Metschnikowia pulcherrima is a naturally occurring yeast with applications in agriculture, the food industry and biotechnology. Agroscope is investigating this yeast in particular with regard to biocontrol applications in plant protection.
A programme has been launched for safeguarding the genetic diversity of Arvine, a grape variety formerly cultivated in Valais. Directed selection would make it possible to exploit this variety's biodiversity and to meet the ecological and economic challenges of the future.
The root knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne incognita causes damage in field and greenhouse crops. Agroscope researchers have developed a new screening test to identify bacteria that antagonise this agricultural pest.
With CULTAN fertilisation, nitrogen is injected into the soil as an ammonium solution. Multi-year trials conducted by Agroscope show that this method reduces nitrogen leaching by an average 38% without negatively affecting yields.
Tuta absoluta is one of the most destructive pests of solanaceous crops. Agroscope has developed a statistical model to study the population dynamics of the pest and its parasitoids and allows interventions to be optimally planned.
Swiss vineyards are often small and arranged in a mosaic of separate plots and management practices. Therefore, it can be assumed that spray drift from conventional to organic vineyards occurs regularly. Nevertheless, no pesticide residues are detected in most organic wines.
Red clover is one of the most important legumes in European forage production. In a multi-year field trial, researchers tested Europe’s largest collection of different red clover accessions at five European locations.
Grapevine nitrogen nutrition is a key parameter for achieving production targets in terms of yield and wine quality. Here we set out the current assessment methods and their interpretation thresholds for sustainable management.
Pre-flowering leaf removal is a recent practice in viticulture. As well as reducing fungal disease pressure, it limits yield and improves grape composition. An Agroscope study shows that mechanising pre-flowering leaf removal saves effort but also involves risks.
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.
Tomato is a special case among vegetables, as its seeds can only be extracted from the pulp after a fermentation step. In order to optimise this working process, various harvesting frequencies and extraction timepoints were tested at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL.
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.
Perennial ryegrass is one of the most important forage grasses in Swiss agriculture. Agroscope can now recommend three new cultivars based on the results of variety tests conducted from 2020 to 2022. Three further varieties also showed promise but are yet to be approved.
With the help of satellite data, yields can be estimated both over a wide area and at individual field level. This is also possible in small-scale Swiss agriculture, as shown by a team consisting of ETH Zürich, the University of Zurich and Agroscope.
Suitable both as food for humans and as livestock feed, sorghum thrives even in an increasingly dry climate. Agroscope has developed maps showing the potential growing areas for silage- and grain sorghum.
The energy expenditure for staggered greenhouse tomato production would be twice as high as that of the current means of production with no appreciable increase in yield. Even so, the current means of production might benefit from LED lighting.
Previously, grain diseases transmitted by seed were controlled with synthetic-chemical seed dressings. However, if seed is healthy, no treatment is necessary. As the demand for pesticide-free grain increases, professional seed inspection is gaining importance.
Pest prevention plays an important role in reducing pesticide use. Nevertheless, the use of such measures is below the social optimum. A generally cautious attitude towards risk and adoption of other risk management measures hinder farmers' prevention efforts.
In temporary grassland, alfalfa is used mainly in three-year mixtures for dry locations. Following recent variety trials, Agroscope has added the new varieties Nutrix and Andantino to the list of recommended forage plants for 2023–2024.
Oats, triticale, hull-less barley, lupin, faba beans and buckwheat are rarely cultivated. The EU project CROPDIVA intends to change that. Agroscope analyses the value chains of four of these crops in order to promote their cultivation and processing.
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.
Tall oat grass and golden oat grass are typical hay-meadow grasses that are also suitable for forage mixtures. Of the four tall and three golden oat grass varieties tested, only one new variety of tall oat grass is likely to make it onto the List of Recommended Varieties.
FiBL and Agroscope investigated bread wheat varieties to determine their yield and quality stability. The results show that the choice of variety must be adapted to the site and that high yield potential does not go hand-in-hand with a high protein content.
Adapted and high-yielding varieties of forage plants are important for Switzerland as a grassland country. Hybrid ryegrass is a versatile forage grass that, thanks to breeding advances, has become even more persistent, disease-resistant and high-yielding over the past 30 years.
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.