Inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from agriculture into surface waters are one of the most important agricultural environmental problems. By means of lysimeter and field trials, Agroscope develops scientific knowledge for reducing nutrient losses from agriculture into surface- and groundwater. This allows us to deduce recommendations for practice.
The agricultural sector is faced with major challenges: available resources such as plant nutrients and arable land are becoming scarce. Moreover, adjustments must be made due to the changing climate. Agroscope develops solutions for using re-sources more efficiently and for increasing yields per hectare whilst keeping environmental impacts as low as possible.
Soil fertility is a cornerstone of sustainable soil use. The aims of the Swiss Soil Monitoring Network NABO are the countrywide recording and assessment of soil stresses and pollutants, as well as the early recognition of undesirable changes in order to safeguard soil fertility. This long-term programme makes an important contribution to the monitoring of ecological sustainability, provides solutions for dealing with soil hazards, and helps with the assessment of soil functions.
The ‘Soil Structure’ project deals with 4 aspects: (1) improved understanding of mechanical soil load-/deformation processes, as well as additional data on mechanical soil properties; (2) a fundamental understanding of anthropogenic and natural structural formation processes; (3) quantifying the structural quality of soils using direct and indirect indicators; (4) the pedological-agronomic evaluation of tillage experience and site-related soil assessment. The aim is to preserve or improve soil quality and function both for present and future generations.
With its great diversity and mass of living organisms, the soil forms an important basis for agricultural production. In this project, we investigate whether it is possible to improve soil functions with specific agricultural practices. This so-called soil ecological engineering should contribute to the further improvement of sustainable and productive cultivation systems.
Soils harbour a wide range of beneficial organisms with advantageous properties for agriculture. This research project explores and identifies such beneficial members of the plant microbiome. The aim is to use beneficial microorganisms to develop a more sustainable agricultural sector and to reduce reliance on agrochemical products whilst maintaining yield levels.
Plant-Protection Products (PPPs) are used worldwide. We still do not know much about whether PPPs have a negative impact on soil life and soil fertility. Recent research has demonstrated that a broad spectrum of PPP residues are detectable in the soil. In this project, we investigate whether PPPs have a negative effect on important soil functions and on soil life, and how these can be assessed.
The efficient use of nutrients in agricultural production is an essential precondition for the development and optimisation of sustainable production systems, both for reasons of resource conservation, and owing to environmental pollution from nutrient loss.
Understanding the nutrient cycles in agroecosystems is an essential precondition for improving the efficiency of said systems. The cycles of nutrients from organic fertilisers and plant residues play a key role in the nutrition of cultivated plants, particularly in low-input systems such as organic farming.
Long-term trials with different farm-management and fertilisation systems, such as the DOK and A493 trials, allow us to study the long-term-management impacts on nutrient-cycling processes, thereby forming the basis for the further development of organic and other extensive farming systems.
Agroscope has a statutory responsibility for certifying service laboratories offering soil analyses as proof of fulfilment of the PEP inspection obligation. Laboratory certification is awarded on the basis of standardised ring tests, based on the results of which the list of approved laboratories is published each year.
Lysimeters are cylindrical containers filled with natural soil. The water percolating into the soil can be collected at the bottom of these containers. Agroscope’s lysimeters are used to study the water- and mass balance of agricultural soils.
SALCA (Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment) ist eine Ökobilanzmethode und -datenbank, welche von Agroscope entwickelt wurde. Sie dient der Analyse und Optimierung der Umweltwirkungen der landwirtschaftlichen Produktion.
Carbon-based soil amendments like biochar are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, biochar serves as a soil improver and can bind pollutants; on the other, it is not free of pollutants itself. Our work aims to take into account both aspects.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are known to forage efficiently for soil nutrients and forward them to associated plants. Supporting those fungi in agricultural ecosystems, could reduce environmental pollution and improve the sustainability of agricultural production.
Several microorganisms can improve soil health and plant productivity. We investigate if the functioning and sustainability of agricultural soils can be increased or restored by introducing beneficial microorganisms (e.g. mycorrhiza) in the field.
Soil microbes are essential for soil fertility. In contrast to their significance for plant nutrient little is known about their significance for the functioning of agricultural and natural ecosystems.
Plants depend - especially if nutrients are limited - on interactions with microbial symbionts in the rhizosphere. Here we investigate how plants take influence on their associated microbiome in response to the availability of phosphorus in soil.
The activity of microbes increases in the proximity to roots and thereby impact plant growth. We investigate the structure and function of this microbiota combining state-of-the-art DNA sequencing and cultivation-based manipulations in microcosms.
We develop and optimize sustainable farming systems, especially for organic agriculture. We search for practical solutions for no-till systems, intercropping and weed control for producing in an eco-friendly and resource-efficient manner.
Mycorrhizal fungi have a wide range of positive effects in agricultural ecosystems. We analyse your soil and root samples and determine which and how many mycorrhizal fungi are present. We also sell mycorrhizal fungal inoculum for a variety of applications.
The main goal of the National Soil Monitoring Network NABO is the nationwide assessment and evaluation of chemical, physical and biological impacts on soil. Additional tasks include the prediction and early detection of soil changes to ensure long-term soil fertility. For this purpose, the NABO conducts a long-term monitoring of soils under current management conditions.