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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,…
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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…
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Plant production

Jeangros B., Sinaj S.

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

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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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.…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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 programme

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…
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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.…
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Plant production

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

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

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…
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Plant production

Schumpp O., Dupuis B., Bréchon A., Wild W., Frei P., Pellet D., Schaerer S.

High-throughput molecular diagnostics for detecting potato-plant viruses

Every year, Agroscope inspects almost 300 000 tubers for the presence or absence of viruses in order to certify potato plants destined for Swiss producers. From 2016 onwards, this inspection has been performed using real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on dormant tubers right after the harvest. The new method allows results to be obtained…
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Plant production

Micheneau M., Champolivier L., Courtois N., Sinaj S., Baux A.

Réglette azote colza®: a decision support tool for rapeseed N management adapted for Switzerland

The Réglette azote colza® is a decision support tool for rapeseed nitrogen fertilization, developed by the French institute Terres Inovia. This tool was designed to determine the nitrogen dose the most adapted to the needs of the crop, based on the rapeseed status at the beginning and at the end of the winter. The parameters…
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Plant production

Schirdewahn T., Mascher F., Bucheli Th., Bertossa M., Musa T., Wettstein F.E., Keller B., Vogelgsang S.

Cultivation factors influence Fusarium fungi and mycotoxins in Swiss barley

During a 2-year monitoring we observed that the occurrence of Fusarium graminearum and the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol are influenced by several cropping factors. Frequently, not only one but the combination of different factors have to be considered e.g. previous crop and tillage. Thus, the entire cropping system should be taken into consideration to retrieve influencing cropping…
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Plant production

Levy L., Courvoisier N., Herrera J., Brabant C., Pellet D.

Protein potential of winter wheat varieties

A ‘protein potential’ concept has been developed by analogy with the ‘grain yield’ concept, with the aim of better understanding the factors influencing wheat protein content and identifying the most stable varieties as well as the amount of protein that remains to be reached. The protein potential of 18 varieties of winter wheat covering all…
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Plant production

Vuffray Z., Deléglise C., Amaudruz M., Jeangros B., Mosimann E., Meisser M.

Phenological development of meadows – 21 years of observations

In spring, the phenological development of meadows influences forage quality, particularly in terms of the digestibility of organic matter. Thus, phenological observations facilitate grassland management during first grass growth. Since vegetation development depends largely on meteorological conditions, long-term phenological monitoring also enables the effects of climate change on vegetation to be assessed. The aim of…
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Plant production

Roger A., Pluchon S., Yvin J-C., Benbrahim M., Kremer L., Sinaj S.

Effects of a new phosphate fertiliser on wheat nutrition and yield

Phosphorus (P) is an essential mineral for plant growth. Given that easily extractable global stocks of P are declining and that P over-fertilisation can be a source of pollution, it would appear necessary to improve the efficiency of phosphate fertilisers in agriculture. Two independent experiments were carried out at Agroscope Changins (Switzerland) and RITTMO-Colmar (France)…
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Plant production

Suter D., Rainer F., Hirschi H., Aebi Ph.

Timothy: two new varieties recommended

Between 2013 and 2015, Agroscope field-tested a total of 21 varieties of timothy (Phleum pratense) as to their suitability for cultivation. Seven of these varieties had already been recommended and served as benchmarks in the trial, whilst simultaneously being required to pass the test again. Yield and digestibility, vigour (density, luxuriance and evenness of the…
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Plant production

Grieder Ch., Tanner P., Schubiger F.-X., Boller B.

Improved performance thanks to sex: Agroscope’s new Kentucky bluegrass varieties

The year 2014 marked the first occasion when two varieties of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) from Agroscope’s breeding programme, Selista and Sepia, were included in the Swiss List of Recommended Varieties for Forage Plants. Instead of exhibiting the otherwise usual asexual seed formation (‘apomixis’), Selista and Sepia primarily reproduce sexually, like the known variety Lato.…