On a group of 95 heifers of the Fleckvieh / Red Holstein and Brown Swiss breeds, growth, fertility and first lactation culling decisions werde studied. Calf rearing, feeding and housing were according to current practice in Switzerland. The heifers were first bred relatively late, at 20,3 months average. When subdivided by calving age, the growth pattern shows that early inseminated animals are able to catch up on a weight difference during gestation and also during first lactation. Fertility results at first insemination were good, but those in first lactation were below average, but at both there is no evidence of any influence of rearing intensity. Culling decisions during first lactation mainly reflect selection made at that moment: the majority of culls is determined by insatisfactory performance.
Stable climate has an important impact on the respiratory health of horses. In a study on indoor climate quality, three different ventilation systems were tested.
Although milk-production oriented (MPO) cow breeds have also become established in the mountain region, farms with the dual-purpose ‘Original Simmental’ breed are proving to be economically viable, with lower costs and higher direct payments making up for lower revenues from milk.
High milk yields before drying-off increase the risk of udder infections during the dry period. An online survey highlights what drying-off methods are currently used and how farmers rate the ‘incomplete milking’ approach for reducing milk yield.