Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Switzerland

Dairy farms: why does Switzerland spend more on production than Norway?

Dairy production in Switzerland and Norway has a lot in common: a high price- and wage environment, difficult natural conditions and similar farm structures. A cost comparison using data from the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) shows that Swiss farms have higher production costs, however. Analysis of the cost positions pinpoints the differences mainly in the structural costs sphere. Higher construction costs can be explained by higher building material prices, greater building volumes, lower benefit payments and more-frequent building alterations. Higher machinery and labour costs are indirectly associated with the higher concentrate prices and the markedly lower use of concentrates on Swiss farms. To ensure similarly high milk yields, Swiss farms spend a comparatively high amount on roughage production, leading to higher labour, machinery and building costs. As far as cost-reduction efforts are concerned, forage conservation, i.e. limiting forage use to essential levels, is most likely to produce an impact

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