Milk output per hectare of forage surface area is a means of measuring the efficiency of dairy production. The aim of this study is to identify which factors are decisive in the variation of surface-area productivity practised in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. The analysis is based on a survey of 266 dairy farms which was conducted during the period 2002–2009. Altitude is, as expected, a significant structural factor, constraining milk output per hectare because of lower grassland yield and quality. Lowland farms which use maize silage and moderate amounts of concentrate are, on average, more efficient. Some of the grass-based farms achieve similar levels of efficiency, but many still have room for improvement. Although high efficiency is attainable with individually-medium-yielding cows, a positive correlation was observed between milk output per hectare and cows’ forage-based milk yield. In conclusion, it appears that irrespective of local pedoclimatic factors and type of system, surface-area productivity is highly dependent on farmers’ ability to optimise their own production system.
Which stakeholders in the dairy sector have an influence on the productive life of dairy cows? Research results from FiBL and Agroscope suggest that broad-based cooperation is needed to create structures for a longer productive life.
Agriculture is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions. Agroscope showed that for dairy cattle housing, feed composition plays a role in these emissions as well as wind and temperature.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Eggerschwiler L., Borda-Molina D., Seifert J., Camarinha-Silva A., Schrade S., Zähner M., Zeyer K., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
Tannin-containing feedstuffs like Acacia mearnsii and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) have a measurable impact in reducing methane emissions from dairy cows. However, since these feedstuffs in some cases lead to productivity losses, careful consideration must be given to their use.