Ruminant and forage production systems

Expertise

  • Resource efficient milk production
    Milk production and the efficient use of natural resources
  • Optimised production technology
    Optimising production technology with a view to reducing costs and labour
  • Applied forage production
    Topical issues in the field of fodder production and fodder conservation
  • Extended grassland utilisation
    Lawns and green cover plots – maintenance and care

Team

Prof. Dr Beat Reidy, Team Leader, Lecturer in Ruminant and forage production systems

Katharina Zeller-Dorn, Assistant

Braida Dür Gregis, Research Scientist

Sebastian Ineichen, Assistant

Tamara Köke, Assistant

Janique Studer, Assistant

Michael Sutter, Assistant

Current Projects

Current feeding practices and analysis of the causes of differences in performance of dairy cows fed on grassland forage

Given the climatic and topographical restrictions in Switzerland, grassland forage obtained from meadows and pastures has always been of major significance as the base feed for ruminants. It can reasonably be said that feeding practices in Switzerland are still strongly grassland-based compared to neighbouring countries. However, there are no figures providing comprehensive proof of this assertion. Moreover, in view of the current societal debate on feed imports and the use of concentrate feeds, declarations as to the nature of feedstuffs used in milk production are likely to become increasingly important in the future. This project therefore has the following objectives:

  • Systematic survey of feeding practices on approximately 150 dairy farms in Switzerland.
  • Analysis of the causes of major differences in the quantities of concentrates fed on holdings with comparable milk yields (very high and very low use respectively).
  • Illustration of the relationship between operating profits and feeding practices.

Based on the findings, the project team is developing recommendations and advice on how feeding practices can be optimised in terms of milk yields based on grassland forage with a view to cost reductions and enhanced economic efficiency. The project findings are to aid Swiss dairy producers in promoting the positive image of Swiss milk production and in effectively communicating their message.

Project management: Beat Reidy

Project partners: FOAG, SMP (Swissmilk)

Project Interreg: efficient milk production

In association with the Fondation Rurale Interjurassienne, the Chambre Interdépartementale d’Agriculture Doubs – Territoire de Belfort, Agroscope and Agridea, researchers at HAFL are investigating suitable measures to promote efficient fodder-based milk production in the Jura and the Franche-Comté region. They are drawing on the results of a preliminary study which aimed to identify and optimise the production-related success factors for a farm in its specific location. As the proportion of grass in the feed significantly affects profits, the current project is focussing on the relations between local environmental conditions, the grasslands and their management as well as the current milk production systems. The results of this project should serve to improve the quality and utilisation of local fodder.

Project management: Beat Reidy

Developing distinguishing characteristics of grassland-based milk (Wiesenmilch)

Swiss milk has traditionally enjoyed a good image due to the special locational conditions and strongly grass-based feeding practices. It is associated with natural production and healthy products. By creating a special label for grass-based milk (Wiesenmilch – “pasture milk”) IP SUISSE is trying to systematically promote this image. “Pasture milk” must be clearly distinguishable from milk coming from production systems heavily reliant on concentrate feeds if the label is to be used to profitable effect. This project therefore examines the following questions:

  • Can milk produced to the current IP SUISSE “pasture milk” standards be distinguished clearly from milk coming from production systems heavily reliant on concentrate feeds, based on differences in nutrient content (fatty acids, proteins, metabolites)?
  • Are there sustainability indicators or production technology indicators that allow for a clear distinction to be made between “pasture milk” and concentrate-based dairy systems?
  • How can the existing IP SUISSE production standards be further improved with a view to a clear differentiation between the production systems?

 

The project’s main objective is to develop distinguishing characteristics which can be attributed to the way the dairy cows are fed and managed. The aim is to generate added value from “pasture milk” and from the dairy produce of such milk in the domestic and foreign markets.

Project management: Beat Reidy

Project partners: IP SUISSE, Agroscope

GRUFKO+

GRUFKO is a bilingual (German-French) web application for calculating basic feed costs. It has been offered by HAFL since 2005 (http://grufko.shl.bfh.ch/). There is no program comparable to GRUFKO in Switzerland.

GRUFKO+ is the working title for the revision and further development of GRUFKO. GRUFKO+ has the following aims:

  • improved user-friendliness 
  • simpler calculation of different target variants 
  • better analysis and comparability of results 

GRUFKO+ combines the uniqueness of its predecessor with an increased level of user-friendliness and a better presentation of results. GRUFKO+ is therefore a suitable method for both industry and educational use.

Project management: Beat Reidy

Contact

Dr. Beat Reidy

beat.reidy(at)bfh(dot)ch

Phone +41 (0)31 910 22 23

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