Especially beef and sheep producers have converted to organic farming in recent years, reports Evira who is responsible for control and certification of organic production in Finland. 4300 farms out of a total of 60000 farms in Finland are certified organic. In 2013 206000 hectares where certified which is 9% of the Finnish field area.
Organic farms are relatively large: 48 ha field compared to just 39 hectares on conventional farms. During recent years some big cereal farms have converted to organic farming and started with beef or sheep farming. Increasing organic acreage and production is the target of the Finnish government.
Organic animal farms are in average twice as large as organic farms in general. Field is needed so that required pasture areas are available for the animals. In average an organic farm has 40 dairy or suckling cows. The number animals on organic farms is also higher than on conventional farms which have in average 30 cows. Big organic farms need to partner with smaller grain-farms around them to secure enough fodder.
Protein is a challenge
The increase in organic farms has also increased the demand of organic feed. The number of certified organic feed companies has doubled during the last two years. Several big industrial feed manufacturers have added organic feed in their program. There is huge demand for domestically produced organic rape seed as a source of protein feed. Organic rape seed is grown without neonicotinoids which are chemical pesticides that have created a huge debate recently for harming bees.
The most common sectors for certified organic manufacturers to operate are meat and bakery industries and vegetable and berry product manufacturers.