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Animal production

Kasper C., Ruiz-Ascacibar I., Stoll P., Bee G.

Genetic parameters of protein efficiency in a Swiss Large White pig population

Pork production contributes to environmental pollution through the emission of nitrogen compounds. In addition, pig fattening in Switzerland requires imports of soybean, since the protein requirement of feed cannot be met by domestic plant-protein sources alone. It is therefore desirable to improve protein efficiency, i.e. to achieve a similar protein uptake in the carcass with…
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Animal production

Müller Richli M., Scheeder M.

Good fattening results despite reduced crude protein content in the feed

Feeding strategies to improve the nutritional value of pork and at the same time reduce the environmental burden were examined on three pig farms representing single-feed, two-phase and multi-phase feeding systems. The experimental feed was supplemented with selenium, vitamin E and crushed linseed. Furthermore, the protein content was reduced. Fattening runs with common feed served…
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Food

Müller Richli M., Zurlinden M., Harms E., Giger C., Stratz P., Scheeder M.

How nutritional value and eating quality of pork can be further improved

A feeding experiment was conducted on three pig farms to evaluate the possibility of producing pork with both a specifically improved nutritional value and exceptional eating quality. By supplementing the feed, the concentrations of selenium, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids were increased in the meat and adipose tissue of the pigs as well as…
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Plant production

Baux A., Schumacher P.

The growth of companion cropping in oilseed rape: feedback on the opinions of Swiss producers

The practice of sowing companion crops (or «service plants») in among oilseed rape began to get off the ground in Switzerland several years ago. Certain farmers see companion cropping as an innovative technique allowing them to cut back on the use of plant-protection products, and in particular enabling them to forgo the use of herbicides,…
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Plant production

Aubry S., Eigenmann Ch.

New challenges to digitization of genetic resources for food and agriculture

A comprehensive stewardship of genetic resources is necessary to insure a resilient and sustainable agriculture. Most of our food comes from a handful of domesticated species which diversity is constantly shrinking. On the contrary, modern genomics keep discovering the marvels of diversity contained in genetic resources for food and agriculture. High-throughput sequencing and related techniques…
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Food

Maurer J., Wechsler D., Irmler St., Berger Th.

Avoiding persistent contamination with propionic acid bacteria and Lactobacillus parabuchneri in milking systems

Persistent contaminations with propionic acid bacteria and Lactobacillus parabuchneri in milking systems have repeatedly resulted in financial losses in cheese processing. Moreover, histamine in the cheese, caused by Lactobacillus parabuchneri, can also affect consumer health. Biochemical and molecular biological methods have been developed and introduced into practice to enable the quick and reliable identification of…
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Agricultural economics

Mack G., Heitkämper K., El Benni N.

What factors influence the perception of administrative work?

When it comes to developing recommendations for action for limiting administrative work, knowledge about both the perception of work and the actual work is important. This topic was investigated using the example of the Programme for the Promotion of Grassland-Based Milk and Meat Production (GMMP). A survey of 892 farmers revealed that the perception of…
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Plant production

Sinaj S., Jeangros B.

Preserving the sustainability of field crop systems: overview of 50 years of trials in Changins

Preserving soil fertility is a major challenge for farms without livestock specialised in field crops. Several decades ago, several trials were set up at the Agroscope experimental station in Changins to study the long-term effects of different cultural practices on soil fertility and crop yields. This article summarises the main results obtained in these trials.…
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Environment

Riedel S., Lüscher G., Meier E., Herzog F., Hofer G.

Ecological Quality of Meadows Supported with Biodiversity Contributions

The «Agriculture-Related Environmental Objectives» (AEOs) set binding targets for the conservation of species and habitat diversity in the agricultural landscape. For these, lists of species meriting particular consideration (AEO species) were drawn up. An initial evaluation of the ALL-EMA «Agricultural Species and Habitats» Monitoring Programme shows that in Switzerland, on average only 13 % of…
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Animal production

Münger A., Eggerschwiler L., Silacci P., Dohme-Meier F.

Methane emissions from dairy cows: influence of oilseeds in the feed

The addition of fatty feed components to a dairy cow ration can influence ruminal fermentation, and hence methane formation in the rumen. In a study with 33 Holstein / Red Holstein dairy cows, the influence of two different types of oilseeds (extruded linseed and ground rapeseed) versus a control (rumen-stable fat) was investigated over a…
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Animal production

Spengler Neff A., Baki C., Leiber F.

Milk instead of concentrate feed in claf rearing

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.…
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Animal production

Rothacher M., Wyss U., Arrigo Y.

