The increasing demand of safe and healthy animal products coupled with a decreasing availability of resources and ecological and economic pressures is considered a major challenge for animal production in the future. Research in animal breeding and genetics is therefore warranted in Switzerland. The selective mating of sires and dams represents a crucial step at the beginning of the production chain. Technical advances in genome analysis and data processing facilitate the direct evaluation of livestock animals based on marker genes. Genetic insights promote our knowledge on the biology of animals and humans, which is e.g. important for the food industry. The technical advances have important consequences: Among other considerations it is important to preserve the genetic diversity of livestock breeds for sustainable animal production (breeding gain, inbreeding, disease resistance, hereditary diseases, performance, fertility, adaptability). In this report, current examples from animal breeding research in Switzerland are presented.
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.