Nutrient Management in Agroecosystems

Methods / Infrastructure

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Long-term Field Trials

Our research into more sustainable farming systems of the future is based on long-term field trials at 10 sites. In fertilisation experiments and cropping system trials, we study the long-term sustainability and resilience of organic and mineral fertilisation as well as organic and conventional cropping systems.

Research Focus

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Nutrient Availability and Fertilisation

Improved nutrient efficiency in agroecosystems is a key challenge in agricultural research. Our research focuses on plant nutrition in different cropping systems, organic and recycled fertilisers, yield responses to nutrient availability and site characteristics, mineralisation processes in the soil and site-specific fertilisation.

Outreach

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Policy and Government Authorities

We prepare technical contributions for the Principles of Agricultural Crop Fertilisation in Switzerland (PRIF), the calculation of nutrient balances (e.g. “Suisse-Bilanz”), the evaluation of the soil nutrient testing as part of the Proof of Ecological Performance (PEP) and the calculation of Agri-Environmental Indicators (AEIs).

Fernerkundung

Remote Sensing in Agriculture

We study the basic principles and standards of sensor-based measurement of crop characteristics and develop application concepts for site-specific fertilisation (precision farming) or environmental assessments.

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Nutrient Dynamics in the Root Zone

An in-depth understanding of root distribution in the soil, below-ground nitrogen and carbon inputs, and their residual effects is the basis for targeted nutrient management, efficient resource use and sustainability assessment in agroecosystems.

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Extension and Teaching

We support environmental laboratories, agricultural advisors and associations in interpreting soil test results and deriving fertilisation recommendations. We cooperate with universities by giving lectures and organising excursions.