Swiss agriculture 2021 - extreme year ensures historically low harvests

23.12.2021

December 23, 2021 - (Source © lid.ch) - Written by the Agricultural Information Service LID Editing and texts: Renate Hodel and Jonas Ingold

Extreme year makes for historically low harvests

Summary. The weather left nothing out in 2021. Late frost, a lot of precipitation with flooding and massive hailstorms had a massive impact on the harvest in many places. After all - the fall still saved one or the other.

Some summer fruits were severely affected by the weather. In the case of plums, only 40 percent of the five-year average could be harvested, and in the case of apricots only 35 percent. Things went better with the berries - also because many are protected by foil tunnels.

Hardly any cider pears

In the case of apples, the balance varied depending on the variety, but very few cider apples were harvested. The last time the cider pears were so poor was in 1993.

Frosty nights, storms with flooding and hail also affected the vegetable harvest. Normally no lettuce has to be imported in summer, this year around half of the goods were temporarily missing in July and August. The situation improved somewhat in the autumn. However, the situation will keep the vegetable industry busy until next year, as stored vegetables are also affected.

Less disease pressure on beets

According to estimates, the potato harvest for conventional goods is around 30 percent below the five-year average, and for organic goods around half. But the quality of the harvested potatoes is good. The sugar factories were also underutilized due to the rather low harvest, although the beet harvest turned out better than feared. In addition, the disease pressure on the beets was lower than in other years.

The bread grain harvest is around 30 percent lower than in the previous year and the demand for rapeseed for Swiss goods cannot be met.

In viticulture it looks different depending on the canton. While the harvest in Valais is only half as high as normal, Graubünden is only just below average. The quality of the wines should be very good.

The forest, on the other hand, was happy about the large amount of precipitation and was finally able to recover somewhat after the dry previous years.

Historically little honey

Historisch wenig Honig

There were also crop failures for animal products, so the spring harvest for honey fell through almost completely and the summer harvest could not make up for it either. Hardly any beekeeper can remember so little yield.

Pig production increased in the second half of the year. Prices are the same as they were 50 years ago. However, pig farmers are positive about the future due to their focus on quality meat.

Egg production was again at a high level this year. Demand picked up towards the holidays, but warehouses were still well stocked in November.

The demand for Swiss poultry is unbroken and continues to boom. Production has also increased this year.

Overall, 2021 was a good year for the Swiss dairy industry. Towards the end of the year, the milk volume shows a slight downward trend, but with good demand. While dairy products lost some ground in 2021, cheese production increased slightly. It is important to take the momentum and the good market situation into the new year.

The weather The year was characterized by lots of wetness

According to the Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology, the winter of 2020/2021 was very rainy in Switzerland. Most areas received extensive rainfall, especially the southern side of the Alps, where the winter was also markedly lacking in sun. In January, eastern Switzerland also recorded one of the heaviest falls of fresh snow since measurements began, with local record amounts.

In May, after the two months of March and April with little precipitation, there was plenty of rain in most areas of Switzerland - with the exception of the southern side of the Alps. This regionally registered the fourth or fifth sunniest spring in the last 60 years. In addition, Switzerland experienced the coldest spring in over 30 years. The months of April and May in particular were cold.

The summer of 2021 was one of the wettest north of the Alps since measurements began. In the Central Alps, it was locally the wettest summer in the more than 100-year records. The year was very wet. The persistently large amounts of rain stopped north of the Alps towards the middle of Julyseveral rivers and lakes burst their banks.

In autumn, the weather calmed down a bit and with around 20 sunny days, September in Switzerland turned out to be a wonderful month of fine weather. In some areas it was even one of the sunniest Septembers in the last 60 years and locally one of the mildest Septembers since measurements began.

After the sunny September, October in Switzerland was also a sunny and largely dry autumn month. Both September and October saw widespread below-average precipitation: In September, there was not even a third of the September average precipitation, and in October there was less than half the October average precipitation in some areas in the north and in the Alps.

The plants Difficult season for summer fruit

Damages in the millions

According to the Swiss Fruit Association (SOV), the summer fruit season literally fell through: while spring frost and summer hail caused considerable damage to fruit crops, at least berry cultivation was able to defy the weather.

