Plants and Herbal Products – Vigorous Herbs
The competence area “Plants and Vegetable Products” is the entry gate and at the same time an exchange platform for all matters relating to plant cultivation and its downstream levels. He is also responsible for the related practical research, advisory, and enforcement activities.
Plants and Herbal products: Anabolic Charge
The aim is to further develop technologies, methods, and infrastructures for plant cultivation and plant products and to strengthen the exchange of knowledge with practice, industry, and administration.
The main tasks include ensuring the quality of seeds and planting stock as well as testing arable crop varieties under Swiss growing conditions and further developing their cultivation techniques. Research concerns in practice are recorded and processed. In addition, the aim is to find ways and means of strengthening the importance of plant-based foods – especially fruit and vegetables – in human nutrition.
Activities also focus on the coordination of the testing of plant protection products, the preparation of expert reports in the context of their approval, and the coordination of diagnosis, monitoring, and risk assessment of new and particularly dangerous organisms
Varieties and cultivation techniques
Crop protection chemistry
Plant Protection Service
Extension fruit growing
Extension vegetable growing
Product quality and innovation
.High quality, domestic seeds for arable and fodder farming
Healthy seeds are the basis of food and feed production. Raw materials of high quality and sufficient quantities are the prerequisite for a wide range of products from industrial and commercial production. Nutrient-rich meadow forage enables our ruminants to have a high level of basic feed.
The implementation of the WBF’s seed law ordinance helps to ensure that Swiss agriculture is provided with high-quality seeds of suitable varieties for arable and forage farming (in the form of standard mixtures). Healthy and vigorous seeds ensure added value from breeding to the end consumer. Certified seeds meet the quality criteria and enable traceability along the plant value chain, which serves as the basis for label programs. These activities are carried out in partnership with the seed industry.
Efficient cultivation systems thanks to oilseeds and protein crops
New varieties of rapeseed, soy, peas, and sunflowers are selected based on their adaptation to the soil and climatic conditions in Switzerland, their productivity, and their tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress factors. Mixed cultivation of different species is being examined with a view to reducing disease and pest pressure. This will also allow the inputs to be reduced and without any loss of income or quality. The introduction and development of new crops that are better adapted to recurrent climatic stressors will enable the provision of resilient and sustainable production systems.
Chemical aspects of plant protection products
The project “chemical expertise of pesticides” provides the basis for a PPE approval in the central areas of product chemistry, environmental behavior, and residues on food, which enables PPP products to be used in such a way that it is safe for producers, the environment and consumers. The assessment follows recognized guidelines. To this end, the crop protection chemistry research group works on national and international committees. Own and externally financed work help to find answers to fundamental and methodological questions from the admission procedure. Finally, the market controls, in cooperation with the cantons, help ensure that PPE products in Switzerland meet quality standards and can be used safely.
Examination of the environmental risks of plant protection products
Plant protection products should not have any unacceptable effects on non-target species, biological diversity, and the functions of ecosystems. The test is based on guidance documents and data from the applicants and assesses ecotoxicology, bees, and the biosafety of released organisms. New scientific findings, changing requirements and results from monitoring require constant review of the methods. The agricultural and ecological context, international cooperation, and own research are important for competence.
Plant protection service and enforcement diagnostics
With the worldwide trade in plant material, particularly dangerous harmful organisms or quarantine organisms (QoS), as well as new, unknown harmful organisms, can be carried over. The QoS is regulated in the Plant Protection Ordinance and in the Ordinance on Temporary Plant Protection Measures in order to prevent them from becoming established. The Agroscope expertise and infrastructure such as bacteriology, entomology, mycology, nematology, phytoplasmology, virology with the necessary laboratory capacities provide the basis for the implementation work of the Federal Office for Agriculture. Agroscope has set up a plant protection service that performs enforcement work and enforcement aids as well as an important hinge function between the FOAG and the Agroscope experts, the research and diagnostic laboratories, and the cantonal offices.