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.
The genetic selection of hyperprolific sows has led to a rise in the number of piglets that are underweight at birth, often runtier and with stunted growth. A study tested the effect of a supplement on their development.
Raw milk and raw-milk products can affect our health in both positive and negative ways. A study conducted by Agroscope summarises current findings from the research literature and classifies the positive effects and risks.
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.
Good varieties of smooth-stalked meadowgrass are few in number. The positive results of the variety-testing programme give reason to hope that two new cultivars will soon be added to the range of top varieties.
Digital technologies are fixed features of modern agriculture – but to what extent are they already being used in Switzerland? A survey conducted by Agroscope provides answers to this question. Digital technologies reduce the physical workload of farming and contribute to sustainable field management. They also enable optimised management decisions based on plant- or soil-related…
Digital technologies represent an opportunity for the modern management of farms. For this, already available technologies must also be utilised in practice. An Agroscope survey illustrates the status quo of technology use.
Farms operate with a balanced nutrient cycle. Agroscope adjusted the reference values for suckling calves to the latest advances in animal production. The values for feed intake and nutrient excretion are now lower.
Protecting sheep from large predators means more work and higher costs for alpine farmers. The economic consequences of the necessary adjustments were investigated in 2017 and 2018 on 13 alpine farms in the cantons of Uri and Valais.
Grassland-based milk and meat production promotes the site-specific feeding of ruminants. With the AP22+, the reduction of protein supply via concentrates is under discussion. Agroscope studied the effects of limited protein supply.
Kaolin was tested in viticulture to control the dreaded pest Drosophila suzukii. The trials showed that this natural product has a comparable efficacy to conventional insecticides without any adverse effect on wine quality.
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.
The Swiss agricultural sector currently makes little use of the opportunities offered by digitalisation. A charter launched in 2018 aims to further develop the digitalisation of the Swiss agricultural and food sector and to exploit the potential in the interests of all stakeholders.
Since 2007, only free-farrowing pens may be used in Switzerland. Since then, litter size has increased significantly. Despite this, piglet mortality during the lactation period has remained stable over the years.
The number of farms with a minimum area of 30 ha is growing, and specialisation – particularly in animal production – is on the increase. Even so, structural change is proceeding at a slower pace in Switzerland than in neighbouring countries.
Alternatives to antibiotics must be found to combat antibiotic resistance in animal production. The forage plant sainfoin reduces postweaning diarrhoea in piglets, thus reducing the need for antibiotic treatment.
Grazing dairy cows is a characteristic feature of Swiss agriculture. In order to use pasture efficiently, the estimation of herbage mass is recommended. Agroscope compared two methods and developed estimation formulas for implementation in practice.
The term ‘agrobiodiversity’ refers to the variety of plant cultivars and species that feature in the human diet. A study in four European countries shows that consumers are interested in this diversity. The genetic diversity of food-crop varieties and species is archived in state gene banks, and continues to serve as a starting point for…
Sowing oilseed rape with other plants reduces damage caused by adult flea beetle, according to a study conducted at Agroscope. This intercropping approach could limit reliance on insecticides and the emergence of resistant pests.
Adapted, productive grass cultivars are crucial for Swiss forage production. Over the past 30 years, the most important grass species – perennial ryegrass – has been substantially improved by breeding.
Farms operate with a balanced nutrient cycle. Agroscope has adjusted beef-cattle reference values to the latest advances in animal production. The said values can be used for fertilisation planning and are to be used for the assessment of the farm- based nutrient cycle.
To protect Swiss cheeses from counterfeiting, Agroscope has developed marker cultures from lactic acid bacteria that allow the origins of the cheese to be determined. Proof-of-origin cultures for extra-hard cheeses are now also available.
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…
As part of a farm survey, data on the solid feed intake and liveweight development of suckler calves from birth to the age of 305 days were collected and analysed. The data were used to derive estimation formula on weight development and solid feed intake of suckler calves in Switzerland. The analysis showed that weight…
Coupled dairy-beef systems are of major significance in Switzerland’s cattle sector. Using Swiss reference data, the present study modelled greenhouse gas emissions per cow and year for a range of different milk and meat yield levels. The study also determined the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of using a combination of sexed semen and beef…
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…