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Animal production

Hermier R., Miéville-Ott V.

Acceptability of new pratices by cattle breeders: advantages of a sociological approach

In the PASTO project, experimental agricultural practices with the Herens breed of cattle have been tested. We assessed their acceptability by the cattle breeders to check their chances of being implemented and in what conditions. To do this, we analysed different existing practices in the central Valais, as well as the value system and their…
Animal production

Miéville-Ott V., Meisser M., Chassot A., Freléchoux F.

The PASTO project: an innovative agricultural system of pratices for mountain regions

Mountain agriculture faces numerous challenges: diminishing number of farms and of animals, advancing of the forest, search for viable economic alternatives and multiple social demands concerning the maintenance of landscapes, of biodiversity and the offer of local quality products. Within this context, the PASTO project is testing and developing extensive production methods for meat of…
Plant production

Schweiger J., Ferjani A., Kurmann T., Zimmermann A.

Willingness to grow genetically modified plants in Switzerland

Interviews were conducted with farmers in the canton of Zurich as part of a project by the national Research Programme on Genetic Engineering (NFP 59). The object was to assess their willingness to use genetically modified crops. 31 % of those surveyed would consider using the technology, while 62 % were against. These differing attitudes are reflected…

Peter M., Lüscher A.

Floristic evolution of nutrient-poor grasslands in the Alps

The nutrient-poor, semi-natural grasslands of the Swiss Alps are amongst the most species-rich habitats in Europe. To investigate changes over 25 years in the diversity and floristic composition of these plant communities, we repeated a total of 151 phytosociological relevés, originally recorded between 1975 and 1985 in Château-d’Oex, Grindelwald, Tujetsch und Sent. In this second…

Ramseier L., Chervet A., Sturny W. G., Weisskopf P., Sommer M.

Soil damage by tractor pulling

Between 2002 and 2006, tractor pulling events were carried out once a year on a deep luvisol on arable farm land in Niederbipp (BE). Since severe mechanical stress was anticipated particularly within the track area, the authorization of the event was subject to conditions stipulated by the cantonal soil protection service with the aim of…
Agricultural economics

Ammann H., Brecht I., Albisser Vögeli G.

Comparison of wood-fired heating systems

The use of wood fuel for heat generation has been increasing steadily in recent years. Wood-fired heating systems do not only make economic sense for woodland owners; more and more often non-woodland owners are having their heat supplied by wood-fired power stations. Three output categories of wood-fired system were compared: 20, 60 and 100 kilowatt…
Agricultural economics

Mencarelli Hofmann D.

Economically sustainable apple farming

Which factors and strategies are effective for economically sustainable apple farming? On this research question the Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station (ACW) has conducted a representative survey in co-operation with the Fruit Union Swiss (SOV). This article summarizes the results about the IP producers. Data analysis shows that commercialisation, production costs and apple orchard size are…
Agricultural economics

Dux D., Matz K., Gazzarin C., Lips M.

Managing open grassland in the mountain area of Switzerland – what are the costs?

The visible tendency of Swiss farms to specialise and grow in size has not been without consequences for agriculture. Working time is an increasingly scarce commodity, whilst the incentive to farm low-yield, high-intensity land is decreasing. This has consequences for agriculture: the forest is reclaiming land that farmers have given up working, biodiversity is dwindling,…
Animal production

Frick G., Dubois S., Chaubert C., Ampuero Kragten S.

Detection of falsified maize gluten

Different methods have been employed to detect falsified maize gluten products. Microscopic observations -numerous starch grains, seed envelopes and wheat bran fragments- clearly showed the presence of atypical maize gluten particles in samples with otherwise normal crude protein levels (≥ 60%) and the usual gold-yellow color. Chemical analyses in a few samples confirmed the presence…
Animal production

Spring P., Kupper T., Pauly C.

ProSchwein: Alternatives to the conventional castration of piglets

To prevent the occurrence of meat with boar taint, which is not accepted by the consumer, male piglets are surgically castrated without anaesthesia. As this method of castration will be banned in Switzerland by 1st January 2010, the project ProSchwein investigated different alternatives. A device for inhalation anaesthesia (anaesthetic gas: isoflurane) showed a good anaesthesia…
Agricultural economics

Wolf D., Albisser Vögeli G.

Economicvalue of Bt maize is relative

The economic value of genetically modified, insect-resistant maize, also known as Bt maize, is relative. This is shown in a literature review carried out by Federal Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, in which experiences of the economic viability of Bt maize were collected from EU countries in which commercial cultivation is taking place. The results…