Avenches: Postcard of the Swiss National Stud Farm in the 1930s
Avenches: Postcard of the Swiss National Stud Farm in the 1930s

The Swiss National Stud Farm (SNSF) is located south of Lake Morat (Murten), in the heart of the Broye-Vully district in the canton of Vaud, near the small historic town of Avenches. Avenches is known for having been the capital of Helvetia during the Roman era.  Founded in 1899, the SNSF today houses the Swiss Confederation’s centre of excellence for the keeping and raising of equines.

Known far and wide, the Swiss National Stud Farm encourages a sustainable and competitive approach to horse keeping and rearing that is in accordance with needs of the horses. In this context, practically oriented research and knowledge transfer play a key role, with the SNSF supporting horse breeding with selected stallions, infrastructure and events.

On 1 January 2014, all of the research stations were merged under the name Agroscope. Agroscope became the Swiss federal centre of excellence for research in the agriculture and food sector, organised into four institutes under the direction of the Head of Agroscope (CEO).  Agroscope Council – a body tasked with defining strategic orientation – was also set up.

The reform continued in 2016 with the simplification of Agroscope’s structure. On 1 January 2017, the four institutes and 19 research divisions were abolished. Agroscope’s research services and enforcement tasks are now the responsibility of 10 newly created units – three competence divisions for research technology and knowledge exchange, and seven strategic research divisions. This brings operational management and staff closer together, with the aim of fulfilling the research organisation’s key tasks for the agriculture and food sector with greater efficiency and flexibility, and defining a clear service portfolio.

Part of the ‘Animals and Products of Animal Origin’ unit – the ‘Horse Breeding and Keeping’ research group – is based at the Swiss National Stud.


1874 Federal council resolution leads to the establishment of a federa' foal barn in Thun dedicated to raising potentia.
1898 Founding of a federal stallion and foal barn in Avenches.
1910 Addition of an equine infirmary to the federal stallion and foal barn.
1927  The acquisition of 10 Franches Montagne mares turns the federal stud.
1942  Acquisition of the Domaine Peu Claude in the Jura.
1959  The stud is extended to include an equine clinic.
1969  Birth of the first foal conceived through artificial insemination with frozen thawed semen. The foal is named „Icecream".
1980  The federal council declares equestrian sport a breeding objective. The stud's best stallions successfully compete on an international stage, becoming the first breeding stallions from state run studs in Europe to take part in international competitions.
1994  A federal council resolution regulates the restructuring of the stud, leading to the privatisation of the associated agricultural farm.
1998  The federal stud becomes the Swiss National Stud Farm (SNSF).
2000  The federal government decides on a per-formance mandate and on a global budget for the management of the SNSF.
2008  The SNSF and the research centre Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux ALP begin the process of merging, developing a joint management to eventually form a unit known as the ALP-Haras.
2011  After the near-closure in 2010, the SNSF is given increased protection in the new agricultural legislation (Art. 147) which states that "in support of the horse breeding industry, the federal government maintains a stud (the Swiss National Stud Farm) in Avenches". The new agricultural legislation comes into force on the 1st January 2014.
2012  The SNSF is integrated entirely into the research department of the research unit Agroscope-Liebefeld-Posieux (ALP-Haras). The stud's equine clinic merges with the equine clinic of the Vetsuisse faculty of the University of Bern to create the Institut suisse de médecine Equine ISME.
2014  Federal agricultural research centres are consolidated under the name Agroscope to form one national research institute for the agrifood sector. This unit replaces the existing research centres Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil ACW, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux ALP-Haras and Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART. The Swiss National Stud Farm becomes part of Agroscope's Institute for Livestock Sciences (ILSI.
2017 Agroscope has restructured its activities. There are now three practice-oriented «Competence Divisions for Research Technology and Knowledge Exchange» as well as seven «Strategic Research Divisions». The latter are charged with the development of scientific know-how. One of the three Competence Divisions is called «Animals, Animal Products and Swiss National Stud».