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Agricultural economics

Gazzarin Ch., Haas Th., Hofstetter P., Höltschi M.

Milk production: fresh grass with low concentrates pays off

Many Swiss dairy farmers use variable proportions of fresh grass (forage or grazing) and supplementary feed in their production. Which characteristics are economically successful in these fresh grass systems? This question was addressed in the project «Optimisation of grassland- based milk production systems based on forage (Hohenrain II)» conducted on 36 pilot farms over three…
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…
Agricultural economics

Eiselen B., Pidoux M.

Future strategies for a dynamic agriculture in French-speaking Switzerland

Agriculture in Western Switzerland is characterised by its broad diversity. For the purposes of this study, Western Switzerland comprises the cantons in which French is spoken (Vaud, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Valais, Fribourg, Jura) and the Bernese Jura region. The aim is to develop global future strategies for this agriculture. In a participatory process with the actors…
Agricultural economics

Stolz H., Blattert S., Rebholz Th., Stolze M.

Swiss organic barometer: determinants of organic food buying behaviour

Purchasing decisions have a decisive influence on the demand for organic food. In November 2015, the «Biobarometer Schweiz» study (organic barometer Switzerland) surveyed consumers’ purchasing behaviour, using a standardized questionnaire. The aim of the survey was to investigate the factors determining organic food buying behaviour and to determine which aspects are relevant in consumer communication.…
Agricultural economics

Meier B., von Grünigen S.

Participation in eco-programmes has no clear-cut influence on full-cost coverage

in ecological and landscape conservation programmes and the recompense of all production factors used on the farms is investigated using full-cost calculations. Accountancy data and an allocation of the overhead costs using keys based on the composition of a farm’s gross output constitute the underlying data of the study. The analytical value-added of the full-cost…
Agricultural economics

Huber R., Flury C.

Heterogeneity in compliance costs of agri-environmental measures

In Switzerland, farmer’s compliance costs of participating in voluntary agri-environmental measures are supposed to be compensated by direct payments. Information about these compliance costs can inform policy makers about the effectiveness and efficiency of the corresponding policy scheme. In this study, we calculate average compliance costs based on full-cost accounting and Monte-Carlo simulation of payments…

What do ecological and landscape conservation services cost?

Participation in voluntary ecological or landscape conservation programmes incurs production and opportunity costs which can vary significantly depending on farm structure and region. Precise knowledge about the level of the individual-farm performance costs helps agricultural-policy decisionmakers to set and calculate direct-payment contributions for the programmes in a focused manner. This paper quantifies the performance costs…
Agricultural economics

Heitkämper K., Umstätter Ch., Schick M.

Administrative simplification in agriculture: analysis and optimisation approaches

In addition to their own record-keeping as part of management and planning activities, farmers are nowadays obliged to record data and fill in forms for statistical purposes as well as for the disbursement of government or label-related funding. Two surveys of 26 Swiss farms with different agricultural activities conducted in 2012 and 2015 revealed that…
Agricultural economics

Hochuli A., Huber M., Hofstetter P.

Guest segments for agritourism

Knowledge of guest needs is the prerequisite for the market-oriented design of tourist offerings. Using cluster analysis, the guest segments (clusters) for agritourism in Switzerland were first identified in terms of distinct needs. The classification of the six clusters was based on a survey of 655 potential guests of agritourism enterprises. The six guest segments…
Agricultural economics

Zorn A., Lips M.

Profitability of domestic grain legumes

The profitability of growing grain legumes in Switzerland is of interest when discussing the importation of feed. Cost/performance calculations on a full-cost basis for soya, field beans, protein peas and lupins yield a realised hourly rate or work monetisation of at least CHF 37.–, assuming efficient management on three-hectare plots. This work monetisation is comparable…
Agricultural economics

Umstätter Ch., Stark R., Schmid D., Schick M.

Effect of technological progress on working time in agriculture

This study addresses the influence of technological progress on the annual working hours of Swiss farmers in the years 2003 and 2012. The analysis of standard labour contracts for agricultural employees in Switzerland as well as a study of the literature revealed that the weekly working time for agricultural activities in most countries comes to…
Agricultural economics

Lips A., Hoop D.

