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Agricultural economics

Hochuli A., Huber M., Hofstetter P.

Guest segments for agritourism

Knowledge of guest needs is the prerequisite for the market-oriented design of tourist offerings. Using cluster analysis, the guest segments (clusters) for agritourism in Switzerland were first identified in terms of distinct needs. The classification of the six clusters was based on a survey of 655 potential guests of agritourism enterprises. The six guest segments…
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Environment

Chervet A., Sturny W.G., Gut S., Sommer M., Stettler M., Weisskopf P., Keller Th.

Wheel load-carrying capacity – a useful parameter for practice

Compaction in the subsoil caused by high wheel loads is usually long-lasting, adversely affecting soil functions and productivity. Wheel load-carrying capacity is defined as the maximum wheel load for a specific tyre and inflation pressure that does not result in soil stress in excess of soil strength (defined as precompression stress). We calculated the seasonal…
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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.…
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Agricultural economics

Zorn A., Lips M.

Profitability of domestic grain legumes

The profitability of growing grain legumes in Switzerland is of interest when discussing the importation of feed. Cost/performance calculations on a full-cost basis for soya, field beans, protein peas and lupins yield a realised hourly rate or work monetisation of at least CHF 37.–, assuming efficient management on three-hectare plots. This work monetisation is comparable…
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Environment

Ramseier H., Füglistaller D., Lädrach Ch., Ramseier Ch., Rauch M., Widmer Etter F.

Flower strips encourage honey bees and wild bees

Honey bees and wild bees are essential for agricultural production and biodiversity, but have come under pressure worldwide. Besides the varroa mite, diseases and environmental toxins, lack of food is likely to be an important stress factor. For this reason, it is hoped that flower strips in the cultivated landscape will reduce the nectar dearth…
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Environment

Luka H., Barloggio G., Pfiffner L.

Flower strips control pests in vegetable production and ecologically upgrade arable land

Multi-year studies of the model system ‘cabbage’, the pest ‘cabbage moth’ and the latter’s egg and larval parasitoids (beneficials) demonstrate how pests can be controlled in vegetable production with the help of tailored biodiversity areas. Beneficials were encouraged by means of flower strips on field margins and companion plants within the field. Suitable plants for…
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Environment

Tschumi M., Albrecht M., Dubsky V., Herzo F., Jacot K.

Tailored flower strips for arable crops reduce cereal leaf beetles and aphids

Sustainable agricultural production relies on ecosystem services such as biological pest control. This service is at risk through intensive agricultural management; but can be improved by offering resources to pests’ natural enemies. Flower strips tailored to the specific needs of natural enemies of crop pests (i.e. cereal leaf beetles and aphids) were evaluated on farms.…
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Animal production

Wyss C., Gerster G., Zollinger A., Bachmann I.

Slow-feeding for horses

In a natural environment, equids spend over 16 hours a day grazing. Stabled horses are traditionally fed 2–3 times a day with limited amount of forage. This may lead to disturbances of the digestive system and/or behavioral problems. The aim of this study was to investigate whether intake decreases when using a net covering the…
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Animal production

Grob N., Altermath J., Boillat C., Frutschi V., Guy A., Roumet J.-P., Python P., Reidy B.

Advisory instruments for the improvement of profitability on dairy farms

An advisory method developed in France was adapted for the application in Canton Jura and Bernese Jura to improve the profitability of dairy farms. Using this newly developed advisory instrument, an interdisciplinary team aimed to offer comprehensive consultancy. Data from 64 dairy farms was collected regarding environmental factors, management practices and related economic performance. Multivariate…
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Environment

Fuhrer J., Thomet M., Smith P, Jordan F., Thomet P.

Online water-shortage forecasts

Climate change causes the risk of water shortage to increase in regions where intensive agriculture is practised. A model for the Three-Lakes Region (Broye/Seeland) was created as a tool for forecasting critical situations and for the longer-term planning of water use with a view to adapting to climate change. The model allows the resources in…
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Environment

Chervet A., Sturny W.G., Weisskopf P., Sommer M., Martinez I., Keller T.

Soil porosity and gas transport properties after 19 years of no-till and conventional tillage

No-till and conventional plough tillage have been compared since 1994 in the Oberacker longterm field experiment at Inforama Ruetti in Zollikofen (Switzerland) on a slightly humic sandy loam soil. Crops were grown in a six-year crop rotation in a strip trial with six adjoining plots. Nineteen years into the trial, undisturbed cylindrical samples were taken…
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Environment

Chervet A., Ramseier L., Sturny W.G., Zuber M., Stettler M., Weisskopf P., Zihlmann U., Martinez I., Keller T.

