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Publication type: Working paper – expertise – study
Title: Schweizer Futtermittelimporte : Entwicklung, Hintergründe, Folgen
Authors: Baur, Priska
Krayer, Patricia
et. al: No
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-2400
Extent: 102
Issue Date: 28-Feb-2021
Publisher / Ed. Institution: ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Wädenswil
Language: German
Subjects: Futtermittelimporte; Futtermittelbilanz; Raufutter; Kraftfutter; Mischfutter; Tierproduktion; Tierbestände; Wiederkäuer; Monogastrier; Rindvieh; Geflügelmast; Pouletproduktion; Soja; Soja nach Tierarten; Eiweissfutter; Protein; Globale Sojaproduktion; Globale Sojaverwendung; Brasilien; Amazonas; Cerrado; Lieferkette Fleisch; Marktkonzentration; Coop; Migros; Fenaco; Proviande; Fleischwerbung; Soja Netzwerk Schweiz; Treibhausgas-Emissionen; Stickstoffbilanz; Ökosystemgrenzen; Ackerland pro Kopf; Selbstversorgungsgrad; Ernährungssicherheit; Versorgungssicherheit; Schweizer Tierhaltung; BTS; RAUS; ÖLN; Schweizer Landwirtschaft; Bundesamt für Landwirtschaft; Agrarpolitik; Imported feedstuff; Domestic food; Roughage; Concentrated feed; Livestock; Ruminants; Cattle; Poultry; Soy; Soymeal; Animal protein feedstuff; Supply chain; Market concentration; Greenhouse gas emissions; Nitrogen surplus; Ecosystem boundaries; Food security; Switzerland; Swiss agriculture; Swiss agricultural policy
Subject (DDC): 338: Production
630: Agriculture
Abstract: The aim of this research project is to demonstrate the many dimensions of importing feedstuff, to clarify the significance of imported feedstuff for animal production in Switzerland, as well as to assess the negative environmental impacts of such importation both within Switzerland and in the countries of origin. In particular, the importance of soy as an element in feedstuff is examined in depth. The analysis is centred around the misleading statement that 84% of the feedstuff in Switzerland comes from ‘native meadows and fields’. This percentage is based on the combination of roughage and concentrated feed, two categories of feedstuff that must not be added because they have limited substitutability and are therefore not directly comparable. Roughage is eaten mainly by ruminants. Meat, however, comes primarily from pigs and poultry which are both dependent on concentrated feed. Roughage is almost 100% domestically sourced, while more than 50% of concentrated feed comes from abroad. Protein is particularly scarce: around 70% of the protein in concentrated feed comes from imports (mainly soy). Therefore, if today’s feedstuff were not imported, livestock populations would decline significantly, particularly those that are dependent on concentrated feed. According to model calculations, it would be possible to keep 94% of sheep and goats, 85% of cattle, 39% of pigs and 17% of poultry on the basis of domestic feed alone. At 21 kg per capita per year, meat production would be halved in comparison to the present day. Pork would remain the most important type of meat, although it would be over 50% less compared to today. Poultry meat would virtually disappear. However, around 350 kg of milk could still be produced per capita annually. Swiss agriculture specialises in the production of livestock. About 90% of agricultural land is used for animal feed, in addition to the at least 200,000 hectares of arable areas abroad which are used for the cultivation of animal feedstuff for the Swiss market. Soybeans, wheat, corn, etc. grow on these areas. Since the mid-1990s, the importing of feedstuff has increased sharply, most of which is imported from Europe. The most important protein feed which is imported is soy, which, due to public criticism, now tends to increasingly come from Europe. Most of the imported feedstuffs are in direct competition with human foods. This is because they come from crops that we humans can eat directly, including not only all cereals such as wheat, corn, rice, oats and barley, but also soybeans. In intensive livestock farming, the calorie content present in plant-based foods that we humans are able eat directly is converted into a lot less in animal food products. In this process, the production of meat ‘destroys’ significantly more plant-derived calories than that of milk. This is because milk still contains a lot of grass that only cows and other ruminants can digest. Soy is the world's most important animal protein feedstuff. Originally, soybeans were cultivated in Asia for human consumption. Today, about 75% of global production is used to feed livestock, more than half of which is used for chicken fattening. While poultry consume by far the most soy protein feed on a global scale, in Switzerland it is cattle which rank first in this regard. This is the result of the central importance of milk production and the breeding of performance breeds that depend on protein-rich concentrated feed. Global soy production has grown steadily in recent years, and in Brazil even exponentially. Approximately half of all soy is used for feeding or consumption purposes in growing countries, while the other half is traded internationally. The main