The cold spring with numerous frosty nights, the rainy summer and the storms with hail damage have led to a sobering balance sheet. While the cherry harvest was still respectable at around 1,500 tons and thus 72 percent of the five-year average, the plums and apricots showed a different picture: the yields for plums were only 40 percent at 1,300 tons and for apricots at 2` 200 tons is only 35 percent of the five-year average. And the storms not only damaged the fruit and trees, but also entire infrastructure. This has resulted in damage in the tens of millions.

Weather slows down berry boom

Meanwhile, the situation looked more positive for the berries. The harvest corresponded to the average of the last five years for strawberries with a good 7,000 tons, raspberries with almost 2,150 tons, blackberries with 530 tons and blueberries and lingonberries with 565 tons. This is also thanks to modern cultivation methods: a large proportion of berry crops in Switzerland are grown under polytunnels.

However, the weather has slowed down the small boom in raspberries and blackberries: Both the harvest volumes of raspberries and blackberries have increased steadily in recent years and climbed, for example, from 2016 with 1,525 tons of raspberries to 2,255 tons in 2020. In July, the SOV was still expecting a domestic harvest of 2,300 tons of raspberries - a further increase of 50 tons.

This figure was missed over the course of the harvest season and the crop fell some 100 tons short of last year's. Difficult season for summer fruits

The same picture emerged for blackberries, whose harvest volumes increased by 280 tons to 663 tons in the last five years up to 2020. Here, too, this year's harvest, at minus 130 tons, was lower than last year.

Apples defy bad weather - pears not so much

In the case of dessert pome fruit, at least the apple cultures survived the poor weather conditions relatively well. With around 120,000 tons of dessert apples, the yield was almost as high as in 2020. According to the SOV, however, there were differences depending on the variety: the most popular varieties Gala, Golden Delicious and Braeburn recorded an increase in yield - with Boskoop, Idared, Milwa and Elstar as well Gravensteiner, however, had a significantly lower harvest, as these crops were more severely affected by frost and alternation.

There were larger harvest losses for table pears. The yield of a good 18,500 tons means a minus of around 20 percent compared to the previous year. The crop density of the pears was consistently lower than in the previous year, and the harvest of the 8 / 30 Williams variety was particularly poor - at just over 2,400 tons, more than 40 percent fewer Williams pears were harvested than in 2020.

Extremely deep cider harvest

A total of 3,800 tons of cider pears and 42,250 tons of cider apples were delivered to the Swiss cider factories and processed - not even half of last year's harvest. In addition, a similarly small harvest of cider pears was last achieved in 1993. On the other hand, a qualitatively good harvest was brought in despite the weather-related challenging production conditions.

Despite extensive market relief measures, the cider factories had stocks before the harvest this year that cover more than a year's needs. The sometimes difficult sales situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic also contributed to this. According to the SOV, the low harvest in 2021 will lead to a reduction in inventories.

Exceptional situation with vegetables

The storms in the summer led to a difficult and unusual season for vegetable producers. In April there were frosty nights and in June there were storms with devastating hailstorms and also floods.

All of this affected vegetable production in 2021. Some of the producers were no longer able to meet demand. Some even had total failures. "Some types of vegetables were hit harder than others, for example the situation with salads was exceptional," explains Markus Waber, Deputy Director of the Association of Swiss Vegetable Producers (VSGP). Normally, no lettuce would have to be imported in summer. "This year, however, around half of the goods were temporarily missing in July and August," he adds. In the autumn, the situation recovered somewhat thanks to new plantings and better weather.

In addition to lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and fennel were also badly affected by the weather. Imports were correspondingly higher than in a normal year.

Although no rain fell in the greenhouse, there was a lack of sun and therefore light, which also meant that the harvest was lower than usual. "Across the entire range of vegetables, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the usual quantities were missing in midsummer," summarizes Markus Waber.

To be felt for a long time

The effects can also be felt in stored vegetables such as carrots or onions, where it is estimated that between 25 and 30 percent less can be stored. The situation will keep the industry busy well into next year: "This means that in the spring we have to add imported goods earlier and to a greater extent than usual," says Markus Waber.