Standard labour unit: factors for para-agricultural activities

Factors for calculating standard labour units (SLUs) are derived from cost/ performance calculations for paraagricultural activities found in business- management literature. The SLU factors specify the necessary labour input per CHF 10 000 of volume of sales or turnover, with three activity categories being distinguished. Leisure time and educational activities on the farm are highly…
Agricultural economics

Mann S., Erdin D.

Grades or labels? Beef prices and quality

The difference between quality grades and quality labels is that the latter are awarded on the basis of production processes, whilst the former are conferred on the strength of the actual production results. In the course of a de-ideologisation of society, it might be assumed that the price differences between quality grades would grow larger…
Agricultural economics

Hoop D., Schwarz A., Lips M.

Full-Cost calculations for contract work

Based on eight farms and 30 observations of farm enterprises, the revenues for seven categories of contract employment in the outdoor-work sector such as Plant Production, Transport/Logistics and Winter Road Clearance are compared to the full costs in order to determine their cost-efficiency. Except for bale-pressing, labour utilisation (i.e. the resultant hourly wage) significantly exceeding…
Agricultural economics

Götze F., Ferjani A.

Who buys organic foods in Switzerland?

Over the past years, the Swiss market for organic foods has grown considerably. However, little is known about the factors that motivate consumers to purchase organic food products. Within the framework of this analysis, data from Swiss households on the consumption of organic foods were analysed descriptively and econometrically. The evaluation of these household data…
Agricultural economics

Gazzarin Ch., Kohler M., Flaten O.

Dairy farms: why does Switzerland spend more on production than Norway?

Dairy production in Switzerland and Norway has a lot in common: a high price- and wage environment, difficult natural conditions and similar farm structures. A cost comparison using data from the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) shows that Swiss farms have higher production costs, however. Analysis of the cost positions pinpoints the differences mainly in…
Agricultural economics

Sandrini F., Durgiai B., Aubert S., Meier H.

How to optimize agricultural extension for a successful farm management?

Production costs play a key role in the competitiveness of agricultural enterprises. In the past, various actors in agricultural consultancy and education offered advanced training, but the number of participants remained below expectations. To investigate the reasons for this low participation and determine measures for improvement, the Opticost working group conducted semi-structured interviews with experts…
Agricultural economics

Becker B., Zoss M., Lehmann H.-J.

Global food security – the consequences for Switzerland

Society is facing major challenges in ensuring global food security. Global trends since the food-price crisis in 2008 have revealed significant new risks. In 2012, the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture decided to identify, quantify and prioritise these risks and to derive potential areas of intervention. A literature review based on the analysis of key…
Agricultural economics

Kopainsky B., Tribaldos T., Flury C., Pedercini M., Lehmann H.

Synergies and trade-offs with regard to ensuring food security and the efficient use of resources

In Switzerland, agriculture and the food industry are facing major challenges, as is society in general. The gap between desired and achievable levels of food production is growing wider, since ensuring sufficient food supplies for a growing population requires a constant increase in production while at the same time it is necessary to reduce the…
Agricultural economics

Mack G., Flury C.

What is the impact of the new alpine pasturing subsidies?

Alpine pasturing subsidies are now being introduced under the 2014–2017 Agricultural Policy. These subsidies are meant to offer lower-altitude farms a further incentive to move their livestock to alpine pastures during the summer season. Calculations made with the agent-based model SWISSland show that the alpine pasturing subsidies in combination with the previous summer pasturing subsidies…
Agricultural economics

Lauber S., Furrer B.

Infrastructure for alpine summer farming: historical witnesses and spatial planning

Traditional buildings are an important part of the cultural landscape in alpine pasturing areas, serving as historico-cultural witnesses. They are, however, under pressure from structural change in agriculture and often require renovation. To assess their historico-cultural quality, a list of criteria has been drawn up which provides a basis for their agro-touristic development, i.e. for…