To promote efficient grassland utilisation and reduce resource use, it is necessary to minimize the amount of concentrates fed to ruminants. Research findings and practical knowledge are available concerning dairy cow management without concentrates, but there is not much literature on rearing calves without concentrates. Textbooks on animal feeding usually recommend calf rearing with concentrates. In this project, we compared two groups of 7 calves of the same breed and age in the same barn: animals in group 1 received 141 kg of concentrates and 500 kg of milk over 5 months. Animals in group 2 received 1100 kg milk over 5 months and no concentrates. All animals received hay, water, and mineral salt ad lib. Calves did not differ in terms of health, weight gain, periods of lying or walking, roughage feeding or drinking behaviour, frequency of agonistic behaviour, vocalisation, and licking themselves. However, in group 1, there were more events of cross sucking and object sucking. Rumen development was the same in two slaughtered calves, one from each group. Calf rearing without concentrates seems to bear no risk concerning animal development and health and seems to reduce behavioural disorders, but it is more expensive.
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.