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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Toxigenic fungi of the genera Fusarium and Aspergillus can infect cereal and maize plants, leading not only to significant yield losses, but also to harvested produce that are contaminated with mycotoxins, and are hence unsuitable for use as food or feed.