Alpine Lamb Showcase Project on Hauser Kaibling
EU-Leader Project: Enns Valley Lamb
By driving more than 800 sheep up to Hauser Kaibling, the Sheep and Goat Farming Association and the Hauser Kaibling Ski Lift Association have set a new course in landscape maintenance:
- Systematic grazing on the Alpine pastures and ski-run areas
- Scientific support by the LFZ Raumberg-Gumpenstein
- Benefits for tourism
- Professional marketing
Sheep farming in Austria and in the district of Liezen has a long tradition. Over the years, a reduction of agricultural businesses because of constantly increasing costs and a shortage of labour meant a drop in farming in the Alpine pastures. The Alpine pastures became overgrown with dwarf-shrubs and brush, as well as trees. Climate change has also affected the landscape, seeing the forest line move higher up the mountains.
To counter this, the Styrian Sheep Farming Association in partnership with Haus im Ennstal, the Hauser Kaibling Ski Lifts, the LFZ Raumberg-Gumpenstein (agricultural school), as well as the regional agriculture authority in Stainach, created the Alpine Lamb Project on Hauser Kaibling in 2008.
In the first couple of weeks in May, the sheep are driven up Hauser Kaibling, where they spend their summer. A shepherd looks after about 800 sheep and lambs for the entire summer. Before they head up to the alpine pastures, the sheep are registered, weighed, wormed, and undergo a routine health check. The weight of all the sheep together is about 40,000 kg. During the 120 days of grazing, the flock eats more than 1 million kg of grass, alpine herbs, and leaves from the brush. "The flock significantly contributes to the maintenance of our cultured landscape", says Arthur Moser, managing director of the Hauser Kaibling Gondola Lift.
Hauser Kaibling Health Resort
While the sheep are very comfortable up on the alpine pastures (it is like a health resort for them), the variety of the feed creates the best conditions for the production of high-quality Alpine lambs, which are sold through the Ennstal Valley Sheep Farming Centre.
Ecological ski-run maintenance
Not only are the alpine pastures great for grazing, they are also Hauser Kaibling’s ski run areas. By grazing, the sheep provide very ecological ski run maintenance, so the use of heavy vehicles and equipment can be reduced significantly.
The LFZ Raumberg-Gumpenstein scientifically monitors the flock, ensuring the effects of grazing on the plant population is as beneficial as they are for the animals (weight gain, meat quality).
Tenth Styrian Alpine Lamb Festival
The project is topped off with the unique annual Styrian Alpine Lamb Festival on the last Sunday in July - this year on the 28th July 2019.