Crop yield, and nutrients in the soil profile after 20 Years of no-till and conventional tillage

No-till and conventional plough tillage have been compared since 1994 in the Oberacker longterm field experiment at Inforama Ruetti in Zollikofen (Switzerland) on a slightly humic sandy loam soil. Crops were grown in a six-year crop rotation (peas, winter wheat, field beans, winter barley, sugarbeets and silage maize) in a strip trial with six adjoining…
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Agricultural economics

Umstätter Ch., Stark R., Schmid D., Schick M.

Effect of technological progress on working time in agriculture

This study addresses the influence of technological progress on the annual working hours of Swiss farmers in the years 2003 and 2012. The analysis of standard labour contracts for agricultural employees in Switzerland as well as a study of the literature revealed that the weekly working time for agricultural activities in most countries comes to…
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Plant production

Villacrés de Papajewski D., Grisot E., Bétrix C.-A., Schori A., Mascher F.

Creating a test to measure resistance to soybean

Bacterial blight is a foliar disease caused by Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. glycinea. The disease is characterised by angular leaf spots yet with only little impact on the yield. The seeds constitute the primary source of inoculum, and contaminated seeds may affect the diffusion of new varieties. The best approach to preventing the disease is to…
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Animal production

Wyss U., Dettling T., Reidy B.

Silage qualities in the mountain area: a field study

Silage preparation is an important feed-conservation method in the mountain area of Switzerland. To determine the ensilability of various typical plant populations in the mountain area, four plant populations were investigated on a laboratory scale, and grass silages from 31 commercial farms from the Ybrig-Einsiedeln mountain region were collected and analysed. According to the fermentability…
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Animal production

Müller Richli M., Kaufman D., Scheeder M.

Prediction of the fatty acid composition in backfat of pigs as breeding tool

Pork fat is a major constituent of many meat products and its quality therefore of high relevance for meat processors. The most important fat quality characteristics – oxidative stability and consistency – are well described by the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and the iodine value. In Switzerland, these two traits are even part…
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Environment

Meichtry-Stier K., Zellweger-Fischer J., Horch P., Birrer S.

The ecological quality of meadows is important for the Brown Hare

The population of Brown Hares in the Swiss lowland has been declining for years. In the St. Galler Rhine valley farmland has been ecologically improved with biodiversity promoting areas (BFF) since 1994 with the aim to promote the Brown Hare amongst other species. In this study, we compared the population trend of the Brown Hare…
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Environment

Lansche J., Koch P., Mouron P., Gaillard G.

Methodological challenges posed by the environmental product declaration for agricultural products

The European Union (EU) intends to introduce an environmental product declaration for agricultural products. This raises the question of the extent to which the various methodological guidelines are suitable for this purpose from the Swiss perspective. Together with Koch Consulting and on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Agroscope has therefore made…
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Plant production

Büchi L., Mouly P., Amossé C., Bally C., Wendling M., Charles R.

Non-destructive method for estimating cover-crop biomass

This study presents a non-destructive method for estimating cover-crop biomass, based on field estimation of soil cover and cover height. The estimation of biomass allows to quantify expected services offered by cover crops, such as competition against weed, erosion and leaching reduction, input of nutrients and organic matter. Linear models were adjusted to the data…
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Animal production

Manceau B., Martrou J.-L.

Economic approach of the LACTOBEEF project

Summering fattening cattle on alpine pastures has the advantage of utilising the whey and optimising the number of animals on said pastures. The LACTOBEEF project followed two mountain stockbreeders from the Gruyère Pays d’Enhaut Regional Nature Park. Traditionally, these stockbreeders fatten pigs on their whey and raise dairy heifers. The trial addresses the economic consequences…
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Animal production

Gallot M., Buchwalder G., Beuret B., Cecilio J.-M., Guinemer M., Marigo P., Frosini S., Charrière J.-D.

Autumn intermediate crops and development of honey-bee colonies

Establishing an autumn vegetation cover following the grain harvests is common practice in the farming community. Although certain beekeepers look forward to this foraging opportunity, others suspect a weakening of the bee colonies after they forage on these cover crops, and fear the premature exhaustion of the winter bees. The experiment presented here attempts to…