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Environment

Hanke I., Poiger T., Aldrich A.P., Balmer M.E.

Plant protection products – mitigating the risk due to surface runoff

Plant protection products (PPP) can betransported from treated fields to surface waters via surface runoff during rain events. Potential risks for aquatic organisms due to surface runoff are assessed during the registration process for PPP, and risk mitigation measures are implemented if necessary. Currently, a vegetated buffer zone of 6 m width may be required…
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Environment

Schweizer S., Höhn H., Ruf D., Dubuis P.-H., Naef A.

Pesticide application – measures for mitigation of spray drift

The spray application of plant protection products (PPP) leads to a contamination of non-target areas via spray drift: Droplets containing the active ingredient are deposited outside of the targeted area. The potential risk for non-target organisms caused by this drift is evaluated in the authorization-process of PPP. In order to achieve acceptable risk levels for…
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Environment

Jossi W., Humphrys C., Dorn B., Hiltbrunner J.

Controlling pollen beetle with the natural agent «Surround»

Meligethes spp. (pollen beetles) can cause major damage to oilseed rape crops. Organic and extensively farmed stands are especially at risk, since the use of insecticides on them is prohibited. Moreover, the pollen beetle’s increasing resistance means that non-chemical treatment options could also become important for conventional oilseed rape cultivation in future. Agroscope has tested…
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Environment

Aavik T., Bosshard D., Edwards, P., Holderegger R., Billeter R.

Genetic and fitness consequences of using wildflower seed mixtures in ecological restoration

Wildflower seed mixtures are widely used for restoration in areas with impoverished species pools. However, the genetic and fitness consequences of using seed mixtures are often not considered in practical restoration. We studied the genetic characteristics of sown and naturally occurring populations of the grassland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi in an agricultural landscape in the Oberaargau…
Environment

Schweizer S., Kauf P., Höhn H., Naef A.

Spraydrift – mitigation measures in field trials

Drug-containing droplets from the application of plant protection products (PPP) can be transported and deposited outside of the target area, which is called direct spray drift and affects adjacent waterbodies and other non-target areas. The environmental risk expected through spray drift of PPP is estimated as part of the authorization-process. If necessary, spray free buffer…
Environment

Schüpbach B., Walter Th., Hofer G., Herzog F.

Modelled forest regrowth in 2021 and biodiversity in alpine summer pastures

The influence of forest regrowth on biodiversity in alpine summer pastures was investigated as part of the joint research project AlpFUTUR. An evaluation of the target and indicator species of the agriculture- related environmental objectives (AEO species) for the alpine summer pastures shows that all regions of the Jura and the Alps are of equal…
Environment

Koch B., Schmid S.

Valuable biodiversity in grassland areas of encroached alpine pastures

Europe has a long tradition of alpine grazing. Alpine pastures shape the cultivated landscape supporting a high biodiversity. However, more and more alpine pastures are abandoned and affected by shrub encroachment, leading to the disappearance of plant and animal biodiversity. As part of the «AlpFutur» collaborative project, the aim of this study was to highlight…
Environment

Mann S., Ferjani A., Zimmermann A., Mack G., Möhring A.

What would an organic Switzerland look like?

Switzerland‘s high purchasing power, natural site conditions, small-scale agricultural structure and political independence arguably make it more suitable than any other country for a conversion of entire regions to organic farming. The SWISSland forecast model is used to simulate a complete changeover to organic farming for the time period 2018–20, and to compare this with…
Environment

Aebi A., Zindel R.

Symbionts and arthropods – potential implications for biological control

Most arthropod species live in association with numerous bacteria. Their interactions can have different outcomes. While some bacteria are crucial for their host’s survival, others are facultative and their presence can have a negative, positive or neutral effect on the nutrition, reproduction or survival of their host. Some endosymbionts (such as Wolbachia for example) are…
Environment

Knauer K., Félix O.

Pesticides and surface water: practical protective measures

Plant protection products are applied to farmed land to protect crops from harmful organisms. From there, they might be transported via drift and run-off to adjacent habitats. For the active substances, regulatory acceptable concentrations (RAC) for aquatic organisms are determined during the authorization process. As part of the process of assessing the environmental risk, these…
Environment

Schrade S., Keck M.

Ammonia from cattle housing systems: development of emissions in Switzerland

Annual livestock numbers, the distribution of livestock housing systems and NH3 emission factors were used to calculate ammonia emissions (NH3) from cattle farming for the years 1990 to 2020. Emission factors for loose housing with outdoor exercise areas were computed using a model-based calculation based on emission measurements from six dairy housing systems, milk urea…
Environment

Zihlmann U., Jossi W., Oberholzer H., Weisskopf P., Richner W., Krebs H., Tschachtli R., Nussbaumer A.

