Hochschule fur Agrar

Zollikofen, Switzerland

Hochschule fur Agrar

Zollikofen, Switzerland
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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 involved, the current situation of the agri-food sector was first analysed in order to generate action strategies for the future positioning of French-speaking Switzerland’s agricultural organisation AGORA. On just four of the 20 case-study farms will agricultural income rise by 2022, and only then with a strategy of expanding farmland and without milk production. A continuation of the current situation with no change (status quo) would mean a deterioration in financial circumstances for the 20 farms. Strategic planning, including investment planning, is therefore very important and should be promoted more in the future. Although French-speaking Switzerland has well-developed and well-established regional products (e.g. AOP/IGP) and value chains, the orientation of production and processing could be more closely aligned with consumer needs and producers integrated to a greater extent and more deeply into the value chains, especially in the industrial milk sector. © 2017, A M T R A - Association pour la Mise en Valeur des Travaux de la Recherche Agronomique. All rights reserved.

Menk J.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Dorren L.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Heinzel J.,Eidgenossische Forschungsanstalt fur Wald | Marty M.,Eidgenossische Forschungsanstalt fur Wald | Huber M.,Eidgenossische Forschungsanstalt fur Wald
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2017

In the present study, we investigated whether the detection tool FINT (Find Individual Trees) can identify single trees out of canopy height models (CHM) precisely enough to assess the protective effect of forests, even on steep slopes. For this purpose, reference trees were measured and described in twelve randomly selected sample plots in the Bündner Herrschaft and Schanfigg regions (Canton Graubünden, Switzerland). CHMs of different resolution and smoothing were generated from airborne laser scanning data for each sample plot and subsequently processed with FINT. In addition, we tested whether the use of a model that defines the minimum distance between a tree and its neighbours based on its height (MBA model) improved the quality of the results. The study showed that a finer-resolution CHM combined with stronger smoothing produced results comparable to those obtained with an unsmoothed and lower-resolution CHM. The smallest difference between the numbers of trees measured and detected was achieved with the 1-m resolution CHM, with no smoothing and no MBA model. In conclusion, FINT can provide a basis for assessing the protective effect of a forest with its existing structures, and its results - after evaluation in the field - can be directly integrated into natural hazard simulation models.

Winckler L.,Landwirtschaftliches Institute des Kantons Freiburg Grangeneuve LIG | Cutullic E.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Aeby P.,Landwirtschaftliches Institute des Kantons Freiburg Grangeneuve LIG
Agrarforschung Schweiz | Year: 2012

Milk output per hectare of forage surface area is a means of measuring the efficiency of dairy production. The aim of this study is to identify which factors are decisive in the variation of surface-area productivity practised in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. The analysis is based on a survey of 266 dairy farms which was conducted during the period 2002-2009. Altitude is, as expected, a significant structural factor, constraining milk output per hectare because of lower grassland yield and quality. Lowland farms which use maize silage and moderate amounts of concentrate are, on average, more efficient. Some of the grass-based farms achieve similar levels of efficiency, but many still have room for improvement. Although high efficiency is attainable with individually-medium-yielding cows, a positive correlation was observed between milk output per hectare and cows' forage-based milk yield. In conclusion, it appears that irrespective of local pedoclimatic factors and type of system, surface-area productivity is highly dependent on farmers' ability to optimise their own production system.

Pfannkuch M.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Zabel A.,Hochschule fur Agrar
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2014

In 2012, almost 96% of all Swiss wood exports were delivered into the European Union (EU). Since March 3rd, 2013, these exports are subject to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). Besides the Voluntary Partnership Agreements, this regulation constitutes the second policy package under the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Gover nance and Trade Action Plan (EU-FLEGT). The first part of this paper discusses the aims of the new timber regulation as a measure to combat illegal logging and illegal timber trade. The second part builds on expert interviews that were conducted with representatives of the industry, ministries, inter-trade organizations, as well as a politician and summarizes first experiences since the implementation of the policy as well as expected implications for the Swiss timber export sector. Moreover, four possible courses of action for Switzerland that were raised in the expert interviews are discussed: 1) integrating the EU Timber Regulation into the regulation on the declaration of wood and wood products, 2) creating a Swiss Timber Regulation in the course of the revision of the environmental protection law, 3) proactively providing information while avoiding a change of laws, and 4) a government guarantee for Swiss wood.

Sutter M.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Nemecek T.,ART Agroscope Reckenholz Tänikon | Thomet P.,Hochschule fur Agrar
Agrarforschung Schweiz | Year: 2013

Swiss dairy farms must increasingly cope with climate protection, environmental conservation and the use of limited resources. In the context of the Hohenrain comparison of dairy production systems, a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts was conducted using the Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment method. The environmental strengths and weaknesses of seasonal full-pasture and indoor feeding systems were compared. The indoor herd performed significantly better than the pasture herd in three of thirteen impact categories. In contrast, the pasture herd performed better in seven of thirteen impact categories. A considerable weakness in the pasture herd was its higher methane emissions per kilogram of energy-corrected milk and the one-and-a-half times greater land requirement per kilogram of energy-corrected milk. The indoor herd had its main weaknesses in deforestation, the phosphorous and potassium resource requirements and higher ecotoxicity. The main causes for poor performance in these categories were maize and soybean meal.

