Grazing management with dairy cattle and innovative forage conservation in mountain areas


The farm with an agricultural area of 16 ha (3 ha leased included) is in the conversion phase to organic farming and keeps dairy cows (on average 26 LU). The animals are held on moderately steep pastures, located around the farm buildings and being connected one with another, without import of off-farm forage. The practiced grazing management system is a continuous variable stocking (short sward grazing, Germ: “Kurzrasenweide”). The grazing season lasts from the
mid of April until the end of October. During this time the animals are milked indoor and receive only a small amount of conserved forage. In the winter months, they only get hay from the own meadows. 50% of the total agricultural area is exclusively mowed (3 cuts/year), 20% is exclusively grazed, while on the final 30% a combination of mowing and grazing is practiced.

The farmer achieves a high forage quality thanks to a wellworking facility for barn-drying of hay, with a roof suction system, which is located under the photovoltaic panels, combined with a dehumidifier. This implicates a high efficiency of the barn-drying system and at the same time a cooling of the photovoltaic panel, whereby the production of electricity can be significant increased.


Reason for the innovation

  • Solving problem (the need to change)
  • Decreasing production costs
  • Curiosity in subject/technique

Farm description


  • Main soil types: sandy-loam
  • Climate: temperate continental climate
  • Average altitude (m a.s.l.): 1200 (970 m to 1268 m)
  • Average slope (%): 18 (3.8 % to 37.5 %)

Grassland management

  • Farming system: in conversion to organic farming (certification in January 2018)
  • Grazing: Yes, partially combined with cut use
  • Grazing management type: continuous variable stocking (short sward grazing)
  • Length of the grazing period (months/year): 7
  • Number of cuts on exclusively mown areas: 3 cuts/year
  • Forage conservation type: hay
  • Average fertilisation rate: 130 kg of organic N/ha


  • Annual work units per year: 2
  • Agricultural area (ha UAA): 16 ha
    • 15.7 ha pasture
    • 0.3 ha arable area

Animal performance

  • Breed name: Braunvieh, Jersey
  • Total livestock unit (LU): 26
  • Average stocking rate (LU/ha): 1,6
  • Average acquisition rate roughage: 0%

Why it is working

The farm fulfils the prerequisites for a grazing management.

The farmer is highly motivated to innovate and develop own solutions.

Additional information

Farming system

organic farming

Domains of innovation

forage conservation technique, grazing management system, machinery, tools

Main types of animal

dairy cattle



Product type

Farmer portrait


English, German

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