Swiss agriculture is shaped by permanent grassland. They enable the provision of the population with high-quality protein from milk and meat which are produced in an environmentally friendly manner on the farm’s own feed basis. Grassland also makes a substantial contribution to both the multifunctionality and sustainability of agriculture. Progressive structural and climatic change as well as altered economic framework conditions are confronting the management of permanent grassland with numerous challenges, however.
The chief aim of this research project is to develop site-adapted strategies for supporting grassland-based production with minimum impact on the environment. The focus here is on the multifunctionality of permanent grassland, which can only be safeguarded through a systematic, phased management adapted to the site conditions. Here, the anticipated changes in the climate and agricultural structures are also taken into account, and attention is paid to the sustainable use of the resources of soil, nutrients, biodiversity and water.
We are developing innovative strategies for using the functional biodiversity of permanent grassland for resource-efficient forage production, for the management of swards with limited possible uses, for the prevention and control of weed infestation using organic methods, and for adapting grassland use to dry spells. In addition, we devise measures for the creation and preservation of ecologically valuable grassland swards in the lowland and mountain areas.