In vivo digestibility of maize silages harvested with different techniques

A trial was carried out to determine the organic-matter digestibility and nutritional value of whole-plant maize silages (WPMS’s) harvested in different ways. Four methods were compared: standard WPMS from the tower silo removed with a silo unloader, standard WPMS in bales, WPMS shredlage, and cob-enriched WPMS (power maize). According to the chemical analyses, the nutritional…
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Environment

Ammann C., Voglmeier K., Münger A., Bretscher D.

Reduction of ammonia emissions on pasture

What is the effect of a low-protein feed supplement on the ammonia emissions from dairy cattle on pasture? To answer this question, the ammonia emissions from two pasture-based feeding systems with dairy cattle were measured and compared between May and October. In the first system (G) the cows fed exclusively on pasture grass, whilst in…
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Environment

Mayer J., Zimmermann M., Weggler K., Reiser R., Bürge D., Bucheli Th., Richner W.

Pollutant threshold values for mineral recycling fertilisers: the Swiss concept

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant growth. Switzerland is reliant upon the import of phosphorus fertilisers, which come from deposit reserves and are increasingly burdened with pollutants. On the other hand, there are hitherto unused phosphorus stocks in sewage sludge and slaughterhouse waste that could completely replace fertiliser imports. Therefore, Switzerland has introduced the…
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Plant production

Frick R., Suter D., Hirschi H.

2015–2017 variety trials with xFestulolium braunii and brome grass

Between 2015 and 2017, Agroscope tested seven new varieties of xFestulolium braunii (K. Richter) A. Camus and four varieties of brome grass (Bromus spp.) for their agronomic properties in comparative trials at six locations. The characteristics studied were yield, juvenile development, general impression, competitive ability, persistence, resistance to leaf diseases and bacterial wilt, winter hardiness,…
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Agricultural economics

Chandrapalan R., Zorn A., Lips M.

Profitability of para-agricultural activities

Using cost/performance calculations, the profitability of four para-agricultural activities (contracted work for third parties, direct marketing, tourism and services) is investigated, with labour utilisation, i.e. the resultant hourly wage, serving as a criterion. With a focus on farm activities with a gross performance of between CHF 10,000 and CHF 100,000, there are 2339 observations available…
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Environment

Maurer C., Oehl F., Zihlmann U., Chervet A., Sturny W. G.

Cropping systems affect species diversity of mycorrhizal fungi

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM fungi) diversity was investigated in 12 selected long-term soil observation sites in the canton of Bern. These consisted of nine soils farmed according to Proof of Ecological Performance (PEP) production guidelines, of which three were natural meadows, three were no-till (NT) or ploughed (PL) arable soils, and three were ploughed arable…
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Environment

Bretscher D., Ammann Ch., Wüst Ch., Nyfeler A., Felder D.

Potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Swiss animal husbandry

The Swiss agricultural and climate policy- making sector has set itself the target of reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by at least one-third by 2050 compared to 1990’s figures. This target can be achieved via technical measures on the production side and/or by reorganising agricultural structures (area percentages, animal populations). Animal husbandry is responsible for…
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Agricultural economics

Möhring A., Mack G., Zimmermann A., Mann St., Ferjani A.

Food security payments: refining objectives and using resources more efficiently

Since 2014, the Swiss Confederation has made food-supply security payments to ensure the reliable supply of food to the population. At CHF 1.1 billion per annum, these account for a large proportion of direct payments. Agroscope has now tested the effectiveness of this instrument on behalf of the Federal Office for Agriculture, and is proposing…
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Environment

Schrade S., Zeyer K., Keck M., Keller M., Zähner M., Mohn J.

Validation of the tracer ratio method for emission measurements in naturally ventilated housing

The tracer ratio method serves to quantify emissions in naturally ventilated animal housing systems. Empa and Agroscope have developed a tracer ratio method with two tracer gases for comparative emission measurements in Agroscope’s experimental dairy housing, with its two spatially separated compartments. In this method, the tracer gases sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and trifluoromethyl sulphur pentafluoride…
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Environment

Roesch A., Marton S., Thalmann Ch., Schader Ch., Grenz J., Gaillard G.

Measuring sustainability at farm level: what tool for what purpose?

There are three methods available for evaluating sustainability at farm level that were developed in Switzerland: RISE, SMART und SALCAsustain. In this article, the three methods are compared by means of a list of criteria and several concrete examples with the aim of making it easier for readers to decide which tool is best suited…
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Environment

Humbert J-Y., Buri P., Unternährer D., Arlettaz R.

Alternative mowing regimes to favour meadow biodiversity

In Switzerland, biodiversity promotion areas or BPAs (i.e. land under Swiss agri-environment schemes) account for around 15 % of the utilised agricultural area. While the main objective of BPAs is to promote farmland biodiversity, their effectiveness remains limited, in particular as regards the incidence of invertebrates in the lowlands. In this study, the mowing regime…