Designing and supporting change processes in agriculture is a challenge for management, science and advisory services. In regions where large predators were eradicated and, thanks to stricter European protective provisions, make a comeback, livestock owners are faced with major changes. The ”Summer grazing of sheep in the canton of Valais“ project shows how extension and knowledge transfer can create long-term processes in a politically polarised environment. The national framework is formed by wolf-management and agricultural policy, which influence the practice of small-livestock farming. A look at developments since 2003 confirms the national trend towards better control of the animals in summer grazing through shepherding and rotational grazing fields. The survey conducted in the context of the inspection of 155 mountain sheep pastures in the canton of Valais shows that in addition to political and socio-economic factors, psychological and ecological aspects should also be taken into account. The results of the Valais mountain sheep-pasture planning and developments in flock protection demonstrate that the combination of extension and sound planning principles represent a confidence-building basis for developing and implementing both individual and collective strategies for dealing with the presence of wolves.
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.
Herholz C., Siegwart J., Bruckmaier R.M., Rytz E., Lamon I., Muhr M. und Stirnimann R.
In both sport and alternative agriculture, horses are once again being used as draught animals. Efficient power transmission plays an important role in the wellbeing of draught horses.