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Environment

Prasuhn V., Möhring A., Bystricky M., Nemecek T., Gaillard G.

Economic and ecological assessment of scenarios for nutrient reduction in water bodies

Four different scenarios for the reduction of diffuse nutrient inputs from agriculture to water bodies in Switzerland were analysed for the period 2010 to 2025 in a multidisciplinary project. The agricultural sector model SWISSland was used to examine the economic and structural effects, and the influence on the direct payments budget and sectoral income, following…
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Environment

Sutter L., Herzog F., Dietemann V., Charrière J.-D., Albrecht M.

Demand, supply and value of insect pollination for the swiss agricultural production

For some field crops, and especially fruits and berries, harvested yield quantity and quality are dependent on pollination by insects. According to global estimates, honeybees and wild bees contribute equally to this ecosystem service, although there are no systematic studies for Switzerland. Now, for the first time, and with the help of data on the…
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Environment

Seitz B., Carrard E., Burgos St., Tatti D., Herzog F., Jäger M., Sereke F.

Increased SOM stocks in a seven-year-old agroforestry system in central Switzerland

Modern agroforestry systems have the potential to combine productive agriculture with increased environmental benefits. Because these systems have only recently been tested by a few farmers in Switzerland, there is hardly any data available on the environmental impacts of modern agroforestry systems. In this study, we examined the changes in soil organic matter (SOM) stocks…
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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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Food

Flückiger S., Brill F.

Method for improving export opportunities for Swiss foods

The agriculture and food sector is faced with major challenges. The increasing saturation of domestic markets means that the sales potential for Swiss foodstuffs lies outside of the country. Consequently, the Swiss agricultural sector is increasingly reliant on the export-oriented food industry and the support of export promotion. Working together with the Federal Office for…
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Animal production

Pfammatter M., Huwiler S., Kägi F., Kopp Ch., Krüger K., Herholz C.

Performance and stress level in mules during a five days Gotthard trek

In the summer of 2016, three pack mules, each carrying a load weighing 80kg, accompanied a 94.46km trek across the Gotthard Pass with a total altitude difference of 3,364m. The mules’ performances were evaluated by measuring vital recovery parameters such as heart- and respiratory rates and body temperature, and by continuous heartrate monitoring during the…
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Animal production

Dufey P.-A., Silacci P., Dougoud B., Biolley C., Messadene J.

Validation of the standards used for the instrumental measurement of beef tenderness

The tenderness of meat is determined instrumentally by measuring Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF). This measurement is performed according to different standards established outside of Switzerland. The aim of the present study was twofold: firstly, to check whether the perception of Swiss consumers vis-à-vis tenderness matched the WBSF categories commonly used; secondly, to define satisfaction categories…
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Animal production

Dufey P.-A., Dougoud B., Silacci P.

Surveys on the tenderness of Swiss beef: 2009 and 2014

The tenderness of beef in nine different muscles sold as steaks was investigated in two studies (2009 and 2014) by measuring shear force according to Warner-Bratzler (WBSF).The meat in each survey originated from 39 artisanal butcher shops (ABs) or hyper-/supermarkets butcher shop (HSMs) in 14 different Swiss cities. Overall, the 466 steaks examined had average…
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Environment

Chevillat V., Stöckli S., Birrer S., Jenny M., Graf R., Pfiffner L., Zellweger-Fischer J.

Agricultural extension gives rise to greater proportions of biodiversity priority areas of higher quality

The shortage of high-quality Biodiversity Priority Areas (BPAs) is one reason for the ongoing decline in biodiversity in the cultural landscape. Many farm holdings have the potential to increase the quality of their BPAs. One approach to leveraging this potential is whole-farm extension, which takes into account both the ecological and economic parameters of the…
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Environment

Krauss M., Perrochet F., Lori M., Ruser R., Müller T., Zikeli S., Gruber S., Claupein W., Mäder P., Gattinger A.

