AgroVet-Strickhof Conference 27.10.2021
Submission of abstracts
We would like to inform that the deadline for submitting abstracts for the AgroVet-Strickhof conference is extended to the end of June 2021. Please find the word template in the download area.
Exciting abstracts have already been submitted. Now we hope and look forward to receiving more interesting abstracts. For any questions, please feel free to contact us by mail: email@example.com.
the OK Team
150 years of agricultural sciences ETH Zurich
The Institute of Agricultural Sciences of ETH Zurich celebrates its 150th anniversary. In the video, a tour of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences is shown, in which AgroVet-Strickhof is also presented.
Katrin Giller, senior assistant in the research group for animal nutrition, gives an insight into the current research priorities in the research facilities of AgroVet-Strickhof (from minute 39 and following). In it, she explains, among other things, how the production of methane emitted by cows can be measured and also reduced.
Learn more about AgroVet-Strickhof in the following short video:
New Professor of ETH Zurich at AgroVet-Strickhof
Prof. Dr. Michael Kreuzer (*1956), currently Full Professor of Animal Nutrition in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich, is to retire at the end of July 2021.
Prof. Dr. Mutian Niu (*1989) has now been appointed by the ETH Board to replace Prof. Dr. Michael Kreuzer. He intends to start on June 1, 2021. The article can be found in the ETH News section.
He is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Animal Nutrition in the Department of Environmental Systems Science. Mutian Niu’s main area of research lies in quantifying and reducing environmentally relevant emissions from livestock farming, and is of considerable help in making the sustainable production of animal source foods more socially acceptable. His professorship is attached to the AgroVet-Strickhof Education and Research Competence Centre and will make a substantial contribution to this cooperation between ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich and the Canton of Zurich.
We look forward to working with Prof. Mutian Niu and wish him a successful start.
AgroVet-Strickhof conference 27.10.2021
Submission of contributions
the second AgroVet-Strickhof conference is planned to take place on the 27th October 2021 as an online event. The topic of this year's conference is "Networking Research and Practice - Agriculture of the Future". You can submit your contributions for the poster session from now on.
The registration of the contributions will be done via your submitted abstract in English. you can find the template in the download area. You can submit this from now until May 31th to firstname.lastname@example.org. Posters as well as abstracts must be written in English.
The aim of the meeting is to provide a platform for researchers, students, practitioners, and interested conference attendees for a lively exchanging of experiences.
This conference will be held online due to the Covid-19 situation. Should the pandemic situation ease by October 2021, a hybrid option with the possibility of on-site and online participation will be considered. Online participation will be free of charge. If the conference will take place on-site, with your submitted contribution, the conference and the catering will be free of charge.
We are looking forward to exciting contributions and hope to welcome you at this year's AgroVet-Strickhof conference. For any questions, please feel free to contact us by mail: email@example.com.
the OK Team
AgroVet-Strickhof looks back on two successful years.
The first two years of AgroVet-Strickhof were dominated by intensive research and educational activities.
