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Plant production

Suter D., Hirschi H., Frick R.

A closer look at red clover: results of the 2016–2018 variety testing

From 2016 to 2018 inclusive, Agroscope tested 54 varieties of red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) at six locations. Of these, 25 were new varieties and 29 were already-recommended varieties that were being retested. Yield, vigour, juvenile development, resistance to leaf diseases and anthracnose, winter-hardiness and persistence were all evaluated. For the persistent “mattenklee” type, the…
Plant production

Gugerli F., Moretti M., Graf R., Maier M., Corrado C., Collatz J., Trivellone V.

Genetic diversity of Trichopria drosophilae, a natural enemy of spotted wing drosophila

Drosophila suzukii is an invasive species recently introduced in Europe and causing damages to fruit production. Trichopria drosophilae is considered one of the most suitable indigenous parasitoid to be used in biocontrol programs against D. suzukii. To characterize genetic variability and the spatial genetic structure of populations of T. drosophilae, we developed 21 species-specific molecular…
Plant production

Kay S., Jäger M., Herzog F.

Protecting resources with agroforestry systems: regionally adapted solutions

The Swiss Federal Government’s agricultural policy aims inter alia to provide agricultural ecosystem services, reduce environmental impacts, and increase the resilience of the agricultural sector. Combining the cultivation of trees with crops or grass – termed «agroforestry » – can contribute to achieving these goals without substantially limiting agricultural production. We identified the regions where…
Plant production

Frick R., Suter D., Hirschi H.

Trials with meadow fescue: two new varieties recommended

From 2016 to 2018, Agroscope tested a total of 23 varieties of meadow fescue, including 16 new varieties, in comparative variety trials at six locations. The varieties were assessed on the basis of systematic examinations and observations of forage yield, vigour, juvenile development, competitive ability, persistence, tolerance to winter influences, resistance to leaf diseases, digestibility…
Plant production

Strahm S., Füglistaller D., Lädrach Ch., Enggist A., Thuet, A., Luginbühl C., Ramseier H., Hiltbrunner J.

Growing buckwheat in Switzerland: new varieties for an old niche crop

Interest in buckwheat production has been growing for several years now in Switzerland. Previously, this field crop had almost completely been forgotten. Since it is not related to other arable crops, buckwheat is ideal for breaking up crop rotations. It is also interesting from a nutritional point of view, as it contains zinc and selenium,…
Plant production

Baux A., Schumacher P.

The growth of companion cropping in oilseed rape: feedback on the opinions of Swiss produc…

The practice of sowing companion crops (or «service plants») in among oilseed rape began to get off the ground in Switzerland several years ago. Certain farmers see companion cropping as an innovative technique allowing them to cut back on the use of plant-protection products, and in particular enabling them to forgo the use of herbicides,…
Plant production

Aubry S., Eigenmann Ch.

New challenges to digitization of genetic resources for food and agriculture

A comprehensive stewardship of genetic resources is necessary to insure a resilient and sustainable agriculture. Most of our food comes from a handful of domesticated species which diversity is constantly shrinking. On the contrary, modern genomics keep discovering the marvels of diversity contained in genetic resources for food and agriculture. High-throughput sequencing and related techniques…
Plant production

Sinaj S., Jeangros B.

Preserving the sustainability of field crop systems: overview of 50 years of trials in Cha…

Preserving soil fertility is a major challenge for farms without livestock specialised in field crops. Several decades ago, several trials were set up at the Agroscope experimental station in Changins to study the long-term effects of different cultural practices on soil fertility and crop yields. This article summarises the main results obtained in these trials.…
Plant production

Frick R., Suter D., Hirschi H.

2015–2017 variety trials with xFestulolium braunii and brome grass

Between 2015 and 2017, Agroscope tested seven new varieties of xFestulolium braunii (K. Richter) A. Camus and four varieties of brome grass (Bromus spp.) for their agronomic properties in comparative trials at six locations. The characteristics studied were yield, juvenile development, general impression, competitive ability, persistence, resistance to leaf diseases and bacterial wilt, winter hardiness,…
Plant production

Suter D., Frick R., Hirschi H.

New cocksfoot variety recommendation: «RGT Lovely» instead of «Lazuly»

From 2015 to 2017, a total of 23 varieties of cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.), 11 of which were new varieties, were tested on seven Agroscope sites as to their suitability for use under Swiss growing conditions. The varieties were evaluated according to yield, feed digestibility, vigour, juvenile development, competitive ability, resistance to leaf diseases, winter-hardiness…
Plant production

Jeangros B., Sinaj S.

Phosphorus and potassium requirements of a hay meadow of the Swiss Jura dominated by red f…

Phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) inputs on grassland aim to maintain an appropriate botanical composition and to produce sufficient quantities of forage without harming the environment. Over a 13-year period, eight different levels of P and K fertilisation were applied on a low-intensive permanent grassland in the Swiss Jura. Rising inputs of P (between 0…
Plant production

Bittar A., Meisser M., Mosimann E., Calanca P.

Simulation of grass growth and pasture yields with ModVege

Predicting grass growth could be very useful for the management of pastures, or deciding the best time to harvest hay meadows. The ModVege model was tested and improved using a set of 125 situations (meadow × year × management) collected from grassland areas in Switzerland. Comparisons between simulated and measured data show relatively reliable outputs…
Plant production

Meisser M., Vitra A., Stévenin L., Mosimann E., Mariotte P., Buttler A.

Impact of drought on the functioning of grassland systems

A rainfall manipulation experiment was conducted over a two-year period on two semi-natural grassland sites, in order to determine the effects of drought on both forage production (dry matter and nutritive value) and plant-soil relationships. Water stress simulations were performed with the aid of rainout shelters. Among the nutritional parameters, lignocellulose content (ADF) and water-soluble…
Plant production

Bossuyt N., Wirthner J., Dussoulier C., Frund D., Meisser M., Ampuero Kragten S., Eric Mosimann M.

