Minimization of herbicide application in conservation agriculture [Suiza]

Herbizideinsatz-Minimierung bei Feldern unter Direktsaat

technologies_1259 - Suiza

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1. Información general

1.2 Detalles de contacto de las personas de referencia e instituciones involucradas en la evaluación y la documentación de la Tecnología

Persona(s) de referencia clave

Especialista MST:
Nombre del proyecto que financió la documentación/ evaluación de la Tecnología (si fuera relevante)
Preventing and Remediating degradation of soils in Europe through Land Care (EU-RECARE )
Nombre de la(s) institución(es) que facilitaron la documentación/ evaluación de la Tecnología (si fuera relevante)
CDE Centre for Development and Environment (CDE Centre for Development and Environment) - Suiza

1.3 Condiciones referidas al uso de datos documentados mediante WOCAT

El compilador y la/s persona(s) de referencia claves aceptan las condiciones acerca del uso de los datos documentados mediante WOCAT:

2. Descripción de la Tecnología MST

2.1 Breve descripción de la Tecnología

Definición de la Tecnología:

Through experience with herbicide application the land user learned that there are possibilities to minimize the amount of herbicide application to fields.

2.2 Descripción detallada de la Tecnología


The land user interviewed has an experience of nearly 30 years with the application of herbicide to his fields. Through this time he learned that there are ways to reduce the amount of herbicide and thereby conserve soil and nature against this aggressive pesticide. There are different factors to consider to reduce the herbicide application such as time of the day to bring out herbicides or time of the year. For example there is less herbicide needed the earlier in the morning it is applied to the field.

Purpose of the Technology: There are two main purposes of the technology. The fist is to protect crops and to not damage them with great amounts of herbicides. Thereby, also environment as a whole and especially waters are protected because there is always a part of herbicides washed out of soils and into waters. The second aim is more economically. As the effectiveness of the application of herbicides is worse in spring than in autumn, it should be prohibited by law to use herbicides in spring. On the other hand, land users should be allowed to use herbicides for a longer time in autumn because crops tend towards dormancy. Thereby, not only the amount of herbicides applied to a field can be reduced but the land user is also saving money.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The establishment and maintenance of the technology requires first of all a great deal of knowledge. To receive the desired target situation there are many points to be discussed of the current situation with herbicide application. One point is the free pass which enables land users with a basic education to practice pest management even if they do not know what a pest management gun is and how it is used. A solution to this problem of lack of knowledge is seen by the land user through the structural change in agriculture. Companies providing spraying services are more efficient and tidy than the land user can be.

Natural / human environment: The technology helps protecting the environment and waters from pollution through washed out herbicides. This must always be kept in mind when discussing about the amount of herbicides. Some land users do not trust a smaller amount of herbicides to be as effective as the standardized one. But this overthinking must now be made because it is until today not sure what side effects herbicides have to the human and natural environment.

2.3 Fotografías de la Tecnología

2.5 País/ región/ lugares donde la Tecnología fue aplicada y que se hallan comprendidos por esta evaluación



Región/ Estado/ Provincia:


Especifique más el lugar :


Especifique la difusión de la Tecnología:
  • distribuida parejamente sobre un área
Si se desconoce el área precisa, indique el área aproximada cubierta:
  • 0.1-1 km2

2.6 Fecha de la implementación

Si no se conoce el año preciso, indique la fecha aproximada:
  • 10-50 años atrás

2.7 Introducción de la Tecnología

Especifique cómo se introdujo la Tecnología:
  • mediante la innovación de usuarios de tierras
Comentarios (tipo de proyecto, etc.):

Society required an overthinking of traditional pest management techniques over the last years. The land user started individually with his tests. But also in politics there were some attempts to reduce herbicides in agriculture. Third, the farmer's association works together with the local government of Bern on solutions for reducing herbicides which could be applied nationwide.

3. Clasificación de la Tecnología MST

3.2 Tipo(s) actuales de uso de la tierra donde se aplica la Tecnología

Tierras cultivadas

Tierras cultivadas

  • Cosecha anual
Número de temporadas de cultivo por año:
  • 2

Longest growing period in days: 120Longest growing period from month to month: May to AugustSecond longest growing period in days: 60Second longest growing period from month to month: August to October


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): The major land use problems are erosion by water through heavy rainfall events and therefore loss of soil. Regarding the technology there is also the problem of the extensive use of herbicides and its inappropriate application. This can lead to damages to the following crop, chemical resistance and pollution of waters.

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): The area is likely to be affected by erosion as the main problem. Therefore, cultivation must be adapted to prevent soil erosion by water. The land user is also convinced of a pollution of waters through different human-induced reasons such as the inappropriate and ineffective use of herbicides.