Wine: Top quality and historically low yields

Like other industries, the weather made things difficult for wine. Frosty nights in April froze shoots and in summer hail destroyed some harvests. The grapes didn't like the cool, wet weather in summer either, and the fungal disease mildew caused major problems. Only in autumn did the weather improve for the grapes.

According to the Winzerinfo for German-speaking Switzerland, it was a year that could hardly be surpassed in terms of negative headlines. In most cantons, there were significant declines in the harvest volume, some well below the 10-year average, for example in Schaffhausen, in Aargau and in Bern. In Lucerne, people are talking about the smallest harvest of all time. A different picture emerges in the canton of Graubünden: The harvest there is only slightly below the long-term average. This was made possible, among other things, by the optimal conditions during the Wimmet. In Valais, on the other hand, things are not looking good again. The industry association of Valais wines assumes that the yields will be only half as high as in a normal year. The winegrowers do not remember having ever achieved such low yields. Frost, mildew and hail made sure of that. But the grapes that have survived the year are of the best quality.

In the canton of Vaud, the wine year was up and down - but in the end the harvest turned out better than feared. Here, too, mildew and hail caused damage. Overall, the Vaud wine harvest was lower than usual, according to the Office des Vins Vaudois. Accordingly, the Communauté Interprofessionnelle du Vin Vaudois (CIVV) is assuming a harvest of 19.8 million liters, which is almost 16 percent lower than in the previous year. Thanks to the good autumn weather with sunny days and cool nights, the quality is very good.

Potatoes suffered from wetness

Potatoes suffered badly from the weather in 2021. It started well, the planting took place under good weather conditions. The cool weather and frost delayed the growth of early potatoes.

Then came the extreme weather conditions with floods and hail. In particular, the large amount of water caused problems for the tubers in some regions. The potatoes are small this year, so the yields are lower than usual. After all, the quality of the potatoes that could be harvested is right.

Exact harvest quantities are still missing, as no yield surveys were carried out in 2021 due to the exceptional weather in August. However, the industry organization Swisspatat carries out a survey of potato stocks every month. According to Christian Bucher, Managing Director of Swisspatat, according to this data, the 2021 harvest for conventional potatoes should be around 30 percent below the five-year average, and for organic potatoes around half of the average of recent years could be harvested.

Sugar factories are not working to capacity

The sugar harvest is around 210,000 tons of sugarr was below average, but not as bad as first feared given the difficult conditions for arable crops.

Nevertheless, both the sugar plant in Aarberg and the sugar plant in Frauenfeld could process more sugar beet and thus increase the degree of self-sufficiency. Around 320,000 tons of sugar are used in Switzerland every year - Schweizer Zucker AG can cover around two thirds of this. More than 80 percent of the beets processed come from Swiss cultivation, 82 percent of which are grown according to ecological performance verification, 17 percent according to IP-Suisse specifications and 1 percent organically. The rest is covered with imports of beets from Germany, but also with finished sugar, mainly from the EU.

This year's sowing of the sugar beet was still normal, but the cold, frosty nights in spring had affected the still young plants and in July the wetness of the wet conditions led to a standstill in growth and in some cases even to total failure due to flooded fields, explains Guido Stäger, CEO of Schweizer Zucker AG. "But the weather was not always bad for the beet - compared to previous years with severe drought, this year was a bit more balanced, but still too wet in practically all regions," says Stäger.

As a result, the wet conditions had a major impact on the yield and sugar content. The beautiful autumn was able to compensate for some things, in particular the sugar content had increased. Compared to the often healthy and strong cabbage, only medium-sized beets could be dug up underneath when harvesting. After all, the beet growers had less to contend with viral yellowing or the Syndrome Basses Richesses (SBR) this year - the disease pressure on the sugar beet was generally less pronounced than in other years.

Beet planters are wanted

The number of beet producers has suffered in recent years. In 2021 there were still almost 4,000 Swiss beet growers - almost 300 fewer than in the previous year. This also affects the productivity of the factory: "We need more beets again," Guido Stäger appeals to the farmers. Schweizer Zucker AG is doing a lot to convince Swiss farmers to start growing sugar beet again. The political framework, which is now secured again until 2026, would help because it guarantees a high level of planning security and it is also financially worthwhile to plant beets again. In addition, the compatibility of sustainable and ecological yet economical sugar beet cultivation remains a challenge. In contrast to the EU, the ban on the insecticide “Gaucho” for seed treatment remains in place in Switzerland.

