This study addresses the influence of technological progress on the annual working hours of Swiss farmers in the years 2003 and 2012. The analysis of standard labour contracts for agricultural employees in Switzerland as well as a study of the literature revealed that the weekly working time for agricultural activities in most countries comes to over 48 hours. In addition, the working-time requirement was modelled on the basis of accounting data from 65 arable and 236 dairy farms. The data were used to calculate average farms, after which the ART Work Budget Software (Agroscope, Ettenhausen) was used for the modelling. Overall, it was noted that technological progress is definitely implemented on the farms, but that the resulting working-time reduction is being used either to farm more land or manage larger livestock numbers. In conclusion savings in working time have been offset by expansion, and working hours per person and year have tended to remain stable.
Effect of technological progress on working time in agriculture