Farming System and Tillage Experiment Agroscope

The economic and ecological effects of different agricultural management practices, like tillage intensity or crop rotation in arable farming can only be judged over the long term. Especially soil- and resource-saving farming methods must be tested in view of rising energy and fertiliser prices. Moreover, soils provide a number of important ecosystem services to mankind, pointing to the need for soil protection. Our group supervises and participates in several long-term field trials:

Altwy: Development of conservation tillage for organic farming


Since 2009, the agronomic, economic and ecological effects of two cropping systems, organic and ecological farming, are being investigated in Rümlang (ZH), each with conventional tillage with plough or conservation tillage without plough. We test the effects of these farming practices on crop yield, disease, weeds, soil biodiversity and sustainability using a multidisciplinary approach involving a wide range of scientists. In addition to this, the effects of various cover crops on crop yield and soil life are being tested and compared. Crop rotation, choice of cultivar and cover crops are the same for all treatments, while other agronomic measures such as tillage, fertilisation and pesticide use are system dependent. For each cropping and tillage type, the agronomically ideal farming approach is chosen in the form allowing it to be implemented quickly in practice.