If a conventional farm converts to organic farming, higher requirements must be observed.
Andreas Müller, Deputy Head of agriculture division
An overview of the Bio-Suisse standards.
Even on an organic farm, the requirements of animal welfare apply as a basis. In most cases, additional higher requirements must be met. The following article by Bio Inspecta AG is intended to provide a rough overview of the differences for farms willing to convert. The information is not exhaustive. For comprehensive advice, it is recommended to contact the cantonal organic advisory services.
RAUS is compulsory
The Organic Farming Ordinance requires compliance with the RAUS programme for all animal species. For cattle, compliance with the RAUS basic programme is sufficient. The exception is rabbit husbandry. In this case, the BTS requirements must be met, not the RAUS requirements.
Summering on organic alps
The summering of organic animals must take place on organic alps or SöBV-Alps (SöBV: Sömmerungsbeitragsverordnung).
100 % Swiss bud
The animals must always be fed organic feed. Bio Suisse requires 100 % Swiss bud feed in ruminant feeding. Compliance with the requirements for grassland-based milk and meat production (GMF) is compulsory for ruminants, and the use of concentrated feed may not exceed 5 %. Pension horses may be fed with 10 % non-organic feed. There are individual exemptions, especially in non-ruminant feeding.
Use of medicines
According to veterinary prescription, all medicines are allowed. However, a double withdrawal period must be observed. The prophylactic use of chemical-synthetic medicines and performance enhancers is prohibited. Drying agents and other antibiotics from critical groups of active substances may only be used after bacteriological examination and antibiogram.
Origin of the animals
Purchased animals must come from organic farms. Male breeding animals are an exception. These may come from conventional farms. Animals of the cattle species may be accepted with breeding contracts from non-organic farms. The cattle must return to the farm of origin before the first calving. Conversion to organic farming is also possible from the point of view of animal husbandry. In any case, prior advice is helpful and should be provided by an organic advisory centre.
Please read the requirements for selected animal species in the boxes. The list is not exhaustive.
Requirements Cattle husbandry
Requirements for pig husbandry
In the case of pigs, the differences in husbandry conditions are great. It is absolutely worthwhile to obtain advice in advance. There is the possibility of a gradual conversion to organic farming.
There are the following differences:
Requirements Horse husbandry
This article was published in the BauernZeitung on 17 February 2023.