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.
To calculate erosion risk in Swiss field crops, the effect of different arable crops on the risk of erosion was determined. Calculations for the whole of Switzerland show that although erosion risk is on average low, it is not negligible everywhere.
Agroscope studied the changes in the agricultural sector over the past twenty years in three Swiss regions and compared them with the visions of three associations: Avenir Suisse, the Schweizer Bauernverband and Landwirtschaft mit Zukunft.
In dairy cows, herbage-based diets often lead to increased nitrogen excretion. Tanniferous sainfoin and extract of acacia can reduce nitrogen excretion from urine and thus ammonia volatilization from slurry.
Excessive nitrogen inputs from the air lead to over-fertilisation of sensitive ecosystems. Continuous feeding optimisation can make an important contribution to reducing ammonia losses and thus nitrogen inputs.
Monitoring systems for indoor housing and home or alpine pastures are gaining in importance owing to their potential for uninterrupted remote monitoring of livestock and for automating administrative tasks. Identitas AG and Agroscope tested the suitability of a sensor ear-tag for cattle for this purpose. The agricultural sector is evolving towards larger farms with bigger…
Agroscope researchers calculated the nitrogen and phosphorus inputs into Swiss water bodies for the year 2020. Although these inputs decreased in comparison to 2010, the 'agriculture' environmental target for nitrogen inputs was missed by a significant margin.
Transport to the slaughterhouse and the time spent in the slaughterhouse are often very stressful for farm animals. A comparative study by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL shows that on-farm slaughter can significantly reduce stress for animals.
An ancient fodder crop that had been largely forgotten, sainfoin is experiencing a revival thanks to its ability to reduce ruminant emissions. Agroscope demonstrated a methane- and ammonia-reducing effect for dairy cows fed with fresh sainfoin.
The consumption of raw-milk products is considered to be healthy, but is not entirely risk-free due to the possible presence of pathogenic bacteria. Agroscope and BFH-HAFL investigated the microbiological safety of raw-milk yoghurt and showed that this is protected in several respects by fermentation.
By 2025, the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) aims to control the vegetation in the track area without herbicides. Agroscope tested the effectiveness of hot-water treatments in a three-year trial and rates this method as a suitable alternative to herbicides.
Agroscope compiles annually updated inventories and projections for Swiss agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. With the change to reporting under the Paris Agreement, new bases for calculation must be taken into account. Despite this, the overall picture for agriculture remains largely unchanged.
The dairy sector is urged to reduce negative environmental impacts. But dairy is not only milk: depending on the production system and cow breed, relevant amounts of meat as by-product result. How can emissions thus be allocated to milk and meat?
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 available forage, climatic conditions and the measures for reducing ammonia emissions can adversely affect protein supplies for suckler cows. What is the impact on the weight and intake of the cows and their calves?
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.
Persistent organic pollutants may accumulate in the tissues of suckler cows and their calves. Agroscope and Empa studied the processes by which these undesirable substances accumulate as well as the decontamination of previously exposed animals.
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.
A review on the current scientific literature showed that pesticides are widely present in soils, water and air and have a potential to contaminate organic produce. These contamination pathways must be considered when findings of pesticide residues are investigated.
The number of plant-based beverages on supermarket shelves is constantly increasing. The physicochemical properties of these beverages, such as their colour or foamability, vary according to the plant they are made from, and determine their use as an alternative to milk.
Agroscope has developed risk indicators which show the development of risks associated with the use of plant protection products for important environmental compartments, describe the risk potential of the active substances and take account of legal measures for risk mitigation.
Selected microorganisms extend the shelf-life of foods, thereby contributing to a reduction in food waste. In a study of the literature, Agroscope highlighted the important role of protective cultures and fermentation.
Do farmers who produce in environmentally friendly ways earn less income? As an Agroscope study shows, this needs not be the case, and farmers can actually generate more revenue by protecting the environment.
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.
It’s not easy to change eating habits. In a study of the literature, Agroscope investigated which policy measures favour a sustainable diet. Market-oriented tools and bans prove effective, but are fairly unpopular.