Nature is up to three weeks behind due to the wet and cold weather. Therefore, fodder supplies are running low. The infestation of mice exacerbates the problem.
Last year was incomparable as far as the Alpine season was concerned. At the beginning of June, many farmers moved their cattle to Alpine pastures. This year, the start of the Alpine season seems to be just the opposite.
"Because spring was wet and cold this year, everything is delayed by three weeks," says Christoph Bach, president of the Agricultural Association Saanenland. It is crucial whether it remains wet and cold or warmer temperatures push the melting of snow and grass growth on the Alps. Until recently, snow fell almost daily at 1600 metres altitude.
Mice infestation exacerbates problem
Depending on the location of the valley farms, farmers have had to buy additional fodder since April. The grass is still growing slowly, says Bach, especially on farms with shady locations or at elevated altitudes.
"Certain fluctuations are normal," he says. The past springs were often mild and ideal for agriculture. Now, once again, the opposite is the case. Particularly in Turbach the situation is tense due to the large infestation of mice.
More fodder sold
Landi Simmental-Saanenland confirms that farmers buy more hay than in other years. So far, procurement has not been a problem, but prices are rising steadily, says Niklaus Sulliger, head of agriculture. Especially in the organic sector, procurement is somewhat challenging. Sulliger emphasises that last year was a good hay year. Many farmers produced enough fodder, and therefore not everybody depends on additional feed.
Based on AvS/Blanca Burri