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.
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.