3.4 Provisión de agua

Provisión de agua para la tierra donde se aplica la Tecnología:
  • mixta de secano – irrigada

3.5 Grupo MST al que pertenece la Tecnología

  • perturbación mínima del suelo
  • manejo integrado de pestes y enfermedades (incl. agricultura orgánica)

3.6 Medidas MST que componen la Tecnología

medidas agronómicas

medidas agronómicas

  • A3: Tratamiento de superficie del suelo
  • A4: Tratamiento de subsuperficie

Main measures: agronomic measures

Type of agronomic measures: retaining more vegetation cover, mulching, mineral (inorganic) fertilizers, zero tillage / no-till, minimum tillage

3.7 Principales tipos de degradación del suelo encarados con la Tecnología

erosión de suelos por agua

erosión de suelos por agua

  • Wt: pérdida de capa arable/ erosión de la superficie
deterioro químico del suelo

deterioro químico del suelo

  • Cp: contaminación del suelo
degradación del agua

degradación del agua

  • Hq: reducción de la calidad de subterráneas

Main type of degradation addressed: Cp: soil pollution, Hp: decline of surface water quality

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion

Main causes of degradation: soil management (Use of herbicides in the past that are forbidden today have polluted soil and the environment substantially.), discharges (point contamination of water) (discharges of herbicides from agricultural fields into water bodies)

Secondary causes of degradation: Heavy / extreme rainfall (intensity/amounts) (not a main cause because the busy season of pesticides is in spring and heavy rainfalls mainly occur in autumn)

3.8 Prevención, reducción o restauración de la degradación del suelo

Especifique la meta de la Tecnología con relación a la degradación de la tierra:
  • prevenir la degradación del suelo

Main goals: prevention of land degradation

4. Especificaciones técnicas, actividades de implementación, insumos y costos

4.1 Dibujo técnico de la Tecnología

Especificaciones técnicas (relacionadas al dibujo técnico):

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: high (Vital role of agricultural advisor, who must be neutral and not a salesman.)

Technical knowledge required for land users: high (The land user always needs to have the best knowledge which must also be up to date. Therefore, he depends on a competent agricultural advisor. The knowledge he gained is transferred to his employees.)

Main technical functions: improvement of surface structure (crusting, sealing), improvement of topsoil structure (compaction), improvement of subsoil structure (hardpan), increase of groundcover

Retaining more vegetation cover
Material/ species: mulch of previous crop remains

Material/ species: previous crop remains

Mineral (inorganic) fertilizers
Material/ species: different types of herbicide

Zero tillage / no-till
Material/ species: machine with pesticide machine
Remarks: technological requirements such as individual nozzle switching, inside cleaning and wash

4.2 Información general sobre el cálculo de insumos y costos

otra / moneda nacional (especifique):

Swiss Franc

Si fuera relevante, indique la tasa de cambio de dólares americanos a la moneda local (ej. 1 U$ = 79.9 Reales Brasileros): 1 U$ =:


4.3 Actividades de establecimiento

Actividad Momento (estación)
1. Establishment of a washing area
2. Buying a special nozzle machine

4.4 Costos e insumos necesarios para el establecimiento

Especifique insumo Unidad Cantidad Costos por unidad Costos totales por insumo % de los costos cubiertos por los usuarios de las tierras
Mano de obra Labour ha 1,0 15,0 15,0 100,0
Equipo Tools ha 1,0 3500,0 3500,0 100,0
Equipo Infrastructure: Washing area ha 1,0 1000,0 1000,0 100,0
Costos totales para establecer la Tecnología 4515,0
Costos totales para establecer la Tecnología en USD 4515,0

Life span of product (washing area): Lifetime

4.5 Actividades de establecimiento/ recurrentes

Actividad Momento/ frequencia
1. begin of herbicide application (not including market gardening) start of vegetation period/ March - end of May
2. after first harvest stubble treatment with total herbicide August/September
3. after second harvest again application of herbicides until 10th of October (end of herbicide application) September/October

4.6 Costos e insumos necesarios para actividades de mantenimiento/ recurrentes (por año)

Especifique insumo Unidad Cantidad Costos por unidad Costos totales por insumo % de los costos cubiertos por los usuarios de las tierras
Mano de obra Labour ha 1,0 90,0 90,0 100,0
Equipo Machine use ha 1,0 90,0 90,0 100,0
Equipo Tools ha 1,0 60,0 60,0 100,0
Fertilizantes y biocidas Biocides ha 1,0 540,0 540,0 100,0
Indique los costos totales para mantenecer la Tecnología 780,0
Costos totales para mantener la Tecnología en USD 780,0

Machinery/ tools: tractor and special nozzle machine

Costs are calculated for a land user applying herbicides on his fields of a size of total 5-15 ha. Maintenance costs are calculated for one year, establishment costs for the implementation of the technology.

