The use of drones is increasing rapidly in a growing number of fields. In addition to capturing images, drones could be a useful alternative for applying plant-protection products in non-mechanisable and difficult-to-access vineyards. The Vidrone project aims to evaluate the usefulness of drones for PPP treatments, particularly in terms of effectiveness, quality of application and drift control. It also aims to make proposals for a standard authorisation procedure for applications using a drone.
Nanopores Revolutionise DNA Sequencing
DNA sequencing contributes to the identification of pathogens, the breeding of new varieties and the characterisation of microorganisms. Using the latest technology, which allows DNA to pass through tiny nanopores whilst being read, Agroscope managed to identify quarantine insects and decipher the genomes of the causal agent of fire blight as well as of a yeast which in laboratory tests revealed useful traits for combatting fungal diseases of apples.
A farm-activity analysis is essential on mixed farms in order to introduce cost reductions and define farm strategies. With AgriPerform, financial accounting data can be entered in the Excel spreadsheet in under two hours. Here, the overhead costs are automatically allocated to the different branches of the individual farm, based on about 5000 reference farm-activity groups. Thanks to a manual correction option, the results can be refined even further.
The humus content of a soil, which is dependent upon site characteristics and management, influences a great many soil functions. Calculating the humus balance on the basis of farm data allows us to assess the quality of humus management. The humus balance calculator calculates the humus balance of both the individual plots and the entire farm, even over several years if required. It is available as a web application which can also be used to review improvements in humus management.
The new LoRaWAN (Long-Range Wide-Area Network) radio standard is a reasonably priced technology with a minimal energy requirement and a long range for data transmission. Ten GPS collars with LoRa transmitters were developed by the ZHAW and tested on cows by Agroscope. In addition to creating networks, the technology can also help to save working time spent locating the animals on extensively managed land and to monitor their well-being.
Automatic steering systems allow agricultural vehicles to be driven on the same tramlines, time after time. The soil in between the tramlines remains uncompacted. The aim is the sustainable improvement of soil structure. Agroscope demonstrated the efficacy of the technique known as controlled traffic farming (CTF) for Switzerland in a simplified approach (‘CTF light’). Permanent tramlines for heavy vehicles improve infiltration performance, water availability, and soil rootability.