Until now, the milk yield of dairy cows has steadily been increasing. Consequently, their nutritional requirements are also increasing. This requires a higher proportion of concentrates in their ration. It is a trend which leads to intensive production systems with high needs for energy and nitrogen. This may not be brought in line with an objective of sustainable development. Although most often bred in intensive systems, high producing dairy cows are well able to adapt to sustainable systems which are based on a substantial utilisation of forage. Because of their large rumen, dairy cows have a high intake capacity for forage. A marked ability to mobilise body reserves at the onset of lactation enables them to cover the part of their requirements not met by the ration. There are limits to this capacity to mobilise reserves which define the cow’s potential of milk production. Under best conditions in Switzerland, this potential for multiparous cows lies between 8’000 and 10’000 kg per lactation, with peak daily production between 40 and 50 kg. As high producing
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.