Talking beef with Flavio Ferrari, Team Leader Training and Pilot Farm at Strickhof in Winterthur-Wülflingen

“We can finally show people suckler cow husbandry live again”

At beef.ch, Strickhof's Simmental and Charolais suckler cows and calves, as well as many other breeds, will be on display. (Photo: Larissa Bosshard)

The Strickhof training and pilot farm is hosting beef.ch, which will take place at the end of June. What does that mean for you?

It is a great honour for me and Strickhof to be the first host of a beef.ch again, after such a long time. I hope we’ll succeed in rekindling some of the atmosphere of the earlier Pfannenstiel pasture festival (Weidfäscht on the Pfannenstiel).

What was so special about the "Weidfäscht am Pfannenstiel"?

Presenting the suckler cows with their calves in the pasture and creating a certain farm feeling were ideal at the Weidfäscht. At beef.ch at Strickhof in Wülflingen, we also have an opportunity to show the animals in their natural environment. I think that’s important.

Your event was planned for 2020 and will now take place in June. How did you feel about waiting such a long time?

It was very tedious. We started planning in 2019 and were ready. Now, of course, this groundwork has made it easier for us to implement the programme, which means that we are moving faster now. Nevertheless, a lot of things had to be done all over again.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I think that we have put together a very diverse range of attractions. For children, there are concerts by Bruno Hächler, bull riding, pony rides and much more. Also, there are also numerous stalls offering tasty food. Or you can take advantage of the demonstration grills for the barbecue season at home.

Most importantly, however, you can experience suckler cow husbandry live, and get to know many different breeds.

Located close to the city, the training and pilot farm is a meeting place not only at beef.ch (Photo: Larissa Bosshard).

Which cattle breeds will you be showing?

If everything works out, we will show suckler cows and calves from 17 breeds: Angus, Blonde d'Aquitaine, Brown Swiss, Charolais, Dexter, Evolene, Galloway, Grey, Hereford, Highland, Limousin, Lowline, Luing, Piedmontese, Simmental, Texas Longhorn and Zebus.

Wow, that's an impressive list! And you have room for all these animals?

Yes, that’s the advantage of holding a beef.ch on a farm and being able to use pastureland. The animals can be housed in a species-appropriate manner on the pasture, have shade and drinking water available and feel comfortable. And visitors are able to see that our animals are doing well, which is very important for us.

Where do you see the biggest challenges?

After the long lean period, everyone will naturally want to catch up on their events. It's difficult to find a weekend when no events are taking place. In Winterthur, the Albani Festival will be held at the same time as beef.ch. We hope that many families will favour us or visit both events. In any case, we are offering really great things, especially for children. And maybe one or two young people who want to attend the Albani Festival will pay us a visit before or after. That would be great!

Thank you for the interview. We wish you every success for the beef.ch!

Here you find information and details about the event.

(Photo : Larissa Bosshard)
(Photo : Larissa Bosshard)

As team leader of “beef cattle breeding”, Flavio Ferrari manages the Wülflingen site of the Strickhof training and pilot farm in Winterthur-Wülflingen together with one apprentice and one employee. The farm is a research site of AgroVet-Strickhof, a joint venture between Strickhof, ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich.

The farm has 33 hectares of agricultural land, which are cultivated in a very diverse way. In addition to maize, cereals, sorghum and chickpeas, the farm also grows fruit, vegetables and vines. Flavio Ferrari's main focus - and another important branch of the farm - are the 45 suckler cows of the Charolais and Simmental breeds with their calves and offspring. In addition to the production of breeding animals, Natura-Beef and SwissPrimBeef are produced for the farm's own canteens, and research is carried out on husbandry and feeding issues. There are also chickens, sheep and goats on the farm.