The 2 Finnish farmers Juhani Korkiamäki and Ari Teppo merged their farms and built a new barn for 600 cows. With the robotised milking parlour, the 2 Finns were able to save €140,000 in labour costs.
Five million euros - that is what Juhani Korkiamäki and Ari Teppo invested in their new company FinnMilk. For that, they got a new location, two stables for a total of 600 dairy cows, a calf barn with 40 crates and 80 calves in groups.
The rotary parlour is fully robotised, there is a large shed in which a hammer mill is housed, a few hundred tonnes of grain storage with a receiving bin, forage storage in five silos of 12 x 64 metres and 2 manure silos of 3,500 cubic metres each. And all this tightly surrounded by a large fence. In short: a company where everyone would love to farm: brand new buildings, built according to the latest insights and financially sound.
The new location houses only calves up to approximately three months of age. Heifers are not present. They are on the former two dairy farms belonging to the two entrepreneurs. That is also where most of the forage is stored. Those two companies are about 45 km apart, the new location is halfway between.
Katja (35) and Juhani (37) Korkiamäki and Ari Teppo (44)
in Seinajoki, Finland.
Company: FinnMilk has 450 cows on 450 hectares of grassland. Of this, 200 hectares are owned and 250 hectares are leased for 5 -10 years, for approximately €260 per hectare per year. The cows produce 10,100 kg of milk per lactation with 3.75% fat and 3.30% protein.
Farm strategy: Rapid growth to 600 cows and then optimisation.
From mega to the largest Finnish dairy farm
The average Finnish dairy farm has less than 30 cows. That makes merging of two 'mega' companies to become the biggest Finnish dairy farm quite special. The merger started after a visit to EuroTier in 2012. On the return flight Korkiamäki and his friend Teppo took out the calculator and a notepad. Korkiamäki then milked 130 cows on two robots, Teppo 200 cows on three robots. They were shocked by the outcome of merging their farms. "There were a lot of hidden efficiencies," adds Korkiamäki. "The next day we told our wives. Katja knew that I wanted to expand the farm size. She was also aware that in the construction phase running the 'old' company would be completely on her. This is not a problem, because she is a better farmer than I am. I'm more of a manager. She gave me her blessing after some thought. Ari's wife is less involved in the farm, she works completely outside the company. She also agreed immediately. The next Monday we called the bank, they gave us a green signal right away. We needed to start a business plan and make things concrete. A year later the first shovel went into in the ground."
The new location is now between the 2 old dairy farms
FinnMilk, in which Korkiamäki and Teppo each have 49.5% share and a third person, mainly for tax reasons, has 1%. The new location is about halfway between the 2 old locations. "The first condition for us was that it was located on the main road. We have too many transport movements, we have to have quick snow-free access." Because of the height difference in the