Multilevel Farming

Multilevel farming is an agricultural system best adapted to mountain conditions. This allows an optimal use of the increasingly shorter vegetation periods from the valley up to the level of the summer pastures over 2000 meters a.s.l. At the lowest level is the cultivation of grains, in some municipalities also viticulture possible – at the highest level only grazing and partly the production of mountain hay. In between are located the Maiensäss, where cattle pasture early and late summer and hay is harvested. In this kind of farming “cattle go to feed”. The migration of the cattle and the agricultural work on the different altitudes require a “nomadism” of families or individual family members. The numerous changes of places and the transports mean additional burdens and unproductive labour costs for the mountain farmers. Multilevel farming requires additional living spaces and numerous buildings, which are used only in certain seasons and which means additional costs for the establishment and maintenance. Nevertheless many farmers are longing for the time on the alps.