Tannins instead of Antibiotics in Pig Breeding

Piglets weaned from the sow and combined into new groups often develop what is sometimes referred to as 'post-weaning diarrhoea'. Frequently, the whole group of piglets with diarrhoea is treated preventively or therapeutically with antibiotics, which promotes the occurrence of antibiotic resistance. A study conducted at Agroscope showed that chestnut tannins successfully reduce post-weaning diarrhoea, and thus represent a practical alternative to the use of antibiotics.


Reducing Ammonia Emissions from Animal Housing

Livestock husbandry involves undesirable emissions in the form of ammonia and greenhouse gases. In order to achieve agricultural environmental objectives, measures that are both effective and practical are necessary. In the experimental dairy housing for emission measurements, structural, process-engineering and organisational mitigation measures as well as feeding strategies are comparatively investigated and evaluated. Besides emissions, the investigations also cover process engineering, animal behaviour, work economics and costs.


Group Housing of Horses Catches On

A representative survey on the housing and use of horses covered over 12,800 equids in Switzerland, and shows that just under half of these are kept in group housing. Half of all equids housed individually are kept in stalls with outdoor access. One third of all equids already receive their roughage both loose and in a slow-feeding system, which lengthens feeding time and takes account of the animals’ natural needs. Adult equids are used for one hour a day on average. Major changes in housing and keeping practices are posing many new challenges for the horse sector.


Weak Larvae Make the Bee Colony Strong

An immigrant from Asia, the Varroa mite is the greatest threat faced by the Western honey bee. Since the attempt to breed resistant bees has so far yielded no practical results, Agroscope researchers investigated the natural resistance strategy of the Eastern honey bee. Surprisingly, it was discovered that the latter’s parasitised larvae died more quickly than that of the Western honey bee. The nurse bees remove the parasitised larvae from the brood cell, along with the reproducing parasites, thereby interrupting the multiplication of the parasite and ensuring the survival of the bee colony.