As part of the 2014-2017 agricultural policy, the Swiss Federal Council is proposing a contribution for grasslandbased milk and meat production in the form of the socalled «production-system contributions». With a view to the structuring of this new instrument and its future evaluation, the current situation as regards the feeding of ruminants in Switzerland is of interest. With the help of key bookkeeping figures from Agroscope’s Farm Accountancy Data Network, we are investigating the composition of the feed ration of Swiss dairy farms. The proportion of feed from grassland is lower for mixed farms than for the specialised commercial dairy farms. Organic farms, farms with a lower milk yield and farms in higher-altitude zones have a higher percentage of grass in their rations. All in all, the composition of the feed varies significantly from one farm to another, and a majority of the farms possess the necessary conditions for satisfying the requirements of the new programme for grassland-based milk and meat production.
Livestock can convert grassland and by-products into valuable food. But how many animals would Switzerland need if arable land were primarily used for food production instead of animal feed?
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.