Environment

Nobel prize laureate Nüsslein-Volhard: “Genetic engineering offers major opportunities for environmental protection”
Media

Nobel prize laureate Nüsslein-Volhard: “Genetic engineering offers major opportunities for environmental protection”

Genetically modified plants are not cultivated in Europe, an approach criticized by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard as anti-scientific and ideology-driven.

Europe is suffering from severe drought
Media

Europe is suffering from severe drought

This summer, large parts of Europe have received less rainfall than at almost any other time in their history. A phenomenon we are set to see occur ever more frequently in future. The trend in Switzerland is also pointing towards more drought. This poses an enormous challenge for agriculture. With a drought early warning system, farmers should, in future, have better opportunities to plan for these eventualities.

Long Periods of Drought Endangering the Food Supply
Media

Long Periods of Drought Endangering the Food Supply

The drought from 2018 to 2020 was the worst in the last 250 years. This is the finding of researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. As a result of climate change, future droughts could last for as long as 20 years, which would have profound consequences for agriculture and the world’s food supply. Meanwhile, countries like Switzerland are still ill- prepared for the threat of such droughts.

Environment: Use and protect
Knowledge

Environment: Use and protect

Many innovations arise from observations of nature. Genetic resources often serve as inspiration or basis for new products, drugs and mechanisms of action. Agriculture also uses natural cycles, but at the same time influences them. It is in the farmers' own interest to produce in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

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«Biologicals» – biologically active substances from research
Knowledge

«Biologicals» – biologically active substances from research

Modern crop protection products must be safe, targeted and short-lived – i.e. degraded shortly after reaching their target – without leaving behind biologically active degradation products.

Content in German

Double Benefit: Electricity and Nutrition from the Land
Media

Double Benefit: Electricity and Nutrition from the Land

The demand for both food and electricity is set to increase dramatically in future. Concurrently, there will be less free space available. So why don’t we use arable land to produce both food and electricity at the same time? This would be possible using solar panels that produce electricity several meters above the ground. Plants that need shady conditions could grow beneath them.

Circular economy in food production
Knowledge

Circular economy in food production

Reuse instead of throwing away: The circular economy is gaining in importance in many sectors of the economy. In the future, agricultural production will also increasingly have to take place in cycles. This applies in particular to land use, fertilizer production and animal feed production.

What we can do to reclaim farmland
Knowledge

What we can do to reclaim farmland

Agriculture is responsible for ensuring that future generations have enough to eat. Farmers must make the most of every option for food production.

Feed additive against global warming
Media

Feed additive against global warming

The methane emissions of farm animals contribute significantly to global warming. DSM is now bringing to market a feed additive that significantly reduces methane emissions from cows.

Genetically modified plants contribute to the fight against global warming
Research

Genetically modified plants contribute to the fight against global warming

The large-scale cultivation of genetically modified crops would counteract global warming. American and German researchers come to this conclusion in a study.

Plant charcoal for soil and climate
Media

Plant charcoal for soil and climate

Farmers in Zug produce coal from plant waste to fertilize their soils and extract carbon from the atmosphere. They recently received the Federal Energy Award Watt d'or for their pioneering work. We congratulate them.

Using DNA in the air to measure biodiversity
Knowledge

Using DNA in the air to measure biodiversity

Biodiversity is at risk worldwide. This is particularly evident in the decline in land insects. Researchers are now using DNA traces in the air to detect species. This makes it possible to better measure biological diversity on Earth.

Urban beekeeping is endangering biodiversity
Media

Urban beekeeping is endangering biodiversity

Beekeeping is booming in Swiss cities. Urban residents want to make a contribution to the conservation of the honeybee. However, a study by the WSL research institute shows that the amateur beekeeping is not sustainable. It endangers biodiversity in cities, as honey bees increasingly displace wild insects.

Organic: Luxury at the expense of developing countries
Knowledge

Organic: Luxury at the expense of developing countries

ZDF takes a look at the organic farming industry in a documentary program. Are organic products actually more sustainable and better for the climate than comparable products from conventional agriculture? From the perspective of resource efficiency, the question must be answered in the negative.

A new lease on life for unusable farmland
Knowledge

A new lease on life for unusable farmland

Fertile farmland is one of the most valuable resources in the world. It is vital that degraded agricultural land is restored and made fertile once more. The technology already exists, but financial stimuli are needed to make it happen.

A Holistic Approach to Sustainability
Knowledge

A Holistic Approach to Sustainability

Anything can be sold as “sustainable”. That’s why it’s important to take a closer look at what the term means. On one hand, sustainability includes a time component. On the other hand, it has an ecological, economic, and social dimension.

Climate change: "You have to invest heavily in innovation".
Media

Climate change: "You have to invest heavily in innovation".

On the occasion of the 26th Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Matthias Berninger, Global Head of Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability at Bayer, talks about the potential of new fertilisers for climate protection.

