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XtraBlatt Issue 01-2022

  • Text
  • Xtrablatt
  • Carbon
  • Farmers
  • Machinery
  • Contractors
  • Germany
  • Grassland
  • Slurry
  • Biogas
  • Agricultural
  • Krone

INTERNATIONAL 1 2 3 4 1

INTERNATIONAL 1 2 3 4 1 There are a total of eight horses in the farm’s boxes. Three of them belong to the Schwaller family, and the others are being cared for in the horse boarding programme. 2 In addition to cherries, there are plums, prunes, berries, grapes, apples, pears, and quinces processed. 3 Currently, Monika and Viktor Schwaller’s operation is being handed off to their daughter Daniela and their son-in-law Andres Siegenthaler. 4 The company relies on Krone equipment for forage harvesting. The mower, the tedder, and the hay rake are made in the Ems River region in north-western Germany. hay on another 10ha. The remaining 7ha are permanent grassland. The average field size is about 2 to 4ha. “With 800 to 1,000mm of annual rainfall, we are well positioned, although we have seen more distinct summer droughts in recent years,” Viktor Schwaller reflects. The farm-grown forage is fed to 140 to 150 female cattle. “For 40 years, we raised bulls for beef production. One year ago we transitioned to female animals. The main reason for this was the feed,” he says, going on to explain: “Bulls are primarily fed maize silage. In Switzerland, however, rotations may include only one crop of maize, which is due to the maize rootworms. So we can’t grow enough maize for feeding bulls and so we looked around for alternatives and found a buyer for female beef cattle. Admittedly, these don’t gain weight as quickly, of course, but feeding them with our own forage is more economical for us and we don’t need to buy as much concentrate. The bulls, by comparison, were fed 3kg of concentrate per day. Now we manage with 2kg.” The animals come to the farm at the age of about 21 days. They are then fed milk from a machine for eight weeks. The cattle reach slaughter age after 14 to 15 months. “The buyer of the cattle is a trader. We produce to the IP Swiss standard, the so-called BTS label which requires a bedded space for lying down, and the RAUS programme which stipulates an open exercise area. Per kilogramme of meat, we earn CHF11 on average, which is about €11,” Viktor Schwaller reports. SILAGE IN THE SILO The grassland is cut four to five times a year. This does not include 7% of the permanent grassland which is set aside and cut only after June 15. The mower is a front-mounted 3m Krone EasyCut F 320 Highland. This German-made mower impressed the Swiss farmer: “It is clear that this manufacturer specialises in forage harvesting equipment. The mower is light-weight, delivers a very good cut — and is yet very robust. The Easy- Cut has already proven itself in our sloping fields.” A rear-mounted roller conditions the cut material for faster drying. “We then turn the grass once using a six-rotor Krone tedder which speeds up the drying even more,” he explains. Finally, a Krone Swadro 46 is used for raking. “This rotary rake has a large working width of 4.6m, but with the fivewheel chassis we are still able to conform very well to the ground,” he says. The silage is then harvested with a self-loading wagon. It is stored in a Harvestore silo, a preservation process that is very common in Switzerland. “Clamping is not a proper way of ensiling in Switzerland where one cut doesn’t yield enough material to fill the clamp sufficiently. The silo, however, is filled from above with each cut being added from the top. The material is compacted by gravity and the lack of air gives us a stable fermentation curve,” the farmer believes. The feed is removed through a door at the bottom using a rotavator and then fed with a mixer feeder. “All in all, it’s a clean solution. The metering technology helps us to remove the exact amount of feed,” is his praise of this method of preservation. He adds that there is also one limiting drawback: “The last cut is usually too wet for blowing into the silo. We therefore have this material pressed into round bales and wrapped. PUMPING SLURRY TO THE FIELD Everything that goes into the livestock must come out sometime. And here, too, the Schwallers have thought of something unusual for getting the organic dung onto the field efficiently: The slurry is pumped directly to the fields through 500m pipes and is applied by a tractor with a drip hose boom. Viktor Schwaller installed the pipes himself: “It works very well for us because most of our plots are located around the farm. Although setting up the pipework was anything but easy, we can now simply pump the slurry to the field and distribute it quickly and efficiently. The hose is 400m EVERY LITRE THAT WE DISTIL IS CAREFULLY DOCU- MENTED AND MUST BE REPORTED TO THE AUTHORITIES. VIKTOR SCHWALLER long and eliminates the transport trips.” One man takes care of the pump and the agitator in the yard and the other applies the slurry with the tractor. At the end of our tour of the farm, Viktor Schwaller takes us back to the distillery salesroom. The various schnaps and liqueurs are neatly lined up in rows on the shelves, sorted by bottle size. Yet when distilling his liqueurs, Viktor Schwaller does not like to have anyone peering over his shoulder. “Everyone has their own recipes in that respect, and they are secret recipes,” he says with a grin. Incidentally, the handoff of the farm is currently in full swing: Monika and Viktor Schwaller, as well as Daniela und Andres Siegenthaler, hope to have the transfer behind them by the middle of the year. “And then I will devote myself exclusively to the nice things in life, like distilling schnaps, driving through the fields and woods with my Freiberger horse Harlay and mowing the grass with the Krone EasyCut mower,” the soon-to-be pensioner muses with pleasant anticipation. « 58 59