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Animal production

Pacheco A. J., Pittet A., Ampuero Kragten S., Arrigo Y.

In vivo and in vitro organic matter digestibility determined with the Ankom DaisyII Incubator

A comparison of organic matter digestibility (OMd) determined in vivo and in vitro was conducted with samples of grass, grass silage, hay, and maize silage (n = 20 per feed) from the Agroscope Posieux collection. The in vitro method was carried out with the Ankom «DaisyII» Incubator (Ankom Technology Corp., Fairport, NY, USA). The coefficients…
Plant production

Meisser M., Vitra A., Stévenin L., Mosimann E., Mariotte P., Buttler A.

Impact of drought on the functioning of grassland systems

A rainfall manipulation experiment was conducted over a two-year period on two semi-natural grassland sites, in order to determine the effects of drought on both forage production (dry matter and nutritive value) and plant-soil relationships. Water stress simulations were performed with the aid of rainout shelters. Among the nutritional parameters, lignocellulose content (ADF) and water-soluble…

Jarosch K., Richner W., Mayer J.

Nitrogen-use efficiency of biogas digestate

The digestion of farmyard manure and other organic materials has become increasingly important in recent years. The digestion process produces biogas (methane), and increases the proportion of easily available nitrogen compounds in the digestate produced. To date, there has been little research on the fertiliser value of digested farmyard manure that is of relevance to…

Prasuhn V., Doppler T., Spycher S., Stamm Ch.

Reducing PPP inputs due to erosion and runoff

Many Swiss streams exhibit high levels of plant-protection product (PPP) inputs, with erosion and runoff being important entry paths. This article furnishes an overview of measures for reducing PPP inputs into bodies of water from arable land due to erosion, runoff and drainage, and provides an expert-based qualitative evaluation of these measures in terms of…

Blanckenhorn W.U., Jochmann R., Walter Th.

Biodiversity of cow-dung insects and other pasture dwellers not correlated

The biodiversity of agricultural land is usually measured via indicator species that can be recorded time- and cost-efficiently. Behind this approach lies the seldom-questioned assumption that these groups of organisms are good at reflecting the overall species diversity of a habitat. We tested this assumption by comparing the diversity of cow-dung insects with that of…
Plant production

Bossuyt N., Wirthner J., Dussoulier C., Frund D., Meisser M., Ampuero Kragten S., Eric Mosimann M.

When must intensive grassland be mown?

The optimum harvest date in spring is a problem that divides producers. Is it better to focus on forage quality with an early cut, or quantity with a later harvest? Trials were carried out on mown grasslands from 2014 to 2016 as part of the «Progrès-herbe» [= «Progress Grass»] and «Preparing Forage Production for Climate…

Heine D., Rauch M., Ramseier H., Müller S., Schmid A., Kopf-Bolanz K., Eugster E.

Vegetable protein as an alternative to meat: an assessment for Switzerland

If self-sufficiency in vegetable protein for the human diet is to be increased, the issue should be considered as comprehensively as possible. This study presents a systemic analysis of the situation in Switzerland, showing which protein-rich crops are most suited to sustainable and organic farming, highlighting their nutritional potential, and indicating the necessary steps for…
Animal production

Frutschi Mascher V., Altermath J., Notz Ch.

Reduction of antibiotic use and increase in feeding autonomy in milk production

In dairy farming, the use of antibiotics and the feeding with concentrates are challenged by public opinion and by economic considerations. Antibiotics are used to preserve the health of cattle and the quality of milk, however their use is expensive and can result in antibiotic resistances in human and animal pathogens. It is now urgent…
Plant production

Vuffray Z., Deléglise C., Schori F., Glauser W., Calanca P., Meisser M., Frund D., Stévenin L., Bittar A., Mosimann E.

Typology of pasture production

When planning stocking density on pasture, the preliminary calculation of the surface-area requirement is based on an estimate of the forage production potential. Since the year 2000, grass growth has been measured in various intensively-to-semi-intensively-managed grasslands in the southwest of Switzerland. The dynamism and amplitude over the course of the year of 226 growth curves…
Plant production

Frick R., Sutter D., Hirschi H.

