Mixed cropping of grain legumes with cereals is a promising approach to economic and resourceefficient domestic production of protein plants. Since 2009, FiBL has established field trials in cooperation with organic farmers with a view to jointly developing suitable production methods under Swiss conditions. A range of seeding ratios as well as different combinations of species and cultivars have been tested. Standardised production methods developed to maturity are intercrops of protein peas with barley and field beans with oats, with both mixtures sown at 80 % and 40 % of the customary local monocrop seeding rates for the legumes and cereals respectively (and for both winter and spring crops). The cereal crop prevents the legumes from lodging, suppresses weeds, and offers risk protection should the grain legume not develop well. Average yields were 42 kg/100 m² for winter-sown pea-barley and 46.9 kg/100 m² for winter-sown field bean/oat intercrops. Only in isolated cases was the 30 % legume content required to qualify for the 1000 CHF/ha ‘subsidy for individual crops’ not reached. The area under organic peas and organic field beans has multiplied since 2010, and these crops are mostly grown as part of a mixed crop. This is due not least of all to the mills that buy up and separate intercrop harvests.
Spring J.-L-, Zufferey V., Verdenal T., Reynard J.-S., Lorenzini F., Bourdin G., Blouin A., Carlen C., Jermini M., Morisoli R., Ferretti M.
Five Merlot clones bred in Switzerland are currently being distributed by the certification sector. A multiyear trial conducted by Agroscope in Gudo (Canton of Ticino) has made it possible to compare them with French and Italian reference clones and to highlight their very good performances.
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.