AgroVet-Strickhof, the education and research center for farm animals, looks back on two successful operational years. The cooperation Strickhof, ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich has grown closer together and is setting new standards in research and education. The figures speak for
itself: In 2018 and 2019, more than 40 scientific articles were published annually. The young scientists were equally successful in presenting their projects at numerous symposia in Germany and abroad (50 in 2018, 92 in 2019). No less spectacular were the training and further education courses for future veterinarians, agricultural students and agricultural pupils as well as practitioners. The focus was mainly on cattle: lactation physiology, pregnancy testing, linear description and courses on hoof care, to name but a few. But the horse is also part of the training. The grooms in training could, for example, try out the anatomy and the application of bandages in Lindau. The head of research and the team have their hands full, as the 137th research project has already been submitted and processed from the opening until the end of 2019. In addition to the organizational issues in the laboratory, the execution of the experiments must also be coordinated with the company. The accommodation and care of the animals during the implementation of the research projects must be well thought out and prepared. Research projects on animal health as well as feeding experiments on methane reduction and replacement of soya in rations in agricultural livestock have been successfully completed. Research projects on stable floor renovation, digitalization and liquid manure experiments are also in the portfolio. In addition to day-to-day operations, the research management and the team are also working on other projects. The finalization of the conversion in Früebüel was approached in a structured and successful manner as well as specific construction measures in the Metabolism Center. For example, technical adjustments were made to the respiration chambers for keeping of fattening cattle, breeding sows and fattening pigs, as well as the installation of an automatic feeding system including silos for pig farming. In order to be able to produce specific test feeds on site, AgroVet-Strickhof has also been registered as a feed manufacturer and follows the strict specifications for feed production, as it is also the case with feed mills. Numerous guided tours (2018: 90; 2019: 68) indicate great interest in the new campus in Lindau. In recent years, almost 7,000 people have visited the campus. The two major events, the Swiss Cow and the AgriTechDay, were the most well attended (approx. 800 and 1,500 visitors respectively). In addition, many participants of further training courses took the opportunity to have the experts explain the stables to them after the course, which often led to exciting discussions that clearly showed the need for practice-oriented research. It remains exciting for AgroVet-Strickhof and also in the Corona year 2020 training and research will continue to be successfully carried out, although in a different way than usual.
The AgroVet-Strickhof education and research center, operational since 2018, is a cooperation between Strickhof, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. It is a place where university teaching, agricultural education and training and research are closely interlinked in a unique way. At AgroVet-Strickhof, scientists and practitioners work hand in hand with the aim of gaining insights into how animal welfare and sustainability in livestock farming can be promoted. Under the approach "From Feed to Food", questions from the fields of livestock science, animal health, digitalization and smart farming are approached in an interdisciplinary, practical and holistic way. The possibility of conducting training and research on farm animals and flora at three levels of altitude is a major advantage of AgroVet-Strickhof and is unique worldwide, because AgroVet-Strickhof extends over the four operating sites of Lindau (ZH), Wülflingen (ZH), Früebüel (Walchwil ZG) and Alp Weissenstein (Bergün GR).
Handing over the keys at Früebüel
The renovation and extension of Früebüel (Canton of Zug) research station has been completed. AgroVet–Strickhof now has four state-of-the-art research and higher education facilities for the agricultural sciences.
Despite the coronavirus lockdown, the renovation and extension of Früebüel research station in Walchwil (Canton of Zug) was completed nearly on schedule. AgroVet–Strickhof, a research cooperative supported by ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich and Strickhof, now has state-of-the-art research and higher education facilities at its four locations.
People seeking relaxation on the Zugerberg mountain in Switzerland will have already noticed it: there have been big changes at Früebüel, a former farm. AgroVet–Strickhof, a platform for research and higher education in agriculture, joined forces with ETH Zurich to renovate and expand its barns, operational buildings and wild animal enclosures over the past two years. Now, almost three years after obtaining building permission from the Canton of Zug, the construction work is complete.
Früebüel’s new facilities will be used for research on breeding cattle, suckler cows, sheep and fallow deer. The expanded AgroVet–Strickhof location is operated by cooperation partner Strickhof. At 1,000 metres above sea level, Früebüel is particularly suited to investigating specific issues connected with farming operations in the Alps and alpine foothills. In the summer, the animals are moved to graze on Alp Weissenstein on the Albula Pass (Canton of Graubünden), which is also an AgroVet–Strickhof research location.
Research here is conducted primarily by AgroVet–Strickhof’s cooperation partners, especially ETH professors in the animal sciences, plant ecology and grassland sciences. Those in the latter department have been operating a measurement station at Früebüel since 2005; one project records material flows including greenhouse gases from grassland subjected to medium-intensity use.
Location allows for more intense research
“We’re thrilled to be able to continue and expand our research in this modern and spacious facility,” says Melissa Terranova, AgroVet–Strickhof’s Head of Research since 1 April 2020. “It has everything we need to drive livestock research in Switzerland.” Thanks to the extension of the location, she continues, research can continue at a greater intensity.
