The main methods available for feeding fattening calves are „bucket drinkers“ and „automatic feeders“. Both feeding methods were compared within the scope of two trials at the Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production of Posieux (RAP). A study was carried out to determine the impact of both feeding methods on fodder consumption, fattening yields, economic efficiency and of labour economy. The trials were conducted in two groups each comprising respectively 17 (1st trial) and 18 animals (2nd trial). In the first trial, a standard ration of identical quality and quantity consisting of full fat milk and a milk replacer was given by bucket drinker (twice daily) and by automatic feeder (at least four rations daily). In the second trial, under the same conditions as in the first trial, the animals were provided with full fat milk ad libitum together with a supplementary feed of minerals and vitamins. In addition rolled barley was offered also ad libitum. The average daily feed consumption of the animals fed by bucket drinker was significantly higher than the automatic feeder variant. In the groups with the bucket drinker variant, the daily weight increase was correspondingly higher and the fattening period was considerably reduced. The advantages of the bucket drinker in respect of better fattening yields gave a higher contribution margin per kg milk. Even if manual feeding by bucket drinker means a higher working time requirement per calf per fattening day, the overall working time requirement per calf per fattening cycle as well as per fattening place is lower than with automatic feeding.
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.
Herholz C., Siegwart J., Bruckmaier R.M., Rytz E., Lamon I., Muhr M. und Stirnimann R.
In both sport and alternative agriculture, horses are once again being used as draught animals. Efficient power transmission plays an important role in the wellbeing of draught horses.