Preservatives on the basis of propionic acid help to stabilise not perfectly dry hay. These past years, the interest in these types of preservatives has been growing mostly due to the increasing use of big balers. While harvesting has become more efficient, the conservation turns out to be more delicate, particularly in the case of roughage harvested with an insufficient dry matter content (DM < 85 %).The Swiss Federal Research Station of Posieux (RAP) has investigated under field conditions the microbiological quality and nutritive value of second-cut hay, which was pressed to round bales on attaining a dry matter content of 76 % and which was treated with a preservative. The two-factorial design comprised preservative dosage and baler type. Big balers with a constant press chamber proved to be better suited than those with a variable press chamber. The former produce bales with a relatively soft core which facilitates the elimination of excess moisture. Even though the preservative has limited the raise in temperature, its fungi-static effect was unsatisfactory in certain cases. Some treated bales presented a high degree of mould infection. The only distinct difference in nutrient contents between treated and untreated bales concerned sugar. The significantly lower sugar contents of untreated bales reflect microbial growth and activity. With respect to protein value, this study has confirmed that the heating-up of forage causes a noticeably reduced rumen degradability of crude protein.
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.