Ulrich Weidmann, Vice President for Infrastructure at ETH Zurich, is also happy about the completion of construction. “We’re delighted to be finished with this challenging project,” he says, “which marks the end of the extension programme for the AgroVet–Strickhof cooperative. Now we can hand over operations of this location to the AgroVet–Strickhof management team.”
ETH’s Real Estate Management department was in charge of planning and implementing the construction work. Planning and building costs amounted to about 13 million Swiss francs.
Major support from the local commune and canton
“I wish to thank the commune of Walchwil, the government and administration of the Canton of Zug, and the associations involved for their excellent cooperation,” Weidmann continues. “Without their terrific support, we would never have been able to bring Früebüel up to the standard necessary for first-class research.”
New wildlife enclosures and modernised labs
Most of the construction consisted of renovation and extension work: a freestall for suckler cows was added to an old barn and the former dairy barn was turned into a sheep barn. Modernisation and extension efforts also focused on the laboratory infrastructure so that researchers can process and analyse samples directly on site. A winter shelter with spacious pens was built for fallow deer, as well as an outbuilding with a fire brigade depot “Berg” for the commune of Walchwil.
Ecological offsets on a 1:1 scale
ETH Zurich provided ecological enhancements on the Früebüel site to offset the space enclosed by the new pens. For example, it applied extensification to wetlands and planted new hedges and ecologically diverse border zones. In addition, 300 metres of forest border were extensified. All of these connecting elements serve as a corridor for wild animals and add up to a total of 4.5 hectares.
Research focuses on livestock
“Research here focuses clearly on livestock science and its place in sustainable agriculture that has been adapted to its location,” explains Susanne Ulbrich, Professor of Animal Physiology at ETH Zurich. For example, the researchers investigate how feeding the animals impacts their metabolism, testing Schwarzbraunes Bergschaf sheep and Swiss Original Braunvieh suckler cows.
Ulbrich herself is heading a study on roe deer. These ungulates are only rarely kept and studied in enclosures. She is particularly interested in the roe deer’s phenomenon of embryonic diapause, or delayed implantation. “If we knew more about this special process, we would be better positioned to understand fundamental development processes in livestock,” Ulbrich explains. “We investigate what embryos need for healthy development. We’re also looking for new parameters that will differentiate healthy stress from the type of stress that harms the animals.” In addition to the physiological studies, the researchers conduct behavioural studies as well.
All studies with animals are carried out in compliance with strict animal welfare guidelines. Every study first has to be approved by the canton’s veterinary office.
Terranova points out that the higher education and research that AgroVet–Strickhof conducts at Früebüel is of national and international interest: “Besides AgroVet–Strickhof, Switzerland has neither university-level education nor research that is directly connected with career training and agricultural practice. This one-of-a-kind collaboration thus plays a crucial role,” she says.
Open days in 2021
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, AgroVet–Strickhof will be unable to celebrate the opening of the Früebüel facilities this year. Currently, plans are to officially open the location as part of an open day in 2021, but the exact date is still to be determined.
For research on the Früebüel and generally AgroVet-Strickhof:
Melissa Terranova, Head of Research AgroVet-Strickhof; Tel.: +41 52 354 91 37, Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the construction:
Bianca Gasser, Head of Communications, Real Estate Department ETH Zurich; Tel.: +41 44 633 82 44, Mail: email@example.com
Download as PDF
More environmentally friendly cows
Bovines eat a lot of soya and are the big emitters of greenhouse gases and the air pollutant ammonia. New feed additives for ruminants and an innovative cow toilet will help. >> open Article in PDF
Read the article online: https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wissen/natur/kuehe-sollen-umweltfreundlicher-werden/story/27598855
3sat informed about AgroVet-Strickhof, the special farm
On Monday, 27th August 2018 3sat informed 3sat within the program «nano» about AgroVet-Strickhof in German.
This program gives a good overview about the work and the goals by AgroVet-Strickhof.
Impressions of the official opening
After ten years of planning and two years of construction, the official opening of AgroVet-Strickhof took place with invited guests on 1. September 2017. At 10 a.m. Ueli Voegeli, Strickhof Director, welcomed the 250 guests in the new forum. Speeches were made by Markus Kägi, District President of the Kanton of Zurich, Michael Hengartner, Rector of the University of Zurich, Lino Guzella, President of the ETH Zurich and Bernard Lehmann, Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, who represented Johann Schneider-Ammann, member of the Swiss Federal Council.
