Swiss Agri-Environmental Data Network (SAEDN)

Agri-Environmental Monitoring (AEM) and the SAEDN – What is It?

In order to develop agricultural policy, it is important to know how agriculture affects the environment. For this reason, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) performs an agri-environmental monitoring (AEM) service, based on the ‘Ordinance concerning the Evaluation of the Sustainability of Agriculture’ (SR 919.118). Agroscope’s Competence Centre for Agri-Environmental Indicators is responsible for the coordination and calculation of so-called agri-environmental indicators (AEIs), on both a national and individual-farm level.

AEIs are easily understandable, environmentally relevant variables for representing the complex environmental system. For farm-specific statements, the Competence Centre relied on the Swiss Agri-Environmental Data Net-work (SAEDN) from 2009 to 2022, where detailed farm data on stock and practice (e.g. livestock herds, fertilisa-tion practice) were recorded and used to calculate AEIs. Around 300 farms per year had supplied data, with some farms dropping out and new ones joining each year. In 2023, the SAEDN was replaced by the new monitoring of the Swiss agri-environmental system (MAUS); more information on MAUS can be found on. The results from the SAEDN, from MAUS and AEM as a whole serve as a knowledge base for policy decision-makers, as a source of information for the public, and as a basis of comparison with other countries.  


Participation in the SAEDN

Are you a farm manager who would like to take part in the SAEDN? Then get in touch directly with your tax consultancy agency, or visit:

SAEDN Partners

  • The farmers of the SAEDN farm network
  • The tax-consultancy agencies (Treuland association)
  • Agridea (owner of AGRO-TECH)

Background Information on the Agri-Environmental Indicators

Driving Forces
Agricultural Practice
Environmental Impact
Agricultural Process
Environmental Status*
Nitrogen (N) N-balance Potential N-losses
Ammonia emissions
Nitrate in surface waters
Phosphorus (P) P-balance P-content of soils  P-pollution of lakes
Energy / Climate Energy demand Energy efficiency
Greenhouse gas emissions
Water  Use of plant-protection products (PPPs)
Use of veterinary medicinal products  (VMPs)
Risk of aquatic ecotoxicity  Surface-water contamination by PPPs and VMPs
Soil Soil cover  Erosion risk 
Heavy metal balance
Pollutant content (NABO)
Soil quality (NABO)
Biodiversity / Landscape Biodiversity promotion areas
Landscape-quality projects
Potential effects of agricultural activities on biodiversity Agricultural Species and Habitats (ALL-EMA)
Landscape Monitoring Switzerland (LABES)
      *in collaboration with the Federal Office for the Environment

How Does the SAEDN Work, and Who Are the Stakeholders?

Between 2009 and 2022, data relevant for the SAEDN has been collected from a network of around 300 farms and analysed by Agroscope on an annual basis. The following paragraphs briefly describe how this process worked, and who the involved stakeholders were.

Background Information on Data Acquisition

Assessment Levels and Use of SAEDN Data

The SAEDN was based on individual-farm data from a Swiss-wide network of farms. Consequently, it allowed us to make statements concerning the effect of agriculture on the environment at farm level, regional level (plains, hills, mountains) and for 11 farm types (e.g. arable production, suckler cows; according to FAT99 farm typology, cf. FAT 2000). For certain farm types, the excessively small sample size made the acquisition of robust knowledge an impossibility.

The individual AEIs were analysed in depth as key topics in the FOAG Agricultural Report at four-yearly intervals. The timetable for 2021–2024 was as follows:

  • 2021: Biodiversity
  • 2022: Phosphorus & Soil
  • 2023: Energy & Climate
  • 2024: Nitrogen & Water

Where the data flow to

FAT (Swiss Federal Research Station for Agricultural Economics and Engineering), 2000. Neue Methodik für die Zentrale Auswertung von Buchhaltungsdaten an der FAT.