Pasture program

The Hochland Pasture Program specifically encourages grazing on meadows. We developed the program in 2021, setting a standard with clear criteria that we believe reinforce the positive impact of grazing on animal welfare. Compliance with these criteria on the participating farms is regularly monitored by an independent testing institute.

Grazing in warmer months 

The cows must spend an average of six hours per day on pasture during the warmer months, usually between April and November, for at least 120 days a year. There must be an area of at least 1000 m² of pasture for each cow.

Free to move all year round

When the cows are not on pasture, they live in spacious loose stables and can move freely between their feeding station, the water trough, the milking system, cow brushes and their lying area. Tethering is not permitted.

Sufficient space in the barn

A cow likes to spend half of the day resting and lying down. Therefore, our program participants provide a place to lie for every single cow. In loose stables without fixed cubicles, the cows find sufficient free lying areas, whereby at least five m2 of space for the cows to move freely is obligatory.

Sclerotising horns gently

Farms which sclerotise the horns of their cows must do this as gently and carefully as possible. Sclerotherapy may only be performed on calves younger than six weeks after administration of painkillers and sedatives and under local anaesthesia of the horn nerve.

Cow comfort

Cows like to groom themselves extensively. And that's exactly why there are cow brushes in every open pen, which the cows can rub against any time they want. This promotes blood circulation and activates their metabolisms. Cows find rotating cow brushes especially interesting and see the massage as a special treat.

100% free of genetic engineering

The program participants verifiably do not feed genetically modified plants to their livestock. This means they meet the requirements for GMO-free dairy farming according to the VLOG standard (Verein für Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik e.V.) (Association for Foodstuffs without Genetic Engineering). More about the VLOG-Standard.

Regular training

The program participants undertake to take part in a recognised further training measure, such as pasture management or improving animal health, at least every three years.

Animal health monitoring

The program participants commit themselves to taking part in a central recording of antibiotic use and slaughter findings data. Monitoring these parameters is important to further improve animal health.

The Hochland Pasture Grazing Program corresponds to farming type 3

Our Pasture Program reaches the second highest level of the trade-initiated, four-tiered husbandry labelling scheme, which was extended to dairy and cheese products on 1st January 2022. The labelling system already started in 2019 with meat and sausage products. The aim of the system is to provide the consumer with a transparent orientation aid to better classify the different requirements in animal husbandry.

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