Small production facilities and a high-cost environment continue to pile pressure on Swiss dairy farms. The aim of this study was to analyse the production costs (full costs) and earned income of 562 Swiss dairy farms in the valley zone (VZ), hill region (HR) and mountain region (MR) for the years 2011 to 2015. The impact of marketed milk quantity on production costs and on profit or loss was modelled by fitting a loess curve of the VZ farms. In addition, multiple regression was used to test the influence of different factors on earned income. On average, the VZ, HR and MR had net production costs per kg marketed milk of CHF 0.98, 1.19 and 1.66 respectively. Dairy farms in the VZ, HR and MR achieved average earned incomes per working hour of CHF 16.8, 15.3 and 12.0, respectively. Agricultural income from dairy farming was 9 % lower in the HR and 22 % lower in the MR than in the VR. In the VZ, full-grazing farms with seasonal calving had production costs of CHF 0.89 per kg marketed milk and an earned income per working hour of CHF 30.2. The agricultural income achieved by full-grazing dairy farms was 63 % higher than average income in the VZ. An increase in marketed quantity of milk to 250 t per year caused a significant decrease in production costs and losses, as well as increasing profits accordingly. Milk price, marketed quantity of milk and share in pasture had a significant impact on earned income. The full-grazing strategy generated an above-average income. For this strategy, pasturable land that is sufficiently close to the dairy farms is needed.
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.