A network of experimental fields in northern and western Switzerland was used to better understand the behavior of various cover crops in diversified environmental conditions. Several species were oriented towards soil cover in autumn (e.g. brown mustard). Others produced an important aerial biomass (e.g. sunflower). Some, with intermediate performance during autumn, had a good soil cover at the end of winter, as black oat for example. Multifactorial analysis allowed us to precise the relationship between cover crops performance and environmental and agronomical constraints. We identified positive correlations between soil covering in autumn and the sum of precipitations 10 days before sowing or intermediate tillage before cover crop sowing. Aerial biomass of cover crops at the time of the first frost was correlated with soil texture: lighter soils were more suitable for high aerial development. No species combined all the advantages expected from cover crops all along the fallow period but species mixtures offer the best opportunities.
Herbicide-resistant weeds are a growing problem throughout the world. Monitoring herbicide resistance in Switzerland allows us to understand the mechanisms behind it and to better manage the use of herbicides.
Agroscope compared crop protection strategies in apple production. Reducing the use of plant-protection products lowered the local ecotoxological risks, but resulted in trade-offs between environmental and economic performance.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium proteins protect Bt maize from being fed on by specific insects. A new, systematic analysis of international field data confirms that non-target organisms in Bt maize are largely spared.