Meadow foxtail: a new recommended variety for Swiss forage production

From 2014 through 2016, the Agroscope research stations tested three varieties of meadow foxtail in comparative variety trials at six locations. The parameters assessed were forage yield, competitive ability, vigour, juvenile development, resistance to diseases, digestibility, adaptation to higher altitudes and persistence. For each variety, an index value based on measurements and observations of yield…

Reissig L.

Frequency of burnout in the swiss farming sector

Burnout among farmers is an increasingly frequent topic of discussion in the Swiss agricultural press, although there have been no empirical studies on the phenomenon to date. In 2016, 4000 Swiss Farmers were invited to complete a questionnaire, the aim of which was to investigate the frequency and causes of burnout in the Swiss farming…
Animal production

Scheurer A., Locher E., Herholz C., Vervuert I.

Effect of complementary feeds on the chewing activity of horses

Originally a grassland animal, horses are adapted to a continuous intake of small amounts of feed. Today, horses are primarily kept in box-housing systems and feed intake duration has gained importance. In this study, four complementary feeds with crude fiber content of 10%, 12%, 14.5% and 18% and differently processed (muesli, structured muesli or pellet)…
Animal production

Mettler D., Hilfiker D.

”Change management” using the example of sheep summer grazing and the return of the wolf

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…
Agricultural economics

Gazzarin Ch., Schmid D.

Profitability of different production orientations in the mountain region

The profitability of mountain agriculture is of particular interest, since the multifunctional services rendered at higher effort are recompensed with a comparatively low income, despite the fact that substantial direct payments are disbursed. Based on reference farms from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (2013–2014), ten farms are categorised and the cost-efficiency of the various types…
Animal production

Wyss U., Pradervand N.

Influence of storage period on the quality of a maize silage

On farms, sometimes maize is ensiled after harvest and the removal (feed-out) and feeding of the maize silage begun immediately. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of this approach on fermentation quality, microbiological quality and aerobic stability. For this, six 700-litre containers were filled with maize having an average dry-matter content of 37…

Prasuhn V., Möhring A., Bystricky M., Nemecek T., Gaillard G.

Economic and ecological assessment of scenarios for nutrient reduction in water bodies

Four different scenarios for the reduction of diffuse nutrient inputs from agriculture to water bodies in Switzerland were analysed for the period 2010 to 2025 in a multidisciplinary project. The agricultural sector model SWISSland was used to examine the economic and structural effects, and the influence on the direct payments budget and sectoral income, following…

Sutter L., Herzog F., Dietemann V., Charrière J.-D., Albrecht M.

Demand, supply and value of insect pollination for the swiss agricultural production

For some field crops, and especially fruits and berries, harvested yield quantity and quality are dependent on pollination by insects. According to global estimates, honeybees and wild bees contribute equally to this ecosystem service, although there are no systematic studies for Switzerland. Now, for the first time, and with the help of data on the…

Seitz B., Carrard E., Burgos St., Tatti D., Herzog F., Jäger M., Sereke F.

Increased SOM stocks in a seven-year-old agroforestry system in central Switzerland

Modern agroforestry systems have the potential to combine productive agriculture with increased environmental benefits. Because these systems have only recently been tested by a few farmers in Switzerland, there is hardly any data available on the environmental impacts of modern agroforestry systems. In this study, we examined the changes in soil organic matter (SOM) stocks…
Plant production

Zellweger H., Feichtinger G., Pérez E., Walter A., Hund A.

Weed control in buckwheat: comparison of five selected herbicides

Buckwheat is an orphan crop in Switzerland which has lately been gaining attention due to its gluten-free flour and the high biological value of its protein. In order to establish the conditions for conventional production of buckwheat, two pre-emergence and three post-emergence herbicides were tested as to their suitability for controlling weeds in this crop.…
Plant production

Levy L., Courvoisier N., Rechsteiner S., Herrera J., Brabant C., Hund A., Weissflog Th., Dierauer H., Pellet D.

