The Swiss agricultural and climate policy- making sector has set itself the target of reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by at least one-third by 2050 compared to 1990’s figures. This target can be achieved via technical measures on the production side and/or by reorganising agricultural structures (area percentages, animal populations). Animal husbandry is responsible for approx. 85 % of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Accordingly, the potentials of reduction measures in the animal husbandry sector were investigated, based on the models and methods of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Technical measures on the production side are characterised by fairly low reduction performances and/or by tradeoffs with other enviromental impacts, as well as by technical problems with implementation. The agricultural-sector target is therefore unlikely to be achievable with measures of this sort alone. By contrast, a reorganisation of agricultural structures accompanied by a shift to an increasingly plant-based diet harbours great potential, and presents itself as a promising approach.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation by bacteria in the soil coexisting with legumes leads to reduced fertiliser requirement. It is not easy to measure this variable on farms, however. Now researchers from Agroscope have developed a method for estimating nitrogen input via symbiotic fixation at farm level.
With increasing global and regional temperatures, even in Switzerland the growing season has lengthened considerably. Using data from the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, Agroscope has traced the development of the growing season since the start of the previous century.
The phosphate mineral reserves required for fertiliser production could be exhausted on a global scale in just a few decades. This study presents a method for recycling a Swiss industrial by-product into a phosphate fertiliser.