At the end of last year, Agroscope concluded its 2014-17 Work Programme. The results were impressive: in a phase characterised by organisational changes, our technical objectives were still largely achieved. This reflects the importance of a Work Programme whose project descriptions form the stable foundation for its research activity.
Standing still is anathema to research. Our vision must be directed ahead, which is where Agroscope has it focused for the next few years. In the new 2018-21 Work Programme we’ve formulated 17 Strategic Research Fields outlining the most important challenges of the Swiss agriculture and food sector, as well as the associated research tasks and issues. These form the framework within which our research, development and enforcement activity will take place over the next few years. We have supplemented this view with a broad-based survey of the needs of our most important clients. Based on this, 117 research projects have been developed which will make concrete contributions to meeting these challenges.
In this context, digitisation is an important topic. The cover story ‘Digitised Bees: Ambassadors for Bee Protection’ shows how elegantly Agroscope is able to research colony collapse, thanks to modern technologies.
The article ‘Cows in the Digital Era’ deals with automatic animal-monitoring systems that are reaching the stage of suitability for practical application, thanks to Agroscope’s involvement. In the article ‘Viticulture: Towards Zero Treatment’, we describe how Agroscope uses modern methods to expedite the breeding of fungus-resistant grape varieties. ‘Automated Control of Broad-Leaved Dock’ describes how – with the involvement of Agroscope – a device is being developed which independently detects dock plants on a field and destroys them with hot water.
Besides this, in the ‘Short Texts’ we present examples of each of the 17 Strategic Research Fields, the two Agroscope Research Programmes, and – to close the circle – the essence of the new Work Programme. Come the end of March 2018, I'll be handing over all this to my successor, Eva Reinhard.
Head of Agroscope