From 2014 to 2016, the Hohenrain II Project compared three different grassland-based milk production systems with either full grazing, or with partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh herbage and reduced or increased concentrate supplementation. From 2013 to 2015, the nutrient and mineral content of the conserved forage (hay, grass silage and artificially dried herbage) from 38 pilot farms spread across three Swiss regions were investigated. In addition, crude protein fractions of the silage and hay were determined for the year 2015. In the case of hay, average contents for the pilot farms corresponded to the values published annually in the forage survey. For the silages, the NEL content of the roughage from the pilot farms in particular was slightly lower in comparison to the forage survey. Year or region only influenced content in the case of certain nutrients. No differences were found for the nutritional values. Some of the artificially-dried herbage samples contained very high levels of ash, and thus low NEL levels. In terms of the crude protein fractions, differences were found between the hay and silage samples, with the fraction A in particular – the non-protein nitrogen fraction – being higher in the silage than in the hay.
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.