Reduced tillage in organic farming – climate aspects

The conversion from ploughing to reduced tillage is discussed in the context of increased humus accumulation as an opportunity to mitigate climate change. To date, little attention has been paid to the question whether reduced tillage systems in organic farming result in increased nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Thus, as part of FiBL’s long-term tillage trial…
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Animal production

Wyss U., Girard M., Grosse Brinkhaus A., Dohme-Meier F.

Protein fractions in three legume species

During the forage wilting and ensiling process, a protein degradation takes place that affects the different protein fractions. In addition to the silage conditions, secondary plant ingredients also affect the different protein fractions. In an experiment, the influence of the wilting and ensiling process on the protein fractions of the first and third cuts of…
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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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Food

Friedli X., Freléchoz A., Gilliotte L., Deneulin P., Piccinali Schwegler P., Girardin O.

Swiss local food products competition: sensory evaluation methodology

Nowadays, consumers want products with genuine value-added. With the impact of a medal on the purchasing decisions of consumers being well established, the Fondation Rurale Interjurassienne has dreamt up an event specifically designed to highlight the various Swiss local and origin-linked food products available to consumers: the Concours Suisse des produits du terroir, or Swiss…
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Environment

Finger R., Böcker Th., Möhring N., Dalhaus T.

Incentive taxes on pesticides: economic analysis, experiences from Europe and the effects of accompanying measures

Incentive taxes on pesticides can contribute towards reducing the risk of negative external effects on the environment and human health in real terms. A meta analysis of the elasticity of demand for pesticides shows that the use of pesticides is price-sensitive. Experiences with existing tax systems in other European countries also show that it is…
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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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Animal production

Wyss U., Latsch A., Nyfeler D.

Influence of different slurry application methods on grass silage quality

When slurry is applied, a great number of bacteria (e. g. clostridial spores) are spread on both the soil and forage. An experiment conducted at Agroscope Tänikon in 2013 and 2014 investigated the influence of three different slurry application techniques (broadcast, band-spread and trailing-shoe) on silage quality. In both years, samples were taken of three…
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Animal production

Ammer St., Quander N., Posch J., Maurer V., Leiber F.

Fattening performance of male layer hybrids fed different protein sources

The growth performance of male layer hybrids fed diets containing different protein sources and protein contents was examined in three fattening trials. As expected, the comparison of the Lohmann Brown (LB) and Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL) genotypes with Hubbard JA 757 (HUB) broiler hybrids demonstrated that the male layer hybrids showed a lower fattening performance.…
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Agricultural economics

Eiselen B., Pidoux M.

Future strategies for a dynamic agriculture in French-speaking Switzerland

Agriculture in Western Switzerland is characterised by its broad diversity. For the purposes of this study, Western Switzerland comprises the cantons in which French is spoken (Vaud, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Valais, Fribourg, Jura) and the Bernese Jura region. The aim is to develop global future strategies for this agriculture. In a participatory process with the actors…
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Environment

Schläppi K., Köhl L., Bender F., Held A., Mascher F., van der Heijden M.

Underground teamwork: mycorrhizal fungi for promoting plant growth

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play an important role in agriculture, supporting a wide range of crops with nutrients. There is currently a great interest in enhancing crop productivity through field inoculations with AMF. Here, we show how inoculated AMF are able to successfully establish in eight different field soils, increasing the biomass of red clover…
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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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Agricultural economics

Stolz H., Blattert S., Rebholz Th., Stolze M.

Swiss organic barometer: determinants of organic food buying behaviour

Purchasing decisions have a decisive influence on the demand for organic food. In November 2015, the «Biobarometer Schweiz» study (organic barometer Switzerland) surveyed consumers’ purchasing behaviour, using a standardized questionnaire. The aim of the survey was to investigate the factors determining organic food buying behaviour and to determine which aspects are relevant in consumer communication.…
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Environment

Büchi L., Valsangiacomo A., Burel E., Charles R.

Agri-environmental indicator for soil cover on Swiss farms

This study presents an indicator for soil cover, developed within the framework of the Federal Office for Agriculture agri-environmental monitoring programme. The indicator takes aspects such as crop type as well as cultivation practices such as rotation and tillage into account, incorporating technical data as well as data from crop model simulations. The indicator was…