The purpose of this part of the PASTO project was to develop at farm level an extensive production system fulfilling a dual function – beef production and maintenance of the mountain landscape – and to compare it to a conventional system. A herd of Hérens suckler cows was exclusively kept under mountain conditions on a base farm in the Jura chain and on bushy alpine pastures in Central Valais during summering. With respect to performance, the results show that combining meat production in mountain areas with maintenance of the landscape is possible. However, the production system must be well managed in order to reach a feeding intensity level that is required to obtain the desired carcass quality, particularly the finishing degree, and also to maintain a sufficient body condition of the suckler cows. At the economical level, this dual purpose production system is profitable as long as the feeding costs are maintained under control.
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.