In the project Opti-Milk (2000–2004), the technical feasibility of the high output strategy for dairy farms on the Swiss Plateau was shown. The good economic prospects of the strategy based on budgets and predicted costs during the project could be verified with an analysis of the total costs on dairy farms from 1999 to 2011. The strategy resulted in a significant reduction in production costs per kg of milk through increasing the amount of milk and thus significantly improving labor productivity. Economies of scale also have led to a reduction in overhead costs per kg of milk. At the end of the observation period, three out of seven high-output farms had earned an income well above the Swiss average. This strategy can be economically attractive in the lowland area of Switzerland, although the heads of farms will face significant challenges, which are presented in this paper. © 2015, A M T R A - Association pour la Mise en Valeur des Travaux de la Recherche Agronomique. All rights reserved.

Zabel A.,Forschungsgruppe Fur Internationale Waldwirtschaft und Klimawandel | Dittgen A.,Hochschule Fur Agrar
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2014

In Switzerland, private forest ownership was traditionally closely tied to agricultural farms. With the ongoing structural change in the agricultural sector, there is a growing number of private forest owners who do not have an agricultural background. In order to design policy measures, e.g. to increase wood harvest in private forests, it is necessary to understand the aims and motivations of these owners. This paper investigates to what extent private forest owners without an agricultural background differ from those with such a background. The analysis builds on empirical data collected in a representative, mail survey among private forest owners in the canton of Bern. Contrary to a wide-spread assertion that forest owners without an agricultural background have little forest-specific knowledge and lack interest in their forests, this study finds that they are often interested and estimate to have a high degree of knowledge. In accordance with studies conducted in Austria and Germany the results show that to forest owners without an agricultural background generating income from their forests is often a secondary goal. Leisure and recreation are often given higher priority.

Burgi P.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Pauli B.,Hochschule fur Agrar
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2013

For over two decades, the majority of Swiss forest enterprises have been confronted with financial losses. One of the main reasons for this is the general diminishing of revenues from timber sales since the 1980s. Moreover, Swiss forest enterprises have not managed to reduce the most important matter of expenses - the timber harvesting costs - to a similar extent. In comparison, unit costs from timber harvest in Switzerland are more than twice as high as those in the neighboring countries. This study analyzes the cause-and-effect relationships that lead to the high timber harvesting costs in Swiss forest enterprises. Building on that, possibilities of reducing these costs are proposed. The study is based on the results obtained through the Swiss Forestry Holding Network (HDN). The results have been systematically analyzed, the cause-and-effect relationships graphically depicted, and the gained knowledge has been discussed with experts. In essence, the results from the HDN suggest that the high timber harvesting costs are primarily a consequence of the structural situation of the Swiss forest enterprises. The over-proportionally high number of employees and large machinery parks allocated to each of the management areas are inevitably leading to high timber harvesting costs, and thus to suboptimal timber harvesting methods. Subsequently, this is all giving rise to an unfavorable cost situation. Furthermore, economies of scale can hardly be reached among the large numbers of relatively small forest enterprise management areas producing low usage quantities. In essence, the most important approaches to reducing the timber harvesting costs are the more frequent involvement of specialized forest services for harvesting, and measures that lead to the enlargement of the management areas. In order to reduce timber harvesting costs and by that improve operation results, a critical reflection of the current forest management strategy is unavoidable.

Hochuli A.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Huber M.,Hochschule fur Agrar | Hofstetter P.,Berufsbildungszentrum Natur und Ernahrung Schupfheim BBZN
Agrarforschung Schweiz | Year: 2016

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 indicated clear preferences mainly for leisure activities on the farm and in the region. In contrast, the differences between the clusters with regard to lodging and board offerings were less marked. © 2016, A M T R A - Association pour la Mise en Valeur des Travaux de la Recherche Agronomique. All rights reserved.

PubMed | University of Zürich, University of Bern, SUISAG and Hochschule fur Agrar
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Schweizer Archiv fur Tierheilkunde | Year: 2016

In the present study, risk factors for the use of oral antibiotics in weaned piglets were collected on 112 pig farms by a personal questionaire. The most common indication for an antibiotic group therapy was diarrhoea, and the most frequently used antibiotic was Colistin. On average, 27.33 daily doses in the control farms and 387.21 daily doses in the problem farms per 1000 weaners were administered on a given day. The significant risk factors in the multivariate model were poor hygiene in the water supply of suckling piglets, less than two doses of prestarter feed daily, lack of an all-in-and-all-out production system in weaners, no herd book performance data analysis, and less than two of the legally prescribed veterinary visits per year. Furthermore, the treatment incidence of weaners for oral antibiotics was calculated on the basis of the drug inventory. This study provides evidence that the use of oral antibiotics in weaners can be reduced by interventions in hygiene and management.

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