Protecting the climate whilst reaping a good harvest is possible if greater amounts of carbon are sequestered in the soil. Agroscope calculated the amount of additional carbon that the soil is capable of storing.
A long-term field study conducted by Agroscope, the Soil Protection Agency of the Canton of Bern and the University of Bern shows that soil erosion on arable land can be significantly reduced with the right measures – in particular, conservation tillage practices.
Farmer acceptance plays a crucial role in establishing optimal flower strips. A survey conducted by Agroscope, FiBL and HAFL shows that pollinator flower strips work in practice, and lead to high satisfaction.
Agroscope has developed risk indicators for plant protection products. These indicators highlight risk trends over time for important environmental compartments. Based on sales volumes of active substances, they take account of specific risk reduction measures.
The preservation of soil fertility and multiple soil functions faces various challenges both in Switzerland and throughout Europe. A survey carried out in Switzerland among people from practice, government agencies and research highlights problems and possible solutions.
Model calculations show how climate change will affect the water requirement for different crops grown on the Swiss Central Plateau. This will allow us to proactively plan for crop irrigation and adaptation to the changing climate.
Together with project partners, Agroscope investigated soil carbon sequestration potentials for 24 European countries. Carbon sequestration could offset 0.1% to 27% of greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture per annum.
Calculations carried out by the Swiss Soil Monitoring Network (NABO) over more than 30 years reveal that fertiliser applications and plant-protection products can lead to excess heavy metals in agricultural soils.
What are the possible routes of entry of plant-protection products into surface waters? Agroscope shows the potential input risks in terms of tile drainage, runoff and agricultural point sources for over 20 000 catchment areas.
Nematodes are important indicators for soil life. An Agroscope study shows that nematode numbers and species diversity are significantly higher in organic vegetable fields than in conventionally farmed fields.
FiBL field trials demonstrate that sown wildflowers together with the spontaneous arable weed flora in cabbage fields can promote predatory beneficial insects and pollinators. This makes it possible to enhance the ecological value of production areas.
Run-off and erosion contribute to the pollution of water by plant protection products. Targeted measures to reduce this pollution require detailed field analysis. Existing methods have now been compared for the first time in order to assess their suitability.
In Swiss agriculture, conflicts arise between production and the protection of water resources. These were studied by means of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA): objectives are defined, evaluation functions proposed and measures analysed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In order to understand the diversity of insects colonizing oilseed rape, a survey focusing on beetles was conducted in a plot of winter rape in Agroscope Changins (Prangins VD). Beetles were captured with yellow water bowls over the whole cultivation period from August 2017 to June 2018. In total, 11,856 individuals were caught from exactly…
Recent studies show a decline in the abundance and diversity of wild pollinators, as well as an increase in honeybee mortality. These pollinators are an integral part of biodiversity and play an essential role in the growing of certain crops and in wild plant reproduction. In the Swiss cantons of Vaud and Jura, and in…