Various stakeholders are searching for ways to reduce herbicide use on farms. The implications of such measures, however, are often unknown. This article makes use of a bio-economic model to analyse how plant-protection strategies, yields and contribution margins change in Swiss Extenso winter-wheat cultivation if i) neither glyphosate and ii) nor other herbicides are used. Mechanical weed-control strategies are shown to be a sufficient substitute for herbicides. Here, federal government resource efficiency payments for reduced tillage without herbicide use go some way towards offsetting any reduction in the contribution margin, provided that neither maize nor triticale is grown as a previous crop. Yield losses due to non-use of herbicides are lower owing to the alternative weed-control strategies pursued by farmers, and stand at between 0.8 and 1.6 dt/ha where glyphosate use is dispensed with, and between 1.6 and 2.7 dt/ha where herbicide use is dispensed with completely, although individual farms would record higher losses. A coherent set of policy measures could reduce risks from pesticide use and strengthen alternative strategies, thereby minimising trade-offs.
Employment in the agricultural sector is declining in many European countries, especially in livestock farming. Direct payments can counter this trend and lead to the employment of more – especially female – family members on the farm.
Despite the current challenges of e.g. the war in Ukraine and climate change, the Swiss food sector is relatively resilient. This is the conclusion reached by Agroscope’s report on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for National Economic Supply.
The pandemic has influenced not only our everyday life but also our behaviour. Agroscope looked at which population groups and behaviours experienced or underwent particularly significant changes, and what this means for our health.