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Fewer dairy farmers are producing more milk

Milk production is up, but there are fewer producers

(Keystone Archive)

The number of dairy farmers in Switzerland has dwindled by a fifth in the past decade, but those that remain have significantly boosted the country's overall milk production.

Figures released by the Federal Office for Agriculture on Wednesday showed that the number of dairy farmers fell to 39,890 last year, compared to 50,334 a decade ago.

However, those farmers have boosted milk production by almost a quarter over the same period. Today, the average dairy farm in Switzerland produces 75,700 kilogrammes of milk a year, up from 58,900 kilogrammes in 1990 - an average annual increase of 2.8 per cent.

Significantly, this increase has been achieved without the use of hormones, which are forbidden under Swiss law, but commonly used to boost cows' output in many countries such as the United States.

The latest figures on milk production for last year show that the average Swiss cow produces 17,6 litres of milk a day - or 6,233 kilogrammes a year. This places Switzerland in the middle range for milk production among developed countries.

Swiss cows lag behind their cousins in the US, but scientists say the difference is mainly due to hormone treatment, which typically increase a cow's output by between 10 and 20 per cent.

swissinfo with agencies


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