Like many other local breeds of European origin, the Franches-Montagnes (FM) must fight against a fall in population and number of births, as well as a lack of profitability at the production level. As part of preparing a strategy report for preserving the FM breed, Agroscope Swiss National Stud Farm SNSF investigated the market compliance of the FM horse by conducting a survey of horse owners and interviewing experts in the sector. The results allow us to conclude that for a majority of owners taking part in the survey, the crucial characteristics when purchasing a horse overlap with the appreciation of the qualities of the FM and the general perception about this horse. The FM therefore possesses qualities that are in principle in demand on the leisure-horse market. The following qualities were noted: a good temperament, versatility, good health, hardiness and good feed utilization. By contrast, the FM brand image has fewer positive connotations with non-owners than with FM owners. The results of both the survey and the expert interviews demonstrate the need to improve FM marketing strategies and image in order to increase sales of FM horses and thus promote long-term growth in the number of births.
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.