Of course, the «Gaucho» mordant was a very effective means - but now it is important to look ahead and find alternative solutions for tackling viral yellowing with more ecological measures, says Guido Stäger: «Research is in full swing and so are we are optimistic - we all want environmentally friendly pesticides, but the sugar industry must also be able to work economically.

A third less bread grain

Brot und Backwaren der Schweiz

This year's grain harvest was characterized by low yields and low harvest volumes. Losses were recorded for all crops. Bread wheat with minus 30 percent, as well as spelt with minus 24 percent and rye even with minus 55 percent, according to the industry organization for grain, oilseeds and protein plants Swiss Granum, showed significantly lower harvest quantities this year than last year.

Overall, this year's harvest resulted in a bakeable bread grain quantity of 304,079 tons - over 110,000 tons less than in 2020. The average yields were low for all crops due to the weather and both bread wheat, spelt and rye were severely affected by sprouting. However, the non-bakable bread grain amounting to around 95,000 tons can be marketed in the feed sector.

Low average yields were also recorded for feed grain types. The barley harvest was a good 20,000 tons lower than last year, the triticale harvest was 9,000 tons less and the grain maize harvest, at 97,660 tons, was not even half of last year's yield. Stephan Scheuner, Director of Swiss Granum, explains why the reasons are still being speculated: “On the one hand, there are certainr the weather with the hailstorms and basically low yields are responsible for the low harvest volume. On the other hand, a quarter of this year's harvest went into silo maize and this amount is now missing from grain maize.»

Overall, there was a feed grain harvest of almost 523,000 tons - over 30,000 tons less than last year, including non-bakable bread grain.

Oilseed: Demand for rapeseed not covered

Schweizer Raps

The oilseeds are also yielding smaller harvests this year: In the case of rapeseed, the effects of the weather and the increased pest pressure are making themselves felt in a lower harvest. The framework agreement for contract production would have guaranteed Swiss producers a purchase of 106,000 tonnes for this year. In Switzerland as a whole, however, only 77,073 tonnes of rapeseed were harvested this year - around 12 percent less than in the previous year and a difference of around 30,000 tonnes compared to the guaranteed purchase quantity. The demand for domestic rapeseed cannot be covered with this harvest volume.

The provisional sunflower harvest of 11,142 tons is only slightly below that of the previous year - however, more sunflowers were grown on 300 hectares this year, which significantly worsens the balance. In addition, last year's harvest fell short of the 2019 harvest, and sunflower production continued to suffer accordingly.

At 5,318 tons, this year's soybean harvest is one of the few crops not to fall short of last year's harvest. Around 300 tons more soya were harvested, but here too the numbers have to be put into perspective, because soya production also recorded an increase in area. Soya was grown on a good 200 hectares more - compared to the previous year, losses were also recorded here. Soy apparently suffered less from the adverse conditions than other crops

A turbulent year for the Swiss forest

Schweizer Wald bei agroswiss

It is thanks to the heavy rainfall at the beginning of the year that the Swiss forest was able to recover from the two record-dry summers of 2018 and 2019, which resulted in large quantities of damaged wood. Wood products for construction have achieved record prices, in some cases their price has quadrupled within a few months.

In the Swiss forest, however, these price increases are hardly noticeable. The price of wood from Swiss forests was at a historic low until mid-2021. More than half of Swiss forest operations ran deficits in 2020. For this reason, WaldSchweiz demanded in April that the price of wood across all ranges must increase by at least a third. The message got through - prices recovered slightly towards the end of the year. In addition, Daniel Fässler, President of ForestSwiss, submitted a parliamentary initiative to the Council of States entitled “Price recommendations for wood from Swiss forests too”. This is intended to ensure that target prices for Swiss wood can be issued in the future. That should help to finally achieve fair prices for the valuable and native raw material from the Swiss forest. Text: Florian Landolt, WaldSchweiz

The animals

Milk with good market condition to preserve

According to the Association of Swiss Milk Producers (SMP), the year 2021 was positive for the Swiss dairy industry in Switzerland, but also required a lot of flexibility. The milk volume practically stagnated by October at plus 0.3 percent with a downward trend and with good demand. The high demand in the retail trade caused by the coronavirus in 2020 has returned to normal, but is currently still above the levels of 2019.

