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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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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..

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…

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…

Frey M., Konz N., Stamm C., Prasuhn V.

Identification of critical source areas for diffuse water pollution

Input into streams due to erosion and runoff of pesticides and nutrients from agricultural fields pose a threat to our water bodies. Field studies indicate that these losses originate from limited parts of a given catchment. This holds especially for fine sediments, pesticides and phosphorus, which are mainly transported by fast flow processes that are…

Gisler S., Liniger H. P., Prasuhn V.

Erosion risk map in a 2×2-meter grid (ERM2)

The high-resolution erosion risk map (ERM2) of Switzerland’s utilised agricultural area shows potential erosion risk based on the locational factors of relief, soil and precipitation – irrespective of particular land use (arable land, permanent grassland or vines) or crop management. Areas at high risk of erosion within a plot or on a hillside, such as…

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

Odour concentration and emission from dairy cattle housing with an exercise yard

Local authorities, government agencies and courts are increasingly faced with complaints and lawsuits relating to odour annoyance from livestock housing systems. Odour concentration and emission from five naturally ventilated dairy cattle sheds were compared in two seasons and at two times of day. A newly developed tracer ratio method was used for these cowsheds with…

Bohren C.

Invasive plants – what else?

The migration of plants around the globe is essential for our life. Globalization of human activities disturb normal plant migration. Plants and other live forms from other continents do adapt to their new environments. If they do not find enemies there, they might become invasive and disturb the balance of the biodiversity. Plant invasions often…

Birrer S., Jenny M., Zbinden N.

Population trends of Swiss breeding birds in farmland 1990-2009

With the publication of the „environmental objectives in the agricultural sector “(EOAS), mandatory target values for biodiversity on agricultural land have been set for the first time. We present a novel index which indicates population trends of the designated EOAS breeding birds and hence represents one part of the EOAS target attainments. The situation for…

Briner S., Hartmann M., Lehmann B.

Is agroforestry an economic opportunity for carbon-neutral animal production?

In Switzerland, agriculture is responsible for about 11 % of the emitted greenhouse gases. Agroforestry systems may improve the climate balance of Swiss agriculture by sequestering carbon. Agroforestry systems are a combination of a lignifying permanent crop with a crop or with grassland on the same area. One advantage is their capability to sequester carbon,…

Stünzi H.

Analytical studies of the CO2 test for P and K fertilisation

Extraction of soils with CO2-saturated water is one of the Swiss reference methods for phosphorus and potassium fertilizer recommendations. Laboratory experiments show that a significant role is played by interactions between CO2, calcium, phosphate, the only slightly soluble calcium phosphates and lime. Since soil air exhibits increased CO2 content, these solution equilibria also influence the…

Knauer K., Knauert S., Félix O., Reinhard E.

Pesticides risk assessment for aquatic ecosystem

The analyse of environmental risks aims to protect water, soils and the air so that the organisms living in these ecosystems do not suffer an unacceptable level of damage. To analyse the effects of plant protection substances in rivers and streams, studies focus on typical small waters adjacent to farmland. Risk assessment is based on…

Zurbuchen A., Müller A., Dorn S.

Close neighbourhood of nesting sites and foraging habitats enhances a diverse fauna of native bees

Native bees are essential pollinators of wild and crop plants providing high ecological and economical benefits. However, half of the 600 native bee species of Switzerland are endangered. Ongoing soil sealing and intensification of agricultural land use result in fewer suitable nesting sites and foraging habitats, which is expected to force female bees to cover…

Calanca P., Holzkämper A.

Swiss Plateau agrometeorological conditions from 1864 to 2050

Climate change will affect the agrometeorological conditions for crop and forage farming also in Switzerland. This can improve conditions for agricultural production but also increase weather-related risks. In this context, agrometeorological indices can help to better understand the interactions between crops and climate and thus serve as a basis for the development of adaptation strategies.…

Defila C

Phenological retrospective 2009

In 2009, average temperatures above the norm, and in particular the extremely warm months of April, May and August, significantly influenced the development of vegetation in Switzerland. In contrast, the drought that prevailed temporarily did not influence this development. The growing season began in normal or time or slightly delayed with hazel flowering in March…

Delabays N., Waldispühl S.

Ambrosia control: not only in agriculture!

The reaction of Ambrosia artimisiifolia L. was studied in recent years using field and greenhouse trials in Geneva and in Changins and 2009 in ring tests in various European countries within a EUPHRESCO project. The results showed that Ambrosia reacts on a non-lethal control with re-sprouting and is able to produce – even in reduced…

Stettler M., Stettler C., Huber-Eicher B.

Comparison between restored and naturally developed soils

The new Mattstetten-Rothrist rail line builded in the frame of “Railway 2000“ was one of the first large-scale construction projects to strictly implement soil protection regulations introduced about 10 years ago. Supervised by a pedological consultation team, this was realised from the planning of the project to subsequent soil management. The objective of this study…