The temptation of the popular
Media

The temptation of the popular

Agriculture is one of the first victims of climate change. At the same time, it causes a significant share of global greenhouse gases. New technologies are the key to minimising the problem. But experts in particular are finding it increasingly difficult to recognise innovations as a solution to climate change.

Content in German

Productive agriculture helps the climate and biodiversity
Research

Productive agriculture helps the climate and biodiversity

There is a common belief that organic farming is good for the climate and that it promotes biodiversity. However, this notion is increasingly be proven incorrect.

Insect-resistant SmartStax maize does not harm water fleas
Research

Insect-resistant SmartStax maize does not harm water fleas

Farmers around the world are growing pest-resistant varieties of maize that contain additional genes that protect them against damage caused by insects.

CO2 reduction with alternative artificial fertiliser
Media

CO2 reduction with alternative artificial fertiliser

The two agrochemical producers Bayer and Syngenta are investing in an American start-up whose technology can massively reduce the use of nitrogen fertiliser.

Content in German

More organic does not mean more biodiversity
Media

More organic does not mean more biodiversity

According to a team of researchers at the University of Göttingen, the key to more biodiversity lies in a landscape mosaic of natural habitats and small and diverse areas of cultivation.

Moratoria also damage research careers
Media

Moratoria also damage research careers

Researchers are losing access to Horizon Europe. Restoring it is a top priority. But Switzerland also has it in its own hands to enable attractive new fields of research instead of blocking them.

Content in German

Don’t stifle research and innovation
Media

Don’t stifle research and innovation

Whether it’s 5G, the coronavirus vaccine or genetic engineering, there is a lot of resistance to new technologies at the moment.

The Federal Council’s obstructionist policy is harming Switzerland
Politics

The Federal Council’s obstructionist policy is harming Switzerland

At the end of June, the Federal Council published a message about the Gene Technology Act. In principle, the existing moratorium is to be extended until the year 2025.

Do without Swiss rapeseed oil?
Knowledge

Do without Swiss rapeseed oil?

Rapeseed is the most important Swiss oil crop and it continues to gain in importance. Unpopular palm oil imports are increasingly being replaced by Swiss rapeseed oil.

Agricultural initiatives: Counterproposal goes too far
Politics

Agricultural initiatives: Counterproposal goes too far

In an effort to lower the risks of pesticide use, the Economic Affairs Committee of Switzerland’s Council of States has put forward a parliamentary initiative entitled “Reducing the Risks of Pesticide Use.”

Seven years of cutting-edge research – with the handbrake on
Research

Seven years of cutting-edge research – with the handbrake on

In its February 5 issue, the “BauernZeitung” newspaper looked at the only facility in Europe where field research involving genetically modified plants can be carried out.

Synthetic has many benefits
Knowledge

Synthetic has many benefits

Synthetic pesticides are often automatically viewed as problematic compared with natural pesticides. But this is a misconception. It is not possible to make any general statements about toxicity based on the production method alone.

Animal feed: Domestic rapeseed instead of imported soy
Knowledge

Animal feed: Domestic rapeseed instead of imported soy

The protein-rich press residues of rapeseed would be ideally suited as feed for livestock with the help of "genome editing". Instead of imported soy, domestic rapeseed could be fed to animals.

Observing, understanding and improving on nature
Research

Observing, understanding and improving on nature

Years of work go into developing a new crop protection product. It takes more than 10 years to move from the original idea to the market. In many cases, researchers draw inspiration from nature.

Food waste is harmful to the environment and to the wallet
Knowledge

Food waste is harmful to the environment and to the wallet

In the Swiss food chain – from producers to consumers – considerable amounts of food are lost each year, which would still be perfectly suitable for consumption.

Combating food waste with packaging and preservatives
Knowledge

Combating food waste with packaging and preservatives

The longer food lasts, the less likely it is to be thrown away. Chemical procedures and packaging materials are vital for preserving food. In its online magazine, BASF examines how food preservation techniques have developed and explains the importance of chemicals are in combating food waste. Preservatives are an effective way of combating food waste.

"Swiss water is in a bad way."
Knowledge

"Swiss water is in a bad way."

That's not actually true. Our surface waters, groundwater and drinking water are in very good condition. Our water quality tops international rankings. There cannot be any mention of poor Swiss water quality.

"Pesticides are to blame for insect deaths."
Knowledge

"Pesticides are to blame for insect deaths."

Pesticides are repeatedly blamed for the decline in insects. That is too simplistic an assessment. The reality is much more complex. For example, overdevelopment has a much stronger influence on insect populations. This is demonstrated by a meta-study on global insect decline.

"Pesticides damage the climate."
Knowledge

"Pesticides damage the climate."

Pesticides are bad for the climate? No, the exact opposite is true. Plant protection products help to produce more food on less usable space and thus protect the soil.