"Switzerland without a herbicide" as a vision

Fast pesticide pollution can be achieved. However, according to FiBL, the future without pesticide exposure needs different but feasible solutions in the agro-ecosystem.

Researchers at the Institute of Organic Farming (FiBL) have been using pesticides for solutions yesterday. Its four-point conclusion:

  • reduction potential with chemical-synthetic pesticides is high: Subdirectories can be implemented immediately. Practice and research in organic agriculture show that herbicides can be completely replaced by state-of-the-art equipment, mixed cultures and soil coverings. "Swiss agriculture without herbicide" would be an interesting vision for the practice, its unique market position and agricultural policy. To make this happen, FiBL wants to give its contribution to its expertise.
  • Sustainable, practical solutions are system solutions: Preventive plant protection is not feasible without systemic effects due to multiple crops, mixed crops, deer bovines and hedges, floral strips or non-profit weeds. This agronomic sense of reality must replace the concept of simple pesticide solutions. Farmers, plant protection experts, breeding experts, ecologists, researchers and consultants are just a networked part of the solution.
  • Without selection and breeding of new varieties of specific varieties, more complex diseases and pests, especially in special crops, can not be managed: New varieties need time and money. So are breeding projects such as improving the tolerance of the disease in the apple. Projects like this show the way but need more support and imitators around the world.
  • There is a very complex development of alternative, direct measures without chemicals: Direct protection of plants without chemical synthetic pesticides was investigated in Switzerland for FiBL and Agroscope for 30 years. The wealth of possible solutions such as natural antagonists (insects, viruses, nematodes), herbal extracts or natural materials (clay minerals, milk extracts, etc.) are enormous. Developing them into standardized plant protection products is extremely expensive. This requires public and private investment in research. Switzerland would be destined to take the lead. Fortunately, the public debate on pesticides shows the first results. Meanwhile, half of all applications for licensing for new active substances in the European Union are among the biological pesticides. This shows the recognized potential.

The advancement of preventive and direct methods of pest control is urgent, so yield reductions can be compensated by the release of pesticides. The current financing of research and development at FiBL – which has enabled the orders of Swiss, Austrian and German governments, the European Union, charitable foundations and innovative companies – is constantly improving the safety of agricultural yields, the environment and the quality of food. In order to achieve the required effect, research and development of biological plant protection solutions should be promoted in cooperation with industry partners.

A large selection of crops is needed

According to Moniki Messmer from FiBL, plant breeding has great potential to achieve more sustainable food production and reduce pesticide use. In order to ensure competitive and environmentally compatible Swiss food production, the Federal Strategy for Growing 2050 and the Implementation Measures Catalog have been developed together with various stakeholders in the value chain.

However, much more than any other farming system, organic agriculture relies on a wide range of crops and custom varieties that are specifically tailored to the closed loop and self-regulating organic farming systems that meet consumer requirements for healthy ingredients and flavor. In addition to resistance to various fungi and pests insects, especially resistance to seed and powdery diseases, as well as weed control, play an important role as no seed sealing or herbicides are used in organic cultivation.

In addition, the varieties must be borne with the temporary limitation of the release of nutrients from organic fertilizers. Therefore, growing especially for organic farming is an important core mission of FiBL, which has expanded massively in the last ten years. The concept of biological breeding is based on strengthening the resistance of the entire farming system by promoting biodiversity. sum