The drop in dairy products of around 3 percent was compensated for in other areas. Cheese production increased by 1.7 percent from January to October. In the same period, cheese exports increased by 8.2 percent and the import pressure, which also increased by 5.9 percent, was cushioned somewhat.

Butter production at a low In 2020, butter production was at a low - also due to the coronavirus. This is likely to be 3 to 4 percent lower in the current year 2021, mainly due to the development in the fourth quarter als 2020. However, due to the early release of imports for other brands, there was always enough Swiss butter available to supply the Swissness brands "Floralp" and "Die Butter" without any gaps. A total of around 3,200 tons of butter imports were necessary.

This market development, supported by a poor feed situation due to the weather, meant that Swiss milk was a sought-after commodity in 2021. The dairy milk price in Switzerland was raised by around 4 centimes, and that for cheese milk by almost 3 centimes on average. The A and B target prices for dairy milk were also raised over the course of the year by 2 centimes to 73 centimes and 2.4 centimes respectively. According to the SMP, the development also shows that the bid to introduce the "green carpet" on September 1, 2019 has now left a lasting mark on the market.

Trend towards more sustainable milk

In 2021, too, the positioning of Swiss milk in the market was a priority. On the one hand, an information campaign on the sustainability of Swiss milk was launched and, on the other hand, work continued to motivate other milk producers to take part in the industry standard for sustainable Swiss milk, the “green carpet”. Today, around 11,500 producers meet the standard, which represents 85 percent of Swiss dairy milk and a good 20 percent of cheese milk. The trend continues, especially with dairy milk. The standard is an important differentiator for Swiss milk and dairy products compared to foreign competition.

Swiss milk will remain a scarce commodity in 2022. Market experts expect demand for milk and milk products to increase by more than 20 percent worldwide in the next 10 years - with milk volumes stagnating. These good conditions must also be used in Switzerland in order to achieve further economic improvements.

The situation abroad

Of the five most important milk-exporting countries in the world - New Zealand, USA, Australia, Argentina and Europe - only Argentina has shown growth in milk production this year. With demand from Asia remaining strong at the same time, the prices for milk powder, butter and cheese on the world market rose to record highs towards the end of 2021.

Similar trends were also evident in Europe in 2021. For example, milk production in Germany has fallen to its lowest level since 2017 at minus 1.5 percent. The good situation on the world market has also boosted the EU milk markets for butter, cheese and milk powder. Against this background, producer prices in the EU have cracked the magic mark of 40 euro cents.

Challenging alpine season

Alpwirtschaft in der Schweiz

The 2021 alpine season was characterized by a late alpine upwelling and cool, wet weather conditions, which led to lower forage, milk and cheese yields in most regions. The many rainy days required a lot of stamina and good pasture management from the alpine people, says Andrea Koch, Managing Director of the Swiss Alpine Association (SAV).

This year it became clear what the biggest medium-term problem for alpine farming is: the wolf. The situation has deteriorated again: herd protection measures are being circumvented more and more and the number of killed calves and cattle has increased drastically. “The current system of herd protection and regulation does not do justice to this situation in any way. Alpine farmers and pet owners feel frustrated, powerless and helpless," says Koch. A quick adjustment of the hunting law is therefore an absolute priority for the SAV.

Pork: Prices like 50 years ago

Schweizer Fleisch

The price increase in the last 50 years is 270 percent, but the pig prices ex farm are unchanged despite increased costs. Adrian Schütz from Suisseporcs, the Swiss Pig Breeding and Pig Producers Association, emphasizes that the well-trained pig farmers are looking forward to the coming years with increasing protein requirements for the growing population, the high quality and passionate commitment.

