Poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) is a traditional field crop of Switzerland. During the Second World War, it was still grown on around 1300 ha with a view to the country becoming self-sufficient in cooking oil. Today, poppy is only grown in Switzerland on a few hectares. With the entry into force of the 2014–2017 agricultural policy, however, the cultivation of poppy is now supported by the oilseed production payment (CHF 700/ha). In addition to comparing the low-morphine, winter-hardy varieties «Zeno», «Zeno Morphex», «Zeno 2002» and «Josef», Agroscope has studied also the effects of various sowing techniques and seed quantities on yield with the variety «Zeno 2002». The study shows that winter poppy can also be grown in Switzerland, and that attractive yields of around 15 dt/ha can be achieved under good conditions. A key factor for successful cultivation is the creation of favourable conditions for a regular and rapid emergence. Different sowing techniques and seed quantities are suitable for this, depending on site and weather conditions, nutrient availability and weed pressure. Rolling the soil before sowing is urgently recommended. Whether the subsidies provided under the 2014–2017 agricultural policy will wake the poppy from its current slumber, only the future will tell.
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.
Tall oat grass and golden oat grass are typical hay-meadow grasses that are also suitable for forage mixtures. Of the four tall and three golden oat grass varieties tested, only one new variety of tall oat grass is likely to make it onto the List of Recommended Varieties.