producing and exporting countries are the U.S. and Brazil while the main importing countries are China and the EU. Brazil is still the most important source region for Swiss soybean imports. The country grows soybeans for the global market: around 90% of production is exported. Only 5% of Brazil's farms cultivate soybeans and only 16% of soybean farms are family-owned. In the past 20 years production has expanded, especially in the ecologically valuable Cerrado and Amazon biomes. There, the average soybean acreage is 930 ha (Amazonas) and 550 ha (Cerrado). The supply chains for soy imported into Switzerland are not transparent. The description ‘responsibly produced’ glosses over soy production in Brazil and the soy trade. According to research, Swiss soy imports from Brazil come from specialised, large-scale farms with intensive soy cultivation, monotonous crop rotations and high pesticide use. Most of these farms are located in the state of Mato Grosso, i.e. in the Cerrado or Amazon biome, where most land has been cleared in recent decades. ProTerra-certified soy also comes from original rainforest (Amazon) or savanna (Cerrado) areas. ‘Zero deforestation’ refers only to the last decade. Animal food products constitutes a billion-dollar business in Switzerland. The supply chains show a high market concentration in inputs (feedstuff), in processing (meat, dairy milk) and in wholesale and retail trade. A few companies, especially the conglomerates Coop, Migros and fenaco, dominate the markets. The industrialisation of production in efficient international supply chains is most advanced in the production of eggs and chicken. Here, too, the supply chains are not very transparent. According to model calculations, more than 50% of the total greenhouse gas emissions due to Swiss agriculture are directly attributable to livestock farming, 20% to the rest of agriculture and about 30% occur in the countries where animal feedstuff is grown. If feedstuff were not imported, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 40%. The nitrogen surpluses in Swiss agriculture are also largely a result of livestock farming. More than 90% of the surpluses occur in Switzerland. Without feedstuff imports, the nitrogen surpluses in Switzerland would be reduced by 26%. The results of the research and model calculations thus lead to five conclusions: I. The industry's advertising images and messages are misleading and gloss over livestock farming in Switzerland and its dependence on imports. They shape the perceptions of the population and increase the demand for animal food products "from Switzerland". II. Governmental agencies do little to educate the population about Swiss livestock farming. They support the misleading images and messages through official terminology and reporting. Political interests favour production and sales interests over the many other societal concerns (e.g. health, environment, animal welfare, transparency, economic costs, reliability of supply). III. It is not Swiss agriculture that benefits most from fedstuff imports. This is because agriculture does not depend solely on production for its income; it receives income-securing direct payments. Rather, imports are in the interest of upstream and downstream industries. They are the ones who mainly benefit from a high rate of livestock farming at discounted prices. IV. Swiss chicken production is a clear example: the doubling of production in the last 20 years has benefited a few upstream and downstream companies, a handful of global breeding companies and only a very small proportion of farms. The expansion of chicken fattening is a questionable development in Swiss livestock farming. It is further encouraged by the current debate concerning the environment and the climate as chicken is considered resource-efficient and ‘climate friendly’. V. As a guiding principle for the future, it is proposed that Swiss livestock farming be adapted to the local ecosystem boundaries in Switzerland, and that the consumption by the Swiss population be adapted to global ecosystem boundaries. This would mean being able to halve meat consumption at the very least.
Further description: Supplementary material: Tierfutter von einheimischen Wiesen und Feldern - Recherchebericht Nr. 1 zum Forschungsprojekt «Schweizer Futtermittelimporte» Tierfutter aus anderen Ländern (Importe) - Recherchebericht Nr. 2 zum Forschungsprojekt «Schweizer Futtermittelimporte» Soja – das global wichtigste Eiweissfutter für die Tierproduktion - Recherchebericht Nr. 3 zum Forschungsprojekt «Schweizer Futtermittelimporte» Brasilien – Sojaproduzent im Rampenlicht - Recherchebericht Nr. 4 zum Forschungsprojekt «Schweizer Futtermittelimporte» Kalorienverluste durch die Tierproduktion - Recherchebericht Nr. 5 zum Forschungsprojekt «Schweizer Futtermittelimporte»
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Life Sciences and Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR)
Published as part of the ZHAW project: Dimensionen der Futtermittelimporte und des Futtermittelanbaus in der Schweiz
Appears in collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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