The second conference day included excursions to three different farms. One of the excursions was directed to Wehmais Manor located in Juva, ca. 40 kilometer from Mikkeli. The two other locations were Kalliola vegetable farm in Haukivuori and Siiriäinen cattle farm in Hirvensalmi.
Wehmais Manor is an organic dairy farm, which is considered to be one of the pioneer farms in organic farming in South Savo region. The current farmer, Carin Grotenfelt, presented the farm to the conference guests.
The old, beautiful cowshed houses 60 mostly Finnish Ayshire dairy cows. Finnish Ayshire is a robust breed, not as sensitive to changes in their environment.
- This breed is simpler to handle, which is why I like to work with them, Carin explains.
The door in the barn is always open for the cows to go outside whenever they want. The door is closed only couple of weeks during the autumn to prevent cows from mastitis, if it is too wet outside. The herd has been very healthy without any serious problems.
The estate has three employees and 220 hectares cultivated land producing cattle feed for the farm. The crop rotation cycle in the fields is six years: three years of annual crops, and three years for perennials. Carin tells that she is co-operating with scientists in different field experiments.
- Every year we try to do things better than last year, Carin emphasizes.
The co-operation with local farmers is essential for the estate. Farmer companies own together farming equipment or sell grain and buy seed together. The landfill gas plant was established together with 13 owners, one of them being a local green house. The energy produced in the plant is used in the green house.
The conference guest were inspired by Carin´s enthusiasm and positive attitude. After the presentation the guests enjoyed the organic tea and sandwiches from the Teahouse of Wehmais, owned by Carin´s sister Anna. They also had the possibility for some shopping in Anna´s other company, Wehmais Deli&Deco.
The international organic conference in Mikkeli 19th– 21st of June, 2017 gathered over 90 researchers from 13 countries to discuss the current research topics in organic farming sector.
- More information about Teahouse of Wehmais: www.teahouse.fi (in Finnish)
- More information about the conference: www.njf.nu/seminars/mikkeli2017