Hay Market Research: Switzerland

Part
01
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Part
01

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 1

The majority of the cultivated farm land in Switzerland, 730,000 hectares, is covered by meadows and grassland. The total revenue from the forage market was CHF 1.006 billion. While Switzerland is mainly an importer of agricultural products, it still exports about 129.6 metric tons a year of hay products to countries like France, Germany, and Austria. Despite looking through numerous government reports and industry reports, there was limited information about the hay production in the country. As such, we have only provided the total coverage of meadows and grasslands as well as the usual yield of hay from that type of land. All the information has been entered in the attached spreadsheet.
Part
02
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Part
02

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 2

In Switzerland, a total of 6.468 million tonnes of animal feed that comprises of grass and hay was produced in 2012. Additionally, ryegrass is the important grass species in the country because it is considered the ideal grass for the production of Swiss forage. A detailed overview of the research findings and the research strategy follows below. All our findings have also been summarized in the attached spreadsheet.

Switzerland Hay Production Analysis

  • In 2012, the domestic production and imports of animal feed in Switzerland totaled 8.4 million tonnes and the feed majorly consisted of grass and hay.
  • Out of the above total quantity, 77% was from domestic fodder crops while 12% was imported. Consequently, in 2012, 6.468 million tonnes of animal feed in Switzerland was domestically produced grass and hay.

Ryegrass

Meadows/Pasture Hay

  • Permanent meadows and pastures cover 70.9% of the country's agricultural land. In addition, most permanent meadows and pastures are natural - 84% and while 16% are artificial.
  • From the above figures, in 2015, meadows and pastures accounted for 1.078 million hectares of land in Switzerland.

Research Strategy:

After conducting an exhaustive search for the requested information on hay crop production in Switzerland, we were only able to find qualitative information for fescue grass, ryegrass, oaten grass hay, and clover and quantitative information for the production of animal feed and land area under meadow/pasture hay. The requested information for alfalfa, bentgrass, bermudagrass, kleingrass, orchardgrass, sudangrass, and timothy grass was highly unavailable in the public domain. We primarily focused our research on government and international agricultural resources such as Agrar Forschung Schweiz (Agricultural Research Switzerland), Agroscope, the Federal Office of Agriculture, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and even though we were able to find reports that provided useful information, we were unable to find any publicly available information for some of the crops. We attributed the lack of information to the specific nature of the targeted data as there is very limited information on hay crop production in Switzerland.

Calculations for the tonnes of animal feed that is produced in Switzerland and the total land area under meadows and pastures is as shown below:
  • Locally Produced Animal Feed = 77% of 8.4 million tonnes = 6.468 million tonnes.
  • Land Area Under Meadows and Pastures = 70.9% of 1.52 million hectares = 1.078 million hectares.
Part
03
of eight
Part
03

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 3

The type of hay form in Switzerland seems to vary based on whether the hay is produced in the mountainous regions or the valleys of Switzerland. Both square and round bales are prevalent. Smaller forms are preferred for logistical reasons in the mountains. Detailed percentages and metric tons were generally not available. Complete findings and relevant qualitative insights are presented in the spreadsheet. Selected findings are presented below.

Selected Findings

  • Round bales are the preferred form in the valley areas of Switzerland.
  • A market research study from 2018 indicates that the amount of square bales in general are increasing (size not specified).
  • Lucerne hay is sold primarily in square bales (size not specified).
  • Kleinballen (small round bales) are the preferred form in the mountainous regions, due to less mechanization needs and available options pertaining to logistics and transportation.
  • Wrapped bales (such as Hippoluz — Lucerne hay: 20 kg per bale, 48 bales per pallet) appears to be a relatively new concept, recommended as a safe alternative for feeding horses.
  • Quantitative data regarding wrapped bales was not found, however a google image search indicates that plastic-wrapped bales do exist in small amounts in Switzerland.
  • Information regarding pellets was not available.
  • Loose hay is sold rarely and only locally for short distances.
Part
04
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Part
04

