How does compacted soil recover?

It takes mere seconds to compact a soil, but years or even decades for it to recover. Biological activities by plant roots and soil organisms (earthworms) as well as physical effects like drying out and rewetting phases, and freezing-thawing cycles are vital for natural regeneration. Exactly how recovery happens is being investigated in a long-term field trial. For this, an observational infrastructure with hundreds of soil probes – the Soil Structure Observatory (SSO) – was set up in 2014 together with ETH Zurich. After the initial compaction event, a fallow, a permanent grassland and a crop rotation with and without tillage were set up. This allows to analyse e.g. the influence of plants and tillage on recovery.

Bodenfruchtbarkeit und Bodenschutz

Regeneration verdichteter Böden

Publikation Arbeitshaltung Melken

Ergonomics in the milking parlour

Milkers frequently suffer from musculoskeletal disorders, especially in the area of the shoulders and arms.  Agroscope therefore investigated whether appropriate working heights can reduce workload in the milking parlour. For this, the angle of flexion of various joints during milking was recorded in one experiment, whilst a second experiment recorded muscle contractions at three different heights. The study showed that although a lower working height in the milking parlour has no effect on forearms or upper arms, it significantly reduces strain on the shoulders. 

Rinder Fuetterung

Optimised feed reduces environmental impacts

On behalf of Micarna SA, Agroscope analysed the environmental impacts of beef, pork and poultry production. With beef production, feed intensity was crucial. In the case of pork and poultry production, the quantity of feed used per kg of meat had the greatest influence on environmental impacts. The use of European soya with its shorter transport distances had a positive effect.