Field Crops


Our scientific activities are meant to promote an efficient and profitable production of high-quality plant products for both human consumption and feed purposes while preserving soil fertility and the environment.  

We help develop healthy diets, efficient food chains and sustainable production systems owing to:

  • our knowledge of field crop species (potato, cereals, maize, oilseeds, grain legumes, sugar beet...)
  • the choice of adapted varieties
  • the use of healthy potato plants (certification)
  • improved cultivation methods
  • optimized fertilisation

Innovative Swiss agriculture: rice, tofu and sweet potatoes

Will rice, soya beans and sweet potatoes – which originated in Asia and the Americas – become normal Swiss crops in the future? Valued for their adaptability to climate change and nutritional qualities and also as a potential source of diversification, these crops have in fact begun to be grown in parts of Switzerland and could be much more widely cultivated in the future (House of Switzerland, 24.04.19).



High-Quality Domestic Seed for Arable and Forage Production

The implementation of the Ordinance on Seed Legislation helps to ensure that seed of impeccable quality from varieties suitable for arable and forage production is made available to the Swiss agricultural sector. Healthy seed with a high germination rate ensures value-added performance, from breeding to the end-consumer. These activities are carried out in partnership with the seed sector

High-Quality Seed for the Trade in All Types of Crops and Wild Plants

The provision of high-quality seed in the basis of progress in plant breeding. The accredited laboratory of the Seed Quality Research Group issues national and international certificates for the seed trade. Research priorities for the refinement of seed-quality testing methodologies are developed in cooperation with partners from the seed-breeding and -production, food-safety and organic-farming sectors.

Sustainable Potato Production

The new potato varieties call for suitable cultivation techniques to guarantee optimal storage as well as good yields and a high-quality harvest. In partnership with the potato sector, Agroscope defines the different characteristics of the new varieties and sets up trials that aim to increase the climate-change resili-ence of the crop and to optimise its storage.

Cropping Systems for Oilseeds and Protein Crops

Cultivation techniques must be suitable for enabling effective and sustainable pro-duction of oilseeds and protein crops, as well as for reducing their impact on the environment. The introduction of legumes into the rotation – whether grown on their own or in association – will facilitate a reduction in dependence on chemical inputs, and boost domestic production of plant proteins.

Evaluating Field-Crop Varieties by means of Digital Tools

Variety studies aim to identify the best grain varieties (in terms of quality, disease resistance, productivity, etc.) to allow us to supply practical recommendations to farmers and to adapt the regulations on seeds and plants. Today, digital and molecular tools are available for phenotyping and genotyping, as well as for understanding the response of the different varieties to the environment. This project aims to incorporate these technologies into the arsenal of tools used in variety research.

Improving the Quality of Seed Potatoes

Potatoes are susceptible to numerous diseases – mainly, viruses and bacteria transmitted from one year to the next via the plant (seed tubers). In order to guarantee the continuity of this crop, Agroscope cooperates with the seed sector to certify seed potatoes and develops strategies for controlling diseases which adversely affect their quality.

Varietal Research and Production Techniques for Straw Cereals

Whether they examine wheat, spelt, barley, rye, oats or triticale, varietal studies aim to identify the varieties that are adapted to Swiss soil conditions and climatic vicissitudes, as well as being disease-resistant and able to satisfy numerous market quality criteria. Supplementary trials simulating environmental influences (soil type and solar radiation) as well as different agronomic approaches (fertiliser application, sowing date) allow us to supply more-precise recommendations to producers.

Varieties and Cultivation Techniques for Maize and Similar Crops

From the wide range of international maize varieties on offer, Agroscope determines those which, from an environmental, economic and quality perspective, are most suitable for use in integrated cultivation systems under Swiss growing conditions. The selection is undertaken on the basis of surveys in the field, as well as quality testing of the harvested crop. The List of Recommended Maize Varieties is updated annually based on these results. Because of changing environmental conditions, Agroscope also investigates the suitability for cultivation in Switzerland of other similar crops to maize.

Sustainable and Resilient Field Crop Systems

Crop rotation and soil tillage form the basis of field-crop systems. To meet current challenges, we need to rethink and optimise cultivation techniques with a view to reducing the use of inputs – particularly herbicides – and improving soil fertility.

Environmentally Efficient Field-Crop Nutrition

The aim of the projects conducted within this field of activity is to suggest concepts, methods, diagnostic systems and management practices suitable for ensuring an adequate supply of nutrients to agricultural crops, whilst preserving natural re-sources and the quality of the environment.