Swiss Federal Research Station for Agricultural Economics and Engineering, Tänikon

Farm growth in hill regions: reorganising the hay harvest

On a well-equipped upland farm the daily indoor tasks hardly differ from those of a lowland farm on which beef cattle are reared. From this point of view it would easily be possible for a two-generation hill farming family to keep 25 dairy cattle together with the same number of rearing beef cattle and starter calves. To do thi there would be no need to dispense with any secondary occupation in winter. Only during the three months of the hay harvest would their own labour capacity be inadequate within this short space of time to provide enough fodder for the long winter. In view of reasonable farm growth with relatively high labour productivity, there is therefore a demand for new strategies to break the excessive work peaks in upland haymaking and to achieve a more uniform spread of work throughout the year. There follows a discussion of possible approaches such as extending the harvest period, making increased use of short periods of fine weather thanks to silage making and using contractors to gather in silage and field-dried hay.

To the archive