Documentation of the construction project:
Impressions of the opening on 1. September 2017
Photos by ETH Zurich / Alessandro Della Bella and The University of Zurich / Frank Brüderli.
Speeches at the opening ceremony of AgroVet-Strickhof on 1. September 2017
Below are transcripts of the speeches made at the opening ceremony.
Markus Kägi, District President, Building Director of the Kanton of Zurich
Ladies and gentlemen,
The term «AgroVet-Strickhof» has accompanied me for a very long time. At some point it began to have a life of its own. It created powerful images and represented beautiful buildings of impressive dimensions in familiar surroundings. In the mind of the viewer everything was populated by people and cattle, and then imagination and reality gradually began coming closer together.
Now almost two years after the groundbreaking, it has definitely become a reality. This question may come as a surprise: What, ladies and gentlemen, are we actually celebrating the opening of today?
A dairy barn for two herds, a youngstock barn, a mobile silo, a straw and dry feed storage, a metabolic centre, an office and laboratory building and a forum. Those are the buildings.
Not a satisfactory answer is it? The list of buildings isn't really the heart of the matter. If we look at every element individually, the term «AgroVet-Strickhof» becomes lost. It is in fact a whole which is bigger than the sum of its parts.
No one of its parts are something new, there are an endless amount of them in various formats, these cow barns, silos and offices. But as a whole the world has never seen them before. We are experiencing something special, ladies and gentlemen: how an idea manages to take shape.
At the heart of this idea belong three institutes who got together, all of them of a dignified old age. The University of Zurich exists since 1833, the Strickhof since 1853 and the ETH since 1855. The maximum age difference between the three is 22 years, and this is probably the smallest difference between the three very different institutes. Each has its own history, culture and competence. The fact that they have come together doesn't just happen like that.
Without wanting to overrate the role of the state: The deciding impulse for the cooperation between the three institutes in the areas of veterinary and livestock science came from the state.
At the beginning, the structural change lay in agriculture and the need for agricultural education to find new forms of cooperation. Hence the cantonal government asked Strickhof to become better connected and to look into cooperation possibilities.
Other cantons were considered, but they did not show any interest in contrast to the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. In 2006 the cantonal government created the project group AgroVet-Strickhof.
Important elements already existed: the connection between practice and university, a holistic view of the whole value added chain and the usage of spare rooms at the Lindau site.
And the rest is history. A history not without complexity as the construction work was shared by the Kanton of Zurich and the ETH Zurich. But a history that also outshone the view of one-off synergies between the representatives of agricultural practice, the higher education experts and the agricultural and veterinary scientists.
This gave the project a gravitational attraction which I can still feel today. Even the cantonal government was captured by the project: they approved the building loan in 2014 by 167 to 0 votes.
When one now looks at the finsihed result, one feels enthusiasm and thankfulness. The cantonal government deserves our thanks, as well as our project partners and owners ETH and University of Zurich, the political committees, the architects and the planning and construction companies.
I would also like to thank my employees of the Building Management. They come from almost all of the cantonal departments wich demonstrates how unique this project is.
I have already mentioned that AgroVet-Strickhof is more than the sum of its parts. But the individual parts are also imprtant. Norlammy we build hospitals or school buidlings, or we renovate a barock palace or a yoghurt factory. But normally we don't build for chickens and cows.
Now we know how it works. We went through a considerable learning process, which made AgroVet-Strickhof a place of intensive training for us long before operations began. We can expect great things in the future. I look forward to it!
Thank you very much!
Prof. Dr. Lino Guzzella, President of the ETH Zurich und Prof. Dr. Michael Hengartner, Rector of the University of Zurich
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we are opening a lighthouse project which radiates both nationally and internationally. A project which connects agricultural sciences, veterinary medicine and agricultural higher education. I am delighted that the University of Zurich is a part of this new centre for animal sciences.
