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Animal production

Wyss U., Schlegel P., Frey H., Akert F., Mulser E., Reidy B.

System comparison Hohenrain II: Nutrient and mineral content of conserved forage

From 2014 to 2016, the Hohenrain II Project compared three different grassland-based milk production systems with either full grazing, or with partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh herbage and reduced or increased concentrate supplementation. From 2013 to 2015, the nutrient and mineral content of the conserved forage (hay, grass silage and artificially dried herbage)…
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Environment

Zumwald J., Braunschweig M., Hofstetter P., Reidy B., Nemecek Th.

Life-cycle assessment of pasture- and grassland-based milk production systems

As part of the project ’Optimisation of Grassland-Based Milk Production Systems based on Fresh-Grass Harvesting (Hohenrain II)’, we used the SALCA life-cycle assessment method to compare the environmental impacts of three systems, viz. full-grazing with seasonal calving and two variants of fresh-grass harvesting with differing use of concentrates (< 500 kg/cow/ year and 800–1200 kg/cow/year).…
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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…
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Animal production

Mulser E., Ineichen S., Sutter M., Hofstetter P., Probst St.

Animal performance with fresh grass feeding

Partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh grass is an important feeding system for Swiss dairy farms. From 2014 to 2016, three production systems – partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh grass with reduced (EGKF; 418 kg), and increased concentrate supplementation (EGKFplus; 1161 kg) was compared with full-time grazing with reduced concentrate supplementation (FG;…
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Animal production

Wyss U., Schlegel P., Frey H., Reidy B.

Mineral content of herbage

Full grazing or indoor feeding of fresh herbage and partial grazing are common feeding systems for dairy cows in Switzerland. Project Hohenrain II investigated a comparison of three different grassland-based milk production systems, a partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh grass with reduced and increased concentrate supplementation was compared with the full grazing system…
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Animal production

Ineichen S., Akert F., Frey H., Wyss U., Hofstetter P., Schmid H., Gut W., Reidy B.

Project description and quality of fresh grass

Partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh grass is an important feeding system for Swiss dairy farms. From 2014 to 2016, three production systems – ’partial grazing with indoor feeding of fresh grass with reduced (EGKF, 418 kg) and increased concentrate supplementation (EGKFplus; 1161 kg) was compared with full-time grazing (FG) with reduced concentrate supplementation…
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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…
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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…
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Environment

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…
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Environment

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…
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Environment

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…
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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…
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Food

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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Other

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…
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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)…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Environment

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…
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Environment

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…
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Environment

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…
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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.…
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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…
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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…