4.7 Factores más determinantes que afectan los costos:

Describa los factores más determinantes que afectan los costos:

The area size of the agricultural fields is the most determinate factor affecting the costs. The smaller the application area of herbicides is the higher the costs get. To cut costs a land user needs to have a bigger area to apply herbicides on.

5. Entorno natural y humano

5.1 Clima

Lluvia anual
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Zona agroclimática
  • Sub-húmeda

Thermal climate class: temperate

5.2 Topografía

Pendientes en promedio:
  • plana (0-2 %)
  • ligera (3-5%)
  • moderada (6-10%)
  • ondulada (11-15%)
  • accidentada (16-30%)
  • empinada (31-60%)
  • muy empinada (>60%)
Formaciones telúricas:
  • meseta/ planicies
  • cordilleras
  • laderas montañosas
  • laderas de cerro
  • pies de monte
  • fondo del valle
Zona altitudinal:
  • 0-100 m s.n.m.
  • 101-500 m s.n.m.
  • 501-1,000 m s.n.m
  • 1,001-1,500 m s.n.m
  • 1,501-2,000 m s.n.m
  • 2,001-2,500 m s.n.m
  • 2,501-3,000 m s.n.m
  • 3,001-4,000 m s.n.m
  • > 4,000 m s.n.m
Indique si la Tecnología se aplica específicamente en:
  • no relevante
Comentarios y especificaciones adicionales sobre topografía :

Altitudinal zone: 501-1000 m a.s.l. ( 550-650 m a.s.l. )

5.3 Suelos

Profundidad promedio del suelo:
  • muy superficial (0-20 cm)
  • superficial (21-50 cm)
  • moderadamente profunda (51-80 cm)
  • profunda (81-120 cm)
  • muy profunda (>120 cm)
Textura del suelo (capa arable):
  • mediana (limosa)
  • fina/ pesada (arcilla)
Materia orgánica de capa arable:
  • media (1-3%)
Si se halla disponible, adjunte una descripción completa de los suelos o especifique la información disponible, por ej., tipo de suelo, pH/ acidez de suelo, capacidad de intercambio catiónico, nitrógeno, salinidad, etc. :

Soil texture is medium (sandy loam, good for conservational agriculture and the application of herbicides) to fine (loamy clay poses problems for no-till farming)
Soil fertility is ver high-high
Soil drainage/infiltration is good (frost and floods as only problems for infiltration in this area but not frequently)
Soil water storage capacity is high

5.4 Disponibilidad y calidad de agua

Agua subterránea:

5-50 m

Disponibilidad de aguas superficiales:


Calidad de agua (sin tratar):

agua potable de buena calidad

5.5 Biodiversidad

Diversidad de especies:
  • elevada

5.6 Las características de los usuarios de la tierra que aplican la Tecnología

Orientación del mercado del sistema de producción:
  • comercial/ mercado
Ingresos no agrarios:
  • 10-50% de todo el ingreso
Nivel relativo de riqueza:
  • rico
Individuos o grupos:
  • individual/ doméstico
Nivel de mecanización:
  • mecanizado/motorizado
  • hombres
Indique otras características relevantes de los usuarios de las tierras:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Population density: 100-200 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 1% - 2%

5.7 Área promedio de la tierra usada por usuarios de tierra que aplican la Tecnología

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
¿Esto se considera de pequeña, mediana o gran escala (refiriéndose al contexto local)?
  • escala mediana

Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology: 5-15 ha, 15-50 ha, 50-100 ha

5.8 Tenencia de tierra, uso de tierra y derechos de uso de agua

Tenencia de tierra:
  • individual, con título
Derechos de uso de tierra:
  • individual
  • local government
Derechos de uso de agua:
  • comunitarios (organizado)
  • local government

5.9 Acceso a servicios e infraestructura

  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
asistencia técnica:
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
empleo (ej. fuera de la granja):
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
caminos y transporte:
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
agua potable y saneamiento:
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno
servicios financieros:
  • pobre
  • moderado
  • bueno

6. Impactos y comentarios para concluir

6.1 Impactos in situ demostrados por la Tecnología

Impactos socioeconómicos


producción de cultivo

Comentarios/ especifique:

Because of elimination of undesired crops. However risk that herbicide affects crop production itself

riesgo de fracaso de producción

Ingreso y costos

ingreso agrario

Comentarios/ especifique:

Because of increased crop yield

Impactos socioculturales

mitigación de conflicto


Improved livelihoods and human well-being

Comentarios/ especifique:

The fact that the consequences of herbicides e.g. glyphosate for human health are not yet known disturbs the public. Also land users do not agree on the benefit or damage to natural environment because of herbicides. Therefore, minimizing the amount of herbicides applied as much as possible is an important step. An overthinking of the current situation but also much more knowledge and research on this topic must be provided in order to improve livelihoods and human well-being even more.