The close cooperation and spatial proximity between the ETH, University of Zurich and the Department for Agriculture are a tradition at Strickhof. The first Strickhof sitewas opened in 1853 and was located on the current Irchel campus of the University of Zurich. Soon later the University needed this space for its own use as it was growing so quickly. The Strickhof agricultural school therefore moved to the Lindau site in 1976.
Thankfully this spatial distance of the University of Zurich to its partners Strickhof and ETH has been reduced again. I hope that this will result in an increase in leading research results which will consequently benefit animals and people.
I am also delighted to be in Lindau again today after having celebrated the groundbreaking just two years ago. This remains a fond memory for Michael and I, still boys at heart, as we got to drive a tractor! For the ETH Zurich, ladies and gentlemen, the opening of AgroVet-Strickhof marks a new chapter in a history which began over ten years ago.
At the time, the ETH laid the foundations to strengthen agricultural sciences, with the knowledge that agricultural sciences are crucial for the solution to many core issues of our time: an increasing world population, climate change and sustainable, healthy and affordable nutrition.
The ETH Zurich subsequently created the Department of Environmental Systems Science and the competence centre for world nutrition. It also decided to team up with the University of Zurich and Strickhof in the area of livestock. The idea of the AgroVet-Strickhof project began to take shape.
Here at AgroVet-Strickhof we lay the foundations for answering important questions of the 21st century regarding animal welfare and animal health. Keeping livestock healthy is not only for our own purpose but is also important from an ecological and economic point of view.
We do this for example by guaranteeing the sustainable production of high quality animal food products. Or by preventing illness 1. in animals, 2. between animals, and 3. between animals and humans.
Veterinary medicine is the link between agricultural sciences, agricultural practice and human medicine both in the food chain and in cohabitation with animals.
Through the partnership with the University of Zurich and Strickhof not only operational synergies were created but also a considerable added value with regards to content: The proximity between agricultural and veterinary sciences as well as fundamental research and practice is unique and an ideal precondition for new approaches which benefit everybody - a real win win win situation!
One of these added values is the optimisation of veterinary education. Veterinary students at the University of Zurich learn the whole agricultural value added chain at AgroVet-Strickhof. From feed to the animal to animal food products. «From Feed to Food» or as said in German «from the grass into the glass».
Numerous research projects at the Vetsuisse Faculty will profit from the interaction between fundamental research and applied science. For example through research into stress in livestock. Prof. Heinrich Bollwein, our University of Zurich professor for livestock and reproductive medicine has considerably contributed to better understanding the effects of stress on livestock and to developing new approaches to reduce stress. Another leading position in the area of livestock research is taken by Prof. Mike Hässig, Titular Professor for Clinical Epidemiology and today Deputy Head of Research at AgroVet-Strickhof, as well as Prof. Annette Liesegang, our University of Zurich Institute Director for Animal Nutrition. The research by both scientists has allowed us to better understand the effects of nutrition on the welfare of the animals and on the quality of livestock food products. This knowledge can also be applied prophylactically to prevent illnesses in animals and humans.
When competing for the best candidates we can offer top infrastructure. This is also valid for the University of Zurich. It is not the only reason, but an important one in attracting top researchers. The perspective of working in such modern research facilties as we are opening today has played a deciding role in engaging new professors.
Besides Michael Kreuzer, our Professor for Animal Nutrition, who closely accompanied the AgroVet-Strickhof project from its beginning, we also gained Animal Physiology Professor Susanne Ulbrich in 2013 and Animal Genomics Professor Hubert Pausch this spring. Their complemeting approches allow for comprehensive livestock research.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests: In the name of the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich I would like to thank everybody who has put their heart and soul into the realisation of AgroVet-Strickhof. One person who could unfortunately not be here today deserves special thanks. It is Roman Boutellier, Vice President of Human Resources until the end of 2014. He was a driving force behind this community project.
I wish our researchers and students who will contribute to AgroVet-Strickhof plenty of enjoyment in discovering the potential which this new platform offers. We can all be delighted and look forward to the continuation of this success story.