In the alpine summer-grazing area, grazing intensity is one of the most important management variables controlling vegetation and ecosystem services. In spite of this, grazing intensity is difficult to quantify on large, heterogeneous alpine pastures. For this reason, local grazing intensity on two alpine summer dairy farms in the canton of Obwalden and in the Lower Engadine, Switzerland, were quantified by means of GPS tracking. The two farms differed in terms of environmental conditions and grazing management. Local grazing intensity on both farms was strongly determined by natural conditions such as slope of the terrain, forage quality, and distance to sheds and water sources. An effect of grazing management on local grazing intensity was only detectable on the farm where strict rotational grazing is practised. On this farm, a negative correlation was also found between grazing intensity and plant species richness. By contrast, ecosystem services on the summergrazing farm with large pasture plots and free-range grazing were largely determined by environmental conditions and pasture management. This shows that strict grazing management is necessary in order to control the provision of ecosystem services on summer-grazing pastures via grazing intensity.
Stable climate has an important impact on the respiratory health of horses. In a study on indoor climate quality, three different ventilation systems were tested.
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.