Winter wheat: a review of 15 years of variety research on extensively managed land

For a new variety of wheat to be marketable in Switzerland or abroad, it must go through a series of tests to ensure its superiority to already-cultivated varieties in terms of grain yield, quality, and resistance to disease. In this process, which is termed a «variety testing», the «best of the best» is chosen. That…
Plant production

Suter D., Hirschi H., Frick R.

Perennial ryegrass: new varieties recommended for Swiss ley farming

From 2014 to 2016, Agroscope carried out variety trials with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Yield, vigour, juvenile development, competitive ability, persistence, resistance to leaf diseases and bacterial wilt, winter-hardiness, feed digestibility and suitability for cultivation at higher altitudes were all evaluated. For the first time, ploidy was taken into account for the assessment. Six new…

Flückiger S., Brill F.

Method for improving export opportunities for Swiss foods

The agriculture and food sector is faced with major challenges. The increasing saturation of domestic markets means that the sales potential for Swiss foodstuffs lies outside of the country. Consequently, the Swiss agricultural sector is increasingly reliant on the export-oriented food industry and the support of export promotion. Working together with the Federal Office for…
Animal production

Pfammatter M., Huwiler S., Kägi F., Kopp Ch., Krüger K., Herholz C.

Performance and stress level in mules during a five days Gotthard trek

In the summer of 2016, three pack mules, each carrying a load weighing 80kg, accompanied a 94.46km trek across the Gotthard Pass with a total altitude difference of 3,364m. The mules’ performances were evaluated by measuring vital recovery parameters such as heart- and respiratory rates and body temperature, and by continuous heartrate monitoring during the…
Animal production

Dufey P.-A., Silacci P., Dougoud B., Biolley C., Messadene J.

Validation of the standards used for the instrumental measurement of beef tenderness

The tenderness of meat is determined instrumentally by measuring Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF). This measurement is performed according to different standards established outside of Switzerland. The aim of the present study was twofold: firstly, to check whether the perception of Swiss consumers vis-à-vis tenderness matched the WBSF categories commonly used; secondly, to define satisfaction categories…
Animal production

Dufey P.-A., Dougoud B., Silacci P.

Surveys on the tenderness of Swiss beef: 2009 and 2014

The tenderness of beef in nine different muscles sold as steaks was investigated in two studies (2009 and 2014) by measuring shear force according to Warner-Bratzler (WBSF).The meat in each survey originated from 39 artisanal butcher shops (ABs) or hyper-/supermarkets butcher shop (HSMs) in 14 different Swiss cities. Overall, the 466 steaks examined had average…

Chevillat V., Stöckli S., Birrer S., Jenny M., Graf R., Pfiffner L., Zellweger-Fischer J.

Agricultural extension gives rise to greater proportions of biodiversity priority areas of higher quality

The shortage of high-quality Biodiversity Priority Areas (BPAs) is one reason for the ongoing decline in biodiversity in the cultural landscape. Many farm holdings have the potential to increase the quality of their BPAs. One approach to leveraging this potential is whole-farm extension, which takes into account both the ecological and economic parameters of the…

Krauss M., Perrochet F., Lori M., Ruser R., Müller T., Zikeli S., Gruber S., Claupein W., Mäder P., Gattinger A.

Reduced tillage in organic farming – climate aspects

The conversion from ploughing to reduced tillage is discussed in the context of increased humus accumulation as an opportunity to mitigate climate change. To date, little attention has been paid to the question whether reduced tillage systems in organic farming result in increased nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Thus, as part of FiBL’s long-term tillage trial…
Animal production

Wyss U., Girard M., Grosse Brinkhaus A., Dohme-Meier F.

Protein fractions in three legume species

During the forage wilting and ensiling process, a protein degradation takes place that affects the different protein fractions. In addition to the silage conditions, secondary plant ingredients also affect the different protein fractions. In an experiment, the influence of the wilting and ensiling process on the protein fractions of the first and third cuts of…