Switzerland Livestock and Forestry
Livestock breeding and dairy industry. – According to the 1866 census, Switzerland’s livestock herd consisted of: 100,324 horses, 5475 mules and donkeys, 993,290 cattle, 304,428 pigs, 447,000 sheep, 375,480 goats. In 1931 there were respectively 140,300 horses, 4,543 mules and donkeys, 1,609,410 cattle (of which 868,916 cows), 926,420 pigs, 187,754 sheep, 237,995 goats. The number of cattle and pigs has therefore grown a lot and horses are also on the rise; the average weight of the animals, their yield in milk, meat, etc. also increased strongly.
The first place is held by cattle: with 39 cattle per 100 residents Switzerland comes to Europe after Denmark and at a distance from it, and has about the same number of them as Austria and France. The regions where breeding is most intense are in the central plateau. 54% of the bovine herd is made up of dairy cows, the production of milk (including goat milk) is around 28,750,000 liters per year (average of 1932-34); of these 13,176,080 liters are used in the dairy industry, which is flourishing above all in the plateau and in the valleys of the Pre-Alps, and is now increasingly oriented towards the industrial and cooperative dairy; it is the subject of various treatments (institutes for the control of production, schools-dairies, etc.). The most important production destined for being export of fatty cheeses, which require non-skimmed milk, the production of butter is of secondary importance, indeed not even enough for internal consumption. Swiss cheeses – fat and hard – Emmenthal, from the valley of the same name, Gruyère, from the locality of the same name, etc., are world famous and, despite the difficulties encountered on the markets in recent years, their export constitutes an important asset of I earn. Cheese production accounts for over half of dairy production; about 12% is given by the production of butter, the remainder by that of condensed milk which is mainly prepared for export or to be used in the manufacture of milky flour and chocolate.
The production of beef is not enough to cover the internal demand, which has greatly increased. The value of the sale of breeding animals is low compared to that of the production of dairy products and meat; however the cattle fairs of Switzerland (Schwyz, Einsiedeln, Alstatten, Erenbach, Ostermundingen, etc.), already known since the century. XVII, are still famous and are frequented by breeders from European and overseas countries.
Horse breeding is of secondary importance: the exception is the Franches Montagnes area in the Jura, which feeds numerous robust and highly prized horses in its vast pastures. The pigs whose breeding is well associated with the dairy industry, because they feed on its residues, recorded the greatest increase (three times as much) from 1866 to 1931; they provide for over 90%, in meat, but only slightly more than half in fat, to the internal demand. There is a sharp decrease in sheep and goats that are reared mainly in the Alpine area.
A greater development of poultry farming, which does not produce sufficient poultry and eggs for internal consumption, is hampered above all by the shortage of grains and the scarcity of available space. However, the number of birds is estimated to have increased from less than two and a half million in 1918 to around 5 million in 1931.
Beekeeping has a domestic and accessory character, but is nevertheless in progress (in 1931 about 300,500 hives).
Overall, the balance of imports and exports of agricultural and livestock products (foodstuffs, beverages, fodder, etc.) closes against Switzerland; It should also be noted that the foodstuffs that mark an export surplus consist of manufactured products, which are products of the food industry rather than of agriculture itself (cheese, condensed milk, etc.).
Forestry. – The forests, which belong 2/3 to the municipalities, cover an area of 1,003,561 ha in Switzerland. (1935). The regions in which forestry is more developed, that is, those where the forests with the highest yields for the production of wood are found, are in the Central Plateau and in the Jura; on the other hand, in the Alps, transport costs are not always compensated by the proceeds obtained. Overall, the export of timber from Switzerland has significantly decreased since the 10th century. XIX, on the contrary, Switzerland is forced to import timber from abroad to cover its internal needs.