How much milk does a cow produce, and how much feed does she require to produce it? This research project simultaneously provides answers to both questions. Our researchers develop methods for estimating how much feed a dairy cow consumes; from this, we can deduce how efficiently she utilises her feed. The two breeds, Holstein and Swiss Fleckvieh, are fed almost exclusively with grass or hay – so-called ‘roughage’ – then compared in terms of feed consumption and milk yield. The newly obtained findings are also intended to be of benefit in breeding.
The project was launched in 2014, in order to update the recommendations for the feeding of fattening bull-calves. The challenge of this updating is to bear in mind changes that have occurred in genetics, forage quality, and the politico-economic context for fattening bulls since the current standards were set. Today, it is also important to expand the project to include topics such as feed autonomy and efficiency, as well as the sustainability of the various production systems in different regions of Switzerland.
Temporary leys provide large amounts of valuable forage, and are therefore essen-tial in agricultural crop rotations. The aim of this research project is to utilise world-wide progress in breeding to develop seed mixtures for forage production that are optimally tailored to the needs of the Swiss agricultural sector.
Meadows and pastures in the mountain area provide important services to society – including high-quality feed or valuable biodiversity. Despite direct payments from the federal government, these services are under threat from ongoing structural and climate change. Our research project aims to use improved process knowledge to develop innovative and efficient management strategies for promoting grassland ecosystem services in the mountain area.
As a function of their management, their botanical composition and the climate, our grasslands supply various benefits and services such as the production of food and feed – not just for livestock, but also for pollinating insects. An attempt to optimise just one of these services runs the risk of jeopardising anoth-er. The aim of this project is therefore to develop decision-support tools capable of encompassing the varied nature of these services. For this, the tools must take ac-count of productivity, quality, conservation and utilisation of the herbage, as well as the preservation of the environment.