The pastures of low-productive Highland Cattle are particularly species-rich because of their relatively low weight, undemandingness and slowness. This is borne out by Agroscope and AgroVet Strickhof studies.
Livestock farming is sometimes criticised for creating competition between feed and food production. However, the animals fulfil an important function by recycling plant by-products and thus closing nutrient cycles.
In the Swiss lowland, the quantity of biodiversity promoting areas (BPA, i.e. options of the Swiss agri-environment scheme) clearly exeeds the stipulated 7%.The quality of the BPA has been improved as well. However, three forth of the BPA are still barely recognizable as semi-natural areas in the field.
The training programme for farmworkers imparts broad skills to academically weak learners. What chances do they have on the labour market today and in the future and how do they succeed in making the transition to further training?
Tall fescue is valued as a high-yielding, robust forage grass. For ley farming, fine-leaved, nutritious varieties which are well-liked by livestock are in demand. Agroscope’s most recent variety test has yielded two new top varieties.
Despite its focus on other, higher-priority criteria, the soybean breeding programme in Switzerland has yielded varieties that are tolerant of soybean mosaic virus (SMV) – the most serious of the viral diseases.
In Switzerland, implementing the Drinking-Water Initiative would have positive consequences for the environment, but more food would have to be imported. A life-cycle assessment study by Agroscope analyses the overall impact.
Chlorpropham (CIPC), the main sprout suppressant used when storing commercial potatoes, is now prohibited in Switzerland. Agroscope tested alternative substances in order to guarantee the production of indigenous chips and crisps.
100%-organic feeding of piglets has been discussed for a long time. A feeding trial on commercial farms shows that completely organic diets are suitable for piglets, and that their introduction is facilitated by a longer suckling period.
Korkaric M., Hanke I., Grossar D., Neuweiler R., Christ B., Wirth J., Hochstrasser M., Dubuis P.-H., Kuster T., Breitenmoser S., Egger B., Perren S., Schürch S., Aldrich A., Jeker L., Poiger T., Daniel O.
Agroscope examined whether it is possible to forgo the use of PPPs with a high risk potential for the environment. The results show that this would make effective crop protection more difficult, especially for field and vegetable crops, but also in organic farming.
Sown wildflower strips improve pest control, and diverse, perennial strips also improve pollination services. Hedgerows in Switzerland yielded good results, while internationally effects were inconsistent. The effects on yield were variable.
A strong immune system is important for health. Foods that are rich in propionic acid, such as Emmental cheese, have a supportive effect, and are a possible alternative to compounds with synthetically produced propionic acid.
Microbial activity in the soil is an indicator of soil health. An analysis of data series from the cantonal soil-monitoring networks over a ten-year period confirms textbook knowledge and shows what we need to look out for.
Researchers from Agroscope, Eawag and ETH have developed a method for the comprehensive detection of organic pollutant residues in soils and sediments. Initial results show that, in addition to known substances, there are also a number of substances detected for the first time.
Ever decreasing amounts of plant-protection products are being used in field crops; however, the quantity alone does not determine the risk for the environment, as discussed in a new Agroscope study on the use and risk of plant-protection products in Swiss field crops.
The genetic selection of hyperprolific sows has led to a rise in the number of piglets that are underweight at birth, often runtier and with stunted growth. A study tested the effect of a supplement on their development.
Raw milk and raw-milk products can affect our health in both positive and negative ways. A study conducted by Agroscope summarises current findings from the research literature and classifies the positive effects and risks.
Around one-quarter of the utilised agricultural area in Switzerland is drained. Plant-protection products (PPPs) may enter watercourses via this route. Agroscope analysed the influencing factors and evaluated measures against PPP loss.
Good varieties of smooth-stalked meadowgrass are few in number. The positive results of the variety-testing programme give reason to hope that two new cultivars will soon be added to the range of top varieties.
Digital technologies are fixed features of modern agriculture – but to what extent are they already being used in Switzerland? A survey conducted by Agroscope provides answers to this question. Digital technologies reduce the physical workload of farming and contribute to sustainable field management. They also enable optimised management decisions based on plant- or soil-related…
Digital technologies represent an opportunity for the modern management of farms. For this, already available technologies must also be utilised in practice. An Agroscope survey illustrates the status quo of technology use.
Farms operate with a balanced nutrient cycle. Agroscope adjusted the reference values for suckling calves to the latest advances in animal production. The values for feed intake and nutrient excretion are now lower.
Protecting sheep from large predators means more work and higher costs for alpine farmers. The economic consequences of the necessary adjustments were investigated in 2017 and 2018 on 13 alpine farms in the cantons of Uri and Valais.
Grassland-based milk and meat production promotes the site-specific feeding of ruminants. With the AP22+, the reduction of protein supply via concentrates is under discussion. Agroscope studied the effects of limited protein supply.
Kaolin was tested in viticulture to control the dreaded pest Drosophila suzukii. The trials showed that this natural product has a comparable efficacy to conventional insecticides without any adverse effect on wine quality.
The risk of nitrate leaching is higher in field vegetable production than in arable crops or grassland. Different species of vegetables have different leaching potentials, which can be reduced through appropriate management.
The Swiss agricultural sector currently makes little use of the opportunities offered by digitalisation. A charter launched in 2018 aims to further develop the digitalisation of the Swiss agricultural and food sector and to exploit the potential in the interests of all stakeholders.