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May Fields in the Monatfon

by Alexander Sohm last modified 2007-01-08 13:34

The May fields in the Montafon are a special feature of the cultural landscape that is one of a kind.  They came into being with the centuries old three-step-farming that is characteristic of Vorarlberg.

The name May field refers to a zone that is about 1,200 – 1,600 meters above see level that was farmed by the end of May at the latest.  The traditional trek of the cattle in the spring from the home farm to the May field and then on to the Alpine pastures hardly ever happens anymore.  The pastures in the May fields, like here on Maschleu and Kapu which is further on up the path, are still mown by the farmers.  The hay is then transported to the valley instead of being stored in the barns or the stables on the May fields.

The loss of meaning or let’s say, the modernisation of farming threatened the existence of the May fields.  The 1960’s and 70’s were the high point of the disregard of the May fields.  During this time many of the buildings on the May fields were left to fall into disrepair.  It was only after they started to be used for tourism, especially in the ski regions, and with the increasing development of the land, that the May field buildings were repaired and the fields were farmed again.

The meaning of the May field landscape and the May field culture as a regional peculiarity and cultural possession is still of great importance.   Sustainable farming can only be guaranteed in the future through an awareness of tradition and sponsorships.


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