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 4

Almost all of the hay produced in Switzerland is consumed domestically in the farm and only 0.007% of the forage products are exported to the other countries. These findings have been entered into the attached spreadsheet.
  • In 2012, the total value of the Swiss agricultural sector's output was CHF 9.974 billion, according to the Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland.
  • Out of the total CHF 9.974 billion, forage plants production contributed 10%, which equals CHF 997.4 million.
  • The average annual exchange rate of CHF/USD in 2012 was 1.067 USD. Thus, Swiss forage production in 2012 was $1.064 billion. (CHF 997.4 million x 1.067 = $1.064 billion)
  • According to the Trend Economy, Switzerland exported $77,000 forage products (swedes, mangolds, fodder roots, hay, lucerne) in 2012.
  • By analyzing the figures that we have gathered above, we calculated that only 0.007% of the domestic hay production has been exported. (Total Export $77,000 / Total Production $1.064 billion = 0.007%)
  • According to a report by the Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland, 70.9% of the utilized agricultural area is grassland and more than half of agricultural land is owned by farmers.
  • A study published in 2018 indicate that farmers do need an additional source of fodder to feed their livestock. Out of 731 respondents, about 500 farmers responded that the reason they send their animals to summer farms is to access additional course of fodder. The remaining two hundred responded that the same reason is "rather important".

Research Strategy

To determine how much of the hay produced in Switzerland is used in the farm against how much hay is sold for other uses, your research team first tried to learn if Switzerland is a net exporter or imported of hay. In this section of the research, we found that Swiss domestic hay production covers only 85% of the demand and imports the remaining 15%. Then, we confirmed the figure by calculating total hay production against the total export and learned that only 0.007% of hay is exported. (made the necessary conversions when calculating). With the figures gathered above, we concluded that most of the hay (99%) is used in the farm.

For the second half of the research, we first consulted government resources, such as the website of the Federal Statistical Office in the country. However, information regarding how much hay is made by small, local farmers versus commercial hay producers was not available. But a report from the institution revealed that most of the agricultural land is grassland and owned by farmers. It implies that most of the haymaking is done by farmers. On the other, another study showed that farmers do need an additional source of fodder. Thus, even though we were not able to prove a quantitative answer, our research showed that farmers mostly make their own hay but not entirely.
Part
05
of eight
Part
05

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 5

Dairy cows in Switzerland consume about 550,000,000 Kg of hay annually, while beef cattle consume approximately 36,000,000 Kg to 216,000,000 Kg. The required information has been populated in the attached spreadsheet.

Dairy Cows

  • According to Schweizer Bauer, the total number of dairy cattle in Switzerland is estimated to be 550,000.
  • According to a FAO report, the annual consumption of hay per dairy cow is estimated at 1,000 Kg per cow. The annual dairy cows' consumption of hay is estimated to be 550,000,000 Kg (550,000 animals X 1,000 Kg).

Beef

  • According to Schweizer Bauer, the total number of suckler cows in Switzerland is estimated to be 120,000.
  • Cattle in Switzerland consume about 15 and 20 Kg of hay per day during winter. The annual consumption of hay for beef cattle is estimated at approximately 36,000,000 Kg to 216,000,000 Kg (15Kg X 90 days of winter X 120,000 animals, to 20Kg X 90 days of winter X 120,000 animals).

Equine

  • According to Schweizer Bauer, the total number of horses in Switzerland is estimated to be 55,000.
  • Horses in Switzerland consume about 7 Kg of hay per day. The annual consumption of hay for horses is estimated at approximately 140,525,000 Kg (7Kg X 365 days X 55,000 animals).

Sheep and Goats

  • According to Schweizer Bauer, the total number of sheep and goats in Switzerland is estimated to be 375,000 (300,000 + 75,000).
  • Sheep and goats in Switzerland consume about 1.5 Kg of hay per day. The annual consumption of hay for sheep and goats is estimated at approximately 205,312,500 Kg (1.5 Kg X 365 days X 375,000 animals).

Research Strategy

We started the research by reviewing various industry databases, credible research reports, and reports from credible organizations. However, there is very limited information that directly addresses the consumption level per animal species as indicated in the spreadsheet. We estimated the annual consumption per species using daily animal consumption and the number of animals. We were unable to find relevant sources with information on pets in Switzerland and the amount of hay they consume.
Part
06
of eight
Part
06

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 6

The research focuses on the hay market in Switzerland. There is very limited information on the valuation, trade and associated common practices on hay, as clarified in the research strategy underneath. However, Switzerland is expected to align with its trading partners in the European Union due to a large amount of hay import. For more details, please refer to the following helpful findings or the attached spreadsheet, row 15, columns AS-AV.

