Besides the main arable crops cultivated in Switzerland such as wheat, barley or maize, (organic) arable farming also needs worthwhile niche crops that represent sensible additions to the main crops in both ecological and economic terms.
In the case of direct marketing from the farm and sales as premium products in specialist retail outlets, niche-crop products of this sort represent a financially worthwhile expansion opportunity for the individual farm. However, knowledge about the possible species, varieties, cultivation, management, harvesting and potential use of alternative crops is often lacking.
In third-party-funded subprojects, we address issues regarding choice of variety and cultivation techniques for potentially suitable crops in order to achieve attractive yields of high quality under Swiss growing conditions.
Trailblazing farmers are supported in cultivating these niche crops, and unanswered questions are incorporated in the trials on an ongoing basis. The activities of these projects are geared to market importance or potential.
Trials with safflower, hemp, summer oil poppy, millet, linseed, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth were conducted in previous Work Programmes, in some cases in third-party-funded projects.