On June 1st, World Milk Day is celebrated worldwide. In terms of the vitality of Finnish rural areas, the country's 4,500 dairy farms play a significant role. Last year, dairy sales revenue on these farms exceeded the one-billion-euro mark. The dairy industry considers responsibility as a long-term key factor for success, with animal welfare being one of its most important components. As an example of implemented responsibility initiatives, the globally unique cattle healthcare monitoring system, Naseva, covers over 95% of dairy farms.
Finnish cows are not fed soy; instead, their diet is based on preserved grass silage. Good hygiene practices, minimal use of medications, and excellent milk quality are among the strengths of Finnish dairy production.
The dairy sector has a strong commitment to enhancing the well-being of cows by enabling outdoor access, grazing, and exercise. Outdoor access promotes cow welfare by improving muscle condition, hoof health, and natural herd behavior.
Grazing contributes to biodiversity, as diverse pasture vegetation and cows attract various species such as swallows and dung beetles. Cow manure stimulates soil microorganisms and improves soil fertility. Grazing animals also add diversity to the rural landscape and play a crucial role in preserving endangered traditional biotopes.
In 2022, milk production in Finland amounted to 2,193 million liters, representing a decrease of just over two percent compared to the previous year. The production of organic milk was slightly less than 81 million liters, nearly the same as in 2021.
The highest milk production was recorded in Northern Ostrobothnia with 371 million liters and Northern Savonia with 310 million liters. Similar to the previous year, Kuopio was the top municipality in milk production, producing 69 million liters. It was followed by Kurikka with 60 million liters, Kiuruvesi with 53 million liters, and Kokkola with 50 million liters.
The number of dairy farms decreased by approximately 400 farms in the past year. As of the end of 2022, there were a total of 4,572 dairy farms in Finland, compared to twice that number a decade ago.
The number of dairy cows decreased by over 5,000 last year, with a total of 243,200 dairy cows in Finland. On average, there were 52 cows per farm.
On World Milk Day, June 1st, cows will be released to graze at Mäntysaaren Farm in Valtimo. The start of the summer season for cows can be observed either in person or remotely. Learn more here.
World Milk Day, initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, is celebrated across the globe.
As Finland marks World Milk Day, the dairy industry plays a vital role in the country's rural vitality. With responsible practices, such as prioritizing animal welfare, the industry aims for long-term success. While the number of dairy farms has declined, Finnish dairy production maintains high standards of hygiene, minimal medication usage, and excellent milk quality. World Milk Day celebrations serve as a reminder of the industry's dedication to sustainability and the well-being of cows.