Importance of the soil in the Burgrain farmingsystem trial

In the Burgrain field trial (1991–2008; Alberswil, Canton of Lucerne, Switzerland), where the soils have developed on alluvial and moraine sediments, it was found that the soil nature often had greater effects on the investigated parameters than the three different farming systems applied, which were «intensive IP» (Integrated Production) with intensive use of auxiliary substances,…
Environment

Schneider F., Rist S.

The significance of aesthetics for the adoption of no-tillage farming

No-tillage is an effective protective measure against erosion which offers ecological and economic advantages. Although it has spread continually in Switzerland since the mid-1980s and some cantons actively promote its adoption, the share of total agricultural land under no-tillage remains low (4 %). This study on reasons for adoption or rejection of no-tillage shows that…
Environment

Jahrl I., Rudmann C., Pfiffner L., Balmer O.

Motivations for the implementation of ecological compensation areas

Swiss agricultural policy is guided by the goal of improving the ecological services provided by farms through direct payments for ecological compensation areas (ECAs), but evaluation programs have shown that financial incentives alone do not guarantee the implementation of ECAs. We investigated, by means of structured interviews with conventional, integrated production, and organic farmers, which…
Environment

Chevillat V., Balmer O., Birrer S., Doppler V., Graf R., Jenny M.

Whole-farm advisory increases quality and quantity of ecological compensation areas

The areas of ecological compensation (AEC) required for farms receiving subventions have so far delivered modest results against the loss of biodiversity in cultivated landscape of Switzerland. Insufficient ecological quality and inadequate locations of these areas are to blame. The results of our study show that whole-farmadvisory can efficiently improve the situation even on intensive…
Environment

Eggenschwiler L., Senn M., Ferrari A., Egli A., Jacot K.

Attractiveness of extensive meadows for aphid predators

Of all ecological compensation areas in Switzerland, extensive meadows occupy the largest surface area. The aim of this study was to investigate the attractiveness of extensive meadows for flying cereal-aphid predators, specifically in the immediate vicinity of cereal plants. On four sites in the Swiss Midlands in spring 2010, wheat in pots was in each…
Environment

Duss M., Meichtry-Stier K., Pasinelli G., Baur B., Birrer S.

Grasshoppers and crickets benefit from connected ecological compensation areas

The quality and connectivity of ecological compensation areas (ECA) may be improved by habitat connectivity projects. The effects of such a project on the distribution of field cricket (Gryllus campestris) and large gold grasshopper (Chrysochraon dispar) were studied in the Plain of Wauwil (canton of Lucerne). The presence of both species, as well as eight…
Environment

Jossi W., Zihlmann U., Anken T., Dorn B., Van der Heijden M.

Reduced tillage protects earthworms

Earthworm activity improves soil fertility. In arable crop rotations highest earthworm populations are usually found in leys. The impact of tillage system and tillage intensity on earthworm populations was studied in the two long term trials at urgrain (Albertswil LU) and at Hausweid (Aadorf TG). At Burgrain having a crop rotation lasting six years and…
Environment

Sanvido O., Romeis J., Bigler F.

Facilitating the evaluation of possible environmental harm from genetic engineering

The debate on the possible impact of genetically modified (GM) crops on biodiversity shows that so far there is no consensus on generally accepted assessment criteria for environmental harm. This debate stems primarily not from a shortage of data, but rather from the absence of criteria for assessing the effects of GM plants on biodiversity.…
Environment

Spiess E., Prasuhn V., Stauffer W.

Influence of organic and mineral fertilizers on nutrient leaching

Between 2002 and 2009 the influence of fertilizer type on drainage water formation and nutrient leaching was investigated in one crop rotation at the Bern- Liebefeld lysimeter station. Slightly higher crop yields were obtained with purely organic fertilizer than with pure mineral or organic-mineral fertilizers. One of the reasons for this may be that optimum…
Environment

Wiedemar M., Felder D.

Klimastrategie Landwirtschaft

Mit dem Ziel eine Gesamtsicht über die Beziehungen zwischen Klima und Landwirtschaft zu gewinnen, kommende Herausforderungen und Chancen durch den Klimawandel frühzeitig zu erkennen und daraus entsprechende Schritte ableiten zu können, wurde vom Bundesamt für Landwirtschaft (BLW) unter breiter Mitwirkung eine Klimastrategie erarbeitet..
Environment

Defila C.

Phenological retrospective 2010

In 2010, the temperatures were only slightly above the norm; therefore, 2010 was an average phenological year. The spring however started late at the time of coltsfoot flowering, because of the cold temperatures registered until mid March. The following spring phenological phases were observed on average dates. The phenological summer 2010 can be considered as…
Environment

Schrade S., Keck M., Zeyer K., Emmenegger L.

Housing systems and a concept to measure ammonia emissions in case of natural ventilation

The relevant housing systems and a suitable measuring concept have to be defined in order to improve the data base for ammonia emissions (NH3) from cattle farming. Statistics and an expert survey show that the proportion of loose housing facilities and outdoor exercise areas in Switzerland increased from 5 % in 1990 to around 40…