"Balance of the daily needs on the plate and the naturally long-term piglet production is challenging," says Schütz. In the event of an undersupplyg Switzerland loses overall added value and animal welfare due to displacement with imports. With the current increase in the amount of pork in the second half of the year, however, the income from the daily work in the stable has unfortunately collapsed. «Necessary investments can no longer be made as a result. In the pig cycle, experience has shown that the counter-reaction lasts two years or more,” says Schütz.

The pig farmers in Switzerland have small, rural structures. Consumers have a wide selection of Swiss meat from additional animal welfare, ecology and farming programs. According to Adrian Schütz, around 60 percent of the entire range meet extended label requirements. Only half of them are bought with added value, the organic share is less than 2 percent. “The factory farming initiative in particular would have serious repercussions for farms with livestock. Something is asked for that is not bought. Everyone would then have to meet the organic level in terms of keeping conditions, which would make keeping and thus consumer prices enormously more expensive and radically restrict the range,” says Schütz.

The awareness of closed cycles, regional offers and needs-based nutrition of people and animals is increasing. A postulate recently adopted by Parliament gives the Federal Council the task of drawing up a comprehensive food policy. All levels should be involved in this and make their contribution to improving sustainability when eating. At the same time, local agriculture should be able to maintain its market share. Adrian Schütz is convinced that Swiss pigs played a key role in using by-products and with additional benefits for biogas, humus formation and valuable substances for soil fertility.

The industry is also focusing on animal health: As of April 2021, the pig farmers implemented the Health Program Plus, successfully introduced the electronic treatment journal and thus created transparency. According to Schütz, this is unique.

Pig semen as an export hit

The export success of pig semen also shows that Swiss pig breeding is moving in the right direction. At the beginning of March, the breeding company Suisag exported fresh semen to Africa for the first time. American immigrants want to use Swiss genetics to set up professional pig production. Only a little later, Suisag announced the cooperation with the Belgian breeding association VPF. And at the beginning of November, Suisag founded a subsidiary that serves the German, Belgian and Dutch markets.

Egg production increases again significantly

Schweizer Eier legen zu

Egg production started the new year at a high level, although the beginning of the year was, as usual, characterized by flock changes: To ensure that there were enough Swiss eggs on the shelves for Easter, the flock changes are planned in advance so that the available barn capacities are optimally used in March be able. The demand for eggs also remained high due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying measures, and the production of organic eggs was not always sufficient to meet the above-average demand. On the other hand, demand for egg products in out-of-home consumption was at a lower level, so that the supply in this area could be ensured without any problems.

Despite the significantly increased domestic egg production, around 2,000 tonnes more table eggs were imported in spring than in the same period two years earlier - in the pre-coronavirus year 2019.

After Easter, demand then fell more sharply than expected and not all table eggs were taken up by the market, which led to a slight overproduction.

57 million more eggs

With the easing of the pandemic measures, consumption shifted more out of the home again, but the catering establishments and the food service were still ordering cautiously. In addition, the number of laying hens continued to rise, so that 5.2 percent more Swiss eggs were laid by the end of July. Accordingly, significantly fewer shell eggs and processed eggs were imported.

Because demand remained below average in the summer - the summer slump was bigger than expected and demand was lower than in the pre-coronavirus year 2019. With the cool weather, the demand for eggs rose only slowly and remained low in autumn. Accordingly, inventories could only be reduced slowly. Due to the high stock levels in the summer and the lowdemand for Swiss processed eggs, these had to be traded at imported egg prices. On the other hand, the import of processing eggs was significantly lower: 901 tons less than in 2020 and 1,761 tons less than in 2019. Nevertheless, the industry applied for an additional quota for table eggs. Since around 2,000 tonnes more eggs were imported in spring due to the pandemic, it was feared that this amount could be missing at the end of the year. At the end of November, 602 tonnes more table eggs were finally imported than in 2020 and 216 tonnes more table eggs than in 2019. However, since the beginning of June, fewer eggs have been imported overall than in the previous year.

