Swiss fruit farmers face losses of 100 million francs due to frost

The total cost of the frost in late April that damaged fruit farms across Switzerland could be more than 100 million francs, according to the latest estimations.

Swiss fruit farmers face losses of 100 million francs due to frost
Photo: Nitrub/Depositphotos
And that doesn’t even include the damage caused to budding vines in Switzerland's vineyards, which was also considerable. 
Speaking to news agency ATS, Hubert Zufferey of Fruit-Union Suisse estimated that apple orchards suffered 42 million francs worth of damage. Cherry producers will be 25 million francs out of pocket with this year’s harvest predicted to be only a quarter of its normal size, he said. 
Apples, pears and plums are also badly affected, while producers of apricots – a famous product of the Valais region – are likely to see their harvest reduced by half, he added.
Berries and vegetables are less affected, and there are big regional differences – for example apple orchards in central Switzerland were damaged far more than those in the Valais. 
The estimated 100 million francs doesn’t include potential losses incurred by commercial third parties or related industries, such as distillers. 
Consumers will notice little difference in the availability of fruits, however, with imports making up the drop in domestic produce.
As for vines, it’s too early to say exactly how much producers will be out of pocket, however the damage caused by what one Aargau official called the “frost of the century” was considerable in many parts of the country. 
More than a third of the country’s vines are thought to be affected, with some vineyards suffering significant damage to the majority of their vines.

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Shredding of live chicks to be banned in Switzerland from January 2020

The crushing of live male chicks is at the centrepiece of a number of new animal protection regulations to be passed in the new year.

Shredding of live chicks to be banned in Switzerland from January 2020
Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

A number of other changes to mass agriculture will also come into effect in January, including tracking sheep and goats, as well as greater restrictions on pesticides and more assistance available to farmers in the instance of drought. 

In industrial farming across the globe, male chicks are typically shredded a day after birth as they do not lay eggs and are of little value in factory farms. 

Although the practice is relatively rare in Switzerland, it will be formally forbidden from January 2020. 

READ: Germany allows the shredding of live chicks to continue

The law does include some exceptions for smaller egg producers, however if male chicks are to be put to death, this must now be done with CO2 gas. 

The Swiss House of Representatives, when passing the law, called the practice “absurd”. 

Technology exists which can determine a chick’s sex just nine days into incubation. Although this is used in the United States, Germany and elsewhere, it is as yet not widespread in Switzerland. 

Pesticide restrictions, helicopters for thirsty cows

The Swiss government has made army helicopters available to transport water for cattle in the instance of drought. 

Switzerland’s central animal trafficking database will now also track sheep and goats, with the animals to be given tracking ear tags. 

Furthermore, there will be restrictions on certain pesticides, with the carcinogenic Chlorothalonil banned from January onwards. 

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