards led neither to an increase in streptomycin or tetracycline resistance gene abundance nor to a negative impact on the bacterial community.
Grass-based beef production is markedly less productive than intensive year-round indoor-housing system-based production. Agroscope experts therefore studied how grass-based farms can produce both economically and in an ecologically sound manner.
Orchard crop spraying using unmanned aerial spraying systems commonly referred to as drones can lead to drift, posing a risk to residents and bystanders. The study shows that the risks arising from this are taken into account by the current registration process.
Trials conducted by FiBL have shown that conversion to organic farming also promotes endangered Red List species such as the carabid beetle species Amara tricuspidata. This species and other species consume seeds of forbs and grasses and thus supports natural weed control.