Swiss egg production continued at a high level into the winter. The number of laying hens continued to rise, so that by the end of October almost 57 million more Swiss eggs were being laid than in the same period last year - by the end of October there were a total of around 950 million eggs. Although the demand for eggs in the retail trade picked up again, partly due to the upcoming baking season, the demand still only slowly recovered from the summer low - accordingly, the warehouses were still full in November. Finally, according to estimates by Aviforum, domestic production in 2021 was 7.7 percent higher than in the previous year. That means 81.7 million more eggs than in the previous year. In total, around 3.5 million hens laid 1` 145 million eggs in 2021. Organic egg production made an above-average contribution to this growth. Last year it grew by over 11 percent to 219 million eggs.

Beef production slightly down

From January to October 2021, beef production in Switzerland was 0.7 percent below the previous year's figure, according to Agristat figures. In the case of veal, the decline was more pronounced at 5.1 percent. On the other hand, according to the industry organization Proviande, the calves in January to October were slightly heavier on average than in the same period of the previous year.

According to Agristat, the prices for ammunition, oxen and cattle remained at a high level in November. The prices for slaughter calves are also at a high level.

Unabated demand for Swiss poultry meat

The strong upturn in poultry farming observed since 2006 will continue in 2021 and is expected to increase production value by around 5 percent to CHF 0.7 billion this year.

In 2020, the total chicken production was 103`865 tons. According to Agristat, between January and October of this year, 3.5 percent more domestic poultry was slaughtered and processed than in the corresponding period of the previous year. Chick hatches reported through the end of October continue to show a 6 percent increase over the same period last year. According to the Swiss poultry producers, however, the hatches are of little use in making a forecast, since it is not possible to predict the weight at which the chickens will be slaughtered. However, the figures indicate that consumers will be happy to buy Swiss poultry in 2021 as well.

Historically little honey

This year's bad weather has also significantly reduced the honey harvest of Swiss beekeepers: On average, there was 7.2 kilograms of honey per bee colony in 2021 - this year's honey harvest is 75 percent smaller than last year and the honey on sale is also more expensive due to the scarcity become. According to the umbrella organization of the Swiss beekeeping associations Apisuisse, very few beekeepers in Switzerland can remember such an exceptionally bad harvest as this year.

After last year’s record harvest with up to 40 kilograms per bee colony in some cantons, the year 2021 has shown itself from a completely different side: Because the spring was too cold and wet, the spring honey harvest was already poor and the summer honey quantities also suffered greatly Weather with lots of rain, hailstorms and flooding. As a result, the bees could not fly out to collect nectar and pollinate the meadow flowers and fruit trees. The bees even had to be fed regionally, otherwise they would have starved.

Across Switzerland, the average spring honey harvest was just 1.9 kilograms per bee colony - in the previous year it was an average of 11.2 kilograms per bee colony. The bad weather prevented proper forest flowering in the summer, but short periods of calming down in the weather helped the bees to develop special nectar sources such as linden blossoms and late blackberry blossoms. As a result, there was an average Switzerland-wide summer honey harvest of 5.3 kilograms per bee colony, which was significantly lower than the 18.7 kilograms harvested in the previous year. Only the canton of Ticino remained in the costume months from Schlreal weather largely spared and, despite a decline compared to the previous year, was still able to achieve a total honey quantity of 25.9 kilograms per bee colony. More than twice as much as the "best" cantons north of the Alps. Historically little honey

Sources and further information

Agristat, www.agristat.ch Agroscope, www.agroscope.ch Apisuisse, www.apisuisse.ch Milk sector organization, www.ip-lait.ch Federal Office for Agriculture, www.blw.admin.ch Federal Statistical Office, www.bfs. admin.ch Federal Customs Administration, www.ezv.admin.ch GalloSuisse, www.gallosuisse.ch MeteoSwiss, www.meteoschweiz.ch Swiss Farmers' Association, www.sbv-usp.ch Swiss milk producers, www.swissmilk.ch Swiss poultry producers, www. schweizer-gefluegel.ch Swiss Fruit Association, www.swissfruit.ch Schweizer Zucker AG, www.zucker.ch Swiss Alpine Association SAV, www.alpwirtschaft.ch Swiss Granum, www.swissgranum.ch Swisspatat, www.kartoffel.ch Swiss Wine Promotion , www.swisswine.ch Association of Swiss Vegetable Producers, www.gemuese.ch WaldSchweiz, www.waldschweiz.ch

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