Helpful Findings

  • The information on the methods to assess the value or quality of hay is not publicly available in Switzerland. However, nutritional content, such as protein and fiber, relative feed value (RFV), and moisture are expected to be factors that matter to the value of hay, such as lucerne or alfalfa. As Switzerland imports a significant amount of hay compared to the export, from major trading partners, such as France, Germany and Italy, it is expected to follow the practice from the trading partners in the European Union in assessing the value of the hay.
  • As approximately 42.6% of farms in Switzerland were dairy farms, they are expected to be one of the major buyers of hay for animal feed.
  • It is expected that Switzerland follows the common practice of its European Union trading partners, such as France, Germany and Italy, as they represented 88.4% of the Swiss import of hay and similar forage products in 2019. Alternatively, some international practices in large markets, such as the US, are also expected to be in Switzerland. For example, forage maturity affects the quality of hay, in other words, the earlier the hay harvest date is (i.e. less mature), the better the quality of hay is; hence sellers are expected to maximize their profits as soon as the hay is harvested.

Research Strategy

The research team reviewed a series of industry databases, research and conference papers. There is very limited information on the practices adopted in the Swiss market, regarding hay valuation and trade. However, based on the country's significant import of hay from its European Union trading partners, Switzerland is expected to be in line with the common practice of its trading partners. It is also expected to adopt some international trading practices from large markets, such as the US.
Part
07
of eight
Part
07

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 7

OVERVIEW OF HAY MARKET IN SWITZERLAND

This is an overview of the characteristics of the hay market in Switzerland. More details have been provided in the attached spreadsheet.

Key Findings

  • In Switzerland, land use for agriculture amounts to 37% of the total area with pastures and meadows occupying the largest parts.
  • 85% of animal feeds consumed in the country come from their domestic production and only import 15% of animal feed to supplement their feed rations.
  • There has been a decrease in the number of small farms by 2.3% and an increase of 1.6% in the number of large farms. Almost three-quarters of the farms specialize in livestock farming.
  • The long and harsh winter periods require large amounts of conserved feeds.

Growth

  • In 2018 there was a persistent drought that led to a rise in imports of hay. In the first nine months, the country imported 179,800 tonnes.
  • The impact of climate change could shift the growth of the hay market in Switzerland as the grasslands would dry up and the cost of farming would rise. Subsequently, the following year saw 768 farmers calling it quits.
  • With a decrease in farmland, it would lead to growth in the hay market. This is because more people would rely on hay to meet their nutritional needs as opposed to grazing on pasture.

Key Trends

  • Hay drying technology has developed over recent years. The Stierli family in Aristau in Switzerland had started using a new plant in 2015, which provides improved feed quality with the lowest possible energy consumption thanks to innovative technology and intelligent controlling.
  • A large portion of the agricultural land is located in the mountains in Switzerland. Machinery manufacturers such as Aebi and Lindner have introduced several machines over the years that can tackle the slopes with ease, including self-propelled pedestrian mowers with steel wheels, low center of gravity tractors, silage wagons, and many more.

Research Strategy:

After conducting an exhaustive search in the public domain, we were unable to find some of the requested information i.e exact figures and data on the growth of the hay market. We primarily focused our research on agricultural resources that provided us with information on the condition of agriculture and agricultural production in Switzerland including information on the country's hay market. Although we were able to find some reports that were useful in providing part of the requested information, information on the growth of the hay market remained unavailable. We attributed the lack of information in the public domain to the specific nature of the targeted information.
Part
08
of eight
Part
08

Hay Market Research: Switzerland, Part 8

Switzerland has a very harsh climate for agriculture but a fairly big hay market in terms of available land. Meadows and grasslands make 70.2% of the total cultivated land in the country. Unfortunately, due to the harsh conditions, cost of production is quite high for the local farmers. The dairy production, while a cornerstone of the agricultural sector, has also been declining in recent years. Climate change and soil erosion because of the heavy machinery used in harvesting and land maintenance are some of the biggest threats to the Swiss agriculture sector. On the other hand, the development of agritech solutions can help Swiss farmers increase the yield and decrease the cost of production considerably through technologies that save time and provide precise insights that help farmers apply the correct techniques for the specific crop and land they have. All the information has been included in row 15 of the spreadsheet.
Sources
Sources