Finland is a country of milk. In Finland, milk consumption per person is the largest in the world, at 361 kilogrammes a year. Milk production is the most important source of livelihood in the rural areas, and it maintains the population and vitality of the rural areas.
At the end of 2015, there were about 7,900 farms in Finland that delivered milk to dairies. The average number of cows on a Finnish dairy farm is 36, but a rapid structural change is ongoing; that is the number of dairy farms is decreasing and the size of farms is increasing. The genetic quality of Finnish dairy cows is high, and the average milk production per cow in 2014 was about 8,200 kilogrammes a year.
Research topics related to milk production widely covered
Milk production is closely connected to beef production, as more than 85 per cent of Finnish beef is produced as a by-product of milk production. Male calves of dairy cows are raised for beef production and dairy cows that have ended their production are also slaughtered for beef.
The Natural Resources Institute Finland carries out extensive research in various sectors of milk production, such as feed production, feeding, breeding, management, animal welfare, environmental effects, product quality for the food industry, economics and entrepreneurship.