Research Station Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil, CH-1260-Nyon 1

Forage potential of the Jura pastures

The next land reform will force farmers to maximize the use of local feed resources. In the Jura, the heterogeneity of natural conditions drives to a variety of plant associations with specific production potential, often difficult to assess. Methods have been tested in plains and mountain regions to learn more about yield variability of the pastures. At the Jura foot and on its southern slope, droughts have greatly slowed the growth of grass in summer (2003) and spring (2011), causing decreases in annual yield of 40 %. The higher altitude and north exposure mitigate this negative effect, hence the interest in summering. Grass height measurements give an objective picture of the practices and consequences of a constant stocking rate on summer pastures. Small plots harvested and weighed allow a good assessment of the DM-yield and of the potential stocking rate. However, the link between botanical composition, respectively pastoral value, and yield has not been explicitly demonstrated by means of a wide range of vegetation observed on wooded pastures.

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