Switzerland

Stefan Naef's farm, Switzerland

About the business

Founded

1978

Personnel

Stefan Naef

Regula Naef

Peter Naef (senior partner)

Livestock

20 milkers, 15 to 20 young stock as followers, 4 to 5 fattening calves in the winter

Area under cultivation

34 hectares grassland

5 hectares forest

Crop rotation

Meadows and grassland only

Soil type

Heavy clay, relatively low in humus

Annual precipitation

1,600 mm

Machinery

1 ELIOS 220

1 LINER 370

1 VOLTO 58

1 mowing truck

1 hillside loader wagon

About Switzerland

Population

Approx. 8.1 million

Area

41,285 km² (4.1 million hectares)

Area under cultivation

1.05 million hectares

Number of farms

57,600

Average farm size

18.3 hectares

"Thanks to machines and mechanisation, you can work your land much faster today than you could 15 years ago!"

 

Although Stefan Naef would like to have an occasional lie-in, he enjoys this quiet time with his animals and plans his labour-intensive day while he does the morning milking. Depending on the time of year, his day might begin at 5.30 a.m. and is filled with a wide variety of jobs: milking, indoor work, field work, looking after the machines, maintenance and repair work and landscape conservation.

 

The demands placed on milk production for cheese-making are extremely high. Stefan Naef explains the rules for cheese-making: "Cheese-making is a very sensitive process. You have to make sure that it doesn't contain any unwanted substances, you can't even use silage." So the only feed he uses is hay. Supplementary feeding with concentrates would involve additional expenditure and would quickly tip the cost-benefit calculation into negative figures. The annual milk yield is approximately 6,000 to 6,500 litres per cow. Stefan Naef is happy with this performance. He receives a milk price of around 0.70 Swiss francs per litre – approximately 0.57 euros.

 

Stefan Naef has deliberately chosen to focus on high-quality milk production for cheese-making and faces bigger challenges in his field work as a result. Haymaking is labour-intensive and stable, dry weather is essential during the haymaking period. It is usually possible to get three cuts a year, which take place in May, July and September because the first snow can fall as early as October.

 

For the hay harvest Stefan Naef uses an ELIOS 220 with a LINER 370. Of course, he also uses the specialist machinery that is typical of this alpine region such as a mowing truck with a 2 metre working width and a hillside loader wagon for the steep slopes. He explains his decision as follows: "This combination enables me to use the ELIOS effectively in our hay meadows and to get the work done more smoothly. In testing weather conditions or when the ground is wet it's difficult to drive on the steep slopes. You need to be very careful." The machines are also efficient and versatile. Describing the changes in dairy farming, he adds: "Thanks to machines and mechanisation, you can work your land much faster today than you could 15 years ago!". He also uses the ELIOS 220 to carry out typical meadow management work such as slurry and manure spreading.


Picture gallery


Making-of – Behind the scenes