Impactos ecológicos

Ciclo de agua/ escurrimiento de sedimento

calidad de agua

Comentarios/ especifique:

Because of water pollution of washed out herbicides


Comentarios/ especifique:

Especially if no-tillage is practiced


cubierta del suelo

Comentarios/ especifique:

Especially if no-tillage is practised

pérdida de suelo


encostramiento/ sellado de suelo


compactación de suelo


materia orgánica debajo del suelo C

Biodiversidad: vegetación, animales

especies invasoras extrañas

Comentarios/ especifique:

Because of the herbicide

Otros impactos ecológicos

Biodiversity / crop diversity


6.3 Exposición y sensibilidad de la Tecnología al cambio climático gradual y a extremos relacionados al clima/ desastres (desde la percepción de los usuarios de tierras)


The technology to minimize the amount of herbicides applied to agricultural fields must be understood as a sort of overthinking effect which does not consist of precautionary methods. Therefore this question can not be answered.

6.4 Análisis costo-beneficio

¿Cómo se comparan los beneficios con los costos de establecimiento (desde la perspectiva de los usuarios de tierra)?
Ingresos a corto plazo:

neutral/ balanceado

Ingresos a largo plazo:


¿Cómo se comparan los beneficios con los costos de mantenimiento/ recurrentes (desde la perspectiva de los usuarios de tierra)?
Ingresos a corto plazo:


Ingresos a largo plazo:

muy positivo


If agriculture wants to do fully without application of herbicides, changes in the payment and costs of labour must be lowered significantly. As labour is more and more replaced by machines, human labour is still too high when it comes to the costs.

6.5 Adopción de la Tecnología


75% of land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

Comments on acceptance with external material support: 75% of land user families in the region of Bern applied the SLM Technology because they saw the positive economical effect that minimization of herbicides gave them.

There is a strong trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: There is also a trend against the adoption of the technology: current young land users need a too low profile of qualification for economical subsidies. This can lead to "bad land users" in the future. The profile of qualification should be lifted up for getting subsidies and thereby the appropriate use of subsidies would be learned.

6.7 Fuerzas/ ventajas/ oportunidades de la Tecnología

Fuerzas/ ventajas/ oportunidades desde la perspectiva del usuario de la tierra
The application of herbicide ensures the crop production against alien crops. Therefore, to ensure this production the right application of herbicide is needed. Minimal amounts can lead to exact the same output of production.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? To ensure the crop production or even increase it through elimination of alien crops the right application of herbicide is needed.
Once the land user has the knowledge he needs to minimize the amount of herbicide it is simple to apply the technology on agricultural fields. Using this knowledge not only safes time for the land user but also money. There can be saved up to 50.-$/ha for herbicide.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? The spreading of knowledge on amounts of herbicide and the right application is highly important for the success of the technology. This must be guaranteed by government, local institutions or agricultural advisors and research.
Fuerzas/ ventajas/ oportunidades desde la perspectiva del compilador o de otra persona de referencia clave
The minimization of herbicides is important because it provides a solution to the last main problem in conservation agriculture, especially no-tillage. If there is no or less skepticism against the application of glyphosate or other herbicides the implementation of no-tillage in agriculture could be enhanced even more.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? It is important to minimize amounts of herbicides even further and to look for probable alternatives to these pesticides. This would lead to a far more sustainable land management in Swiss agriculture and to more land users adopting no-tillage.

6.8 Debilidades/ desventajas/ riesgos de la Tecnología y formas de sobreponerse a ellos

Debilidades/ desventajas/ riesgos desde la perspectiva del usuario de la tierra ¿Cómo sobreponerse a ellas?
The acceptance of the system of herbicides is one great problem of the technology. Even after reducing the amounts of herbicides, there will be critical voices on the application of herbicides. Acceptance in public should be received for this technology. However, the technology itself provides no solution to this problem.
Debilidades/ desventajas/ riesgos desde la perspectiva del compilador o de otra persona de referencia clave ¿Cómo sobreponerse a ellas?
The aim of reducing the application of herbicides is formulated quickly. However, the transfer of knowledge needed and its application into the daily program of a land user is very difficult. Furthermore, the knowledge provided by agricultural schools is not yet up to date. The knowledge provided for land users, agricultural advisors and even students and teachers must be up to date in order to provide the latest results from research and to help implementing the technology of reducing herbicides even further among swiss land users.

7. Referencias y vínculos

7.1 Métodos/ fuentes de información

Vínculos y módulos

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