Talking about beef with Peter Küng, Styg Diemtigen

This year Peter Küng is organising his summer season around beef.ch

Alp Nüegg. (Photo: zVg)

The beef.ch of the Diemtigtal nature reserve will be held from 15 to 17 June 2018 on your land – the Nüegg alp at the foot of the Wiriehorn. When will the climb to the mountain pastures take place?

As the Nüegg alp is located in the middle of the Wiriehorn ski runs, the climb will take place a couple of weeks later than in areas without ski lifts. In winter about half of our alp surface is covered with artificial snow and situated underneath the ski runs. As it is compacted, the snow there lasts longer into the spring. So the climb to the mountain pastures takes place at the beginning of June.

What preparations do you have to make for the climb to the alp?

Once the snow has melted, we have to put back all the fences and drinking troughs. The schoolchildren who are members of the ski club take care of picking up the waste left on the pastures during the winter season. If the vegetation is dense enough, we take the animals up from the valley to the Nüegg alp with our own cattle truck. Along with those from other farms our animals spend the summer grazing on the alp until late August or early September.

Do all your animals spend the summer on the alp?

Yes they do. We have two alps and the animals are split between them.

Is this year different or special?

Yes, we will be taking our animals up to the alp a few days later than in other years, so there will be enough fodder left for the animals present, especially for the beef.ch. For the same reason, we’re going to change the order in which we use the grazing land so that when it comes to the beef.ch, we can use the pastures that are ideally situated.


Peter Küng is a farmer and manages the organic alp farm Styg Dimtigen with his wife Sabine (a nurse) and their four children: Daniel (22), Raul (19), Julia (13) and Nora (12). The family works 15 ha of utilised agricultural land in the valley, plus the 40 ha of the Nüegg and Sälbezenweide alps. They have 20 Simmental suckler cows with calves, as well as farm animals and a breeding bull. In addition they own donkeys and sheep, and practise forestry. The Küng family’s bistro in the Styg cellar provides a special ambiance for pleasant festive occasions.

What does agriculture, and more particularly the breeding of suckler cows, represent for the Diemtigtal and the nature reserve?

Agriculture plays a crucial role in the Diemtigtal nature reserve. In the valley, nature-orientated tourism takes advantage of the meadows and alps that are maintained. The Diemtigtal has a dynamic alpine economy. Many alps are used for herds of suckler cows, and numerous animals from the valley regions spend the summer grazing on our alps

And does that work, breeding suckler cows in the nature reserve?

Yes it works, but compromises are necessary. Both hikers and breeders must respect certain rules. For example, the hiking trails must be fenced off as far as possible, and hikers need to be alerted to avoid crossing a herd of suckler cows. Thanks to a special course on this theme, the beef.ch on the alp will contribute to raising people’s awareness of the good practices to adopt.

How important is the beef.ch for the nature reserve?

The beef.ch means publicity for the nature reserve and will make the region better known. It would be good if, thanks to this event, more people discover and visit our reserve. I am very happy to put my alp at the disposal of the event, which indeed is the first beef.ch on the alp.