When must intensive grassland be mown?

The optimum harvest date in spring is a problem that divides producers. Is it better to focus on forage quality with an early cut, or quantity with a later harvest? Trials were carried out on mown grasslands from 2014 to 2016 as part of the «Progrès-herbe» [= «Progress Grass»] and «Preparing Forage Production for Climate…
Plant production

Vuffray Z., Deléglise C., Schori F., Glauser W., Calanca P., Meisser M., Frund D., Stévenin L., Bittar A., Mosimann E.

Typology of pasture production

When planning stocking density on pasture, the preliminary calculation of the surface-area requirement is based on an estimate of the forage production potential. Since the year 2000, grass growth has been measured in various intensively-to-semi-intensively-managed grasslands in the southwest of Switzerland. The dynamism and amplitude over the course of the year of 226 growth curves…
Plant production

Frick R., Sutter D., Hirschi H.

Meadow foxtail: a new recommended variety for Swiss forage production

From 2014 through 2016, the Agroscope research stations tested three varieties of meadow foxtail in comparative variety trials at six locations. The parameters assessed were forage yield, competitive ability, vigour, juvenile development, resistance to diseases, digestibility, adaptation to higher altitudes and persistence. For each variety, an index value based on measurements and observations of yield…
Plant production

Zellweger H., Feichtinger G., Pérez E., Walter A., Hund A.

Weed control in buckwheat: comparison of five selected herbicides

Buckwheat is an orphan crop in Switzerland which has lately been gaining attention due to its gluten-free flour and the high biological value of its protein. In order to establish the conditions for conventional production of buckwheat, two pre-emergence and three post-emergence herbicides were tested as to their suitability for controlling weeds in this crop.…
Plant production

Levy L., Courvoisier N., Rechsteiner S., Herrera J., Brabant C., Hund A., Weissflog Th., Dierauer H., Pellet D.

Winter wheat: a review of 15 years of variety research on extensively managed land

For a new variety of wheat to be marketable in Switzerland or abroad, it must go through a series of tests to ensure its superiority to already-cultivated varieties in terms of grain yield, quality, and resistance to disease. In this process, which is termed a «variety testing», the «best of the best» is chosen. That…
Plant production

Suter D., Hirschi H., Frick R.

Perennial ryegrass: new varieties recommended for Swiss ley farming

From 2014 to 2016, Agroscope carried out variety trials with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Yield, vigour, juvenile development, competitive ability, persistence, resistance to leaf diseases and bacterial wilt, winter-hardiness, feed digestibility and suitability for cultivation at higher altitudes were all evaluated. For the first time, ploidy was taken into account for the assessment. Six new…
Plant production

Schaub L., Breitenmoser St.

Development and validation of a phenological model for the european corn borer

A phenological model for the European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner race with one generation per year was developed and validated by Agroscope. This model replaces the previous time-consuming method for predicting the optimal time for implementing measures to control the corn borer (Derron and Goy 2006). The conventional method consists in predicting the flight…
Plant production

Brunner S., Vetterli Ch., Krebs H., Hebeisen Th., Romeis J., Winzeler M.

GM potato plants are resistant to late blight

Late blight of potato, caused by the pathogen Phytophthora infestans, is the most significant disease in potato cultivation. Large quantities of fungicides are used to control this disease. New, resistant varieties of potato have heretofore not caught on, owing to deficiencies in agronomic traits or tuber characteristics compared to the established breeds. Agroscope studied genetically…
Plant production

Herzog Ch., Anderegg J., Luginbühl C., Stettler P., Hiltbrunner J.

Nitrogen fertilisation of linseed influences seed yield and oil quality

Despite the oilseed production payment, linseed has remained a relatively unimportant oil plant in Switzerland. Nitrogen (N) fertilisation is a core component of linseed cultivation, since linseed is considered to be a fairly undemanding crop, yet one that is susceptible to lodging when over-fertilised with N. With the aim of studying the reaction of recently…
Plant production

Kägi A., Loeu F., Musa T., Jenny E., Wettstein F. E., Bucheli Th. D., Vogelgsang S.

Fusarium species and mycotoxins in silage maize – results of a five-year monitoring prog…

within the context of a five-year silage maize monitoring programme (2010–2014) in the cantons of Aargau and Bern, Agroscope investigated Fusarium infection and mycotoxin contamination of silage maize, as well as the influence of cropping factors including variety, previous crop, tillage, and sowing and harvest dates. Out of 169 harvest samples, 167 showed a mean…
Plant production

Mascher F., Bertschi C., Fesselet M., Schori A., Schierscher-Viret B., Mayor J.-P.

Aptitude of emmer and einkorn varieties for cultivation

Though suitable for breadmaking, einkorn and emmer wheat are hulled grains that are nowadays largely neglected. These cereals are frugal and robust and characterised by high levels of minerals and other elements beneficial for health in the grain. Cultivation of these cereals is feasible, but in-depth knowledge of their agronomic and technical values is indispensable.…
Plant production

Kellerhals M., Schütz S., Baumgartner I., Lussi L., Andreoli R., Patocchi A.

Agroscope apple breeding: methods, results and opportunities for sustainable fruit product…

Agroscope apple breeding develops new varieties adapted to the current and future requirements of resilient fruit production. The latest developments in breeding methodology are constantly implemented in order to streamline selection as much as possible. Breeding research at Agroscope, our collaboration with the Chair in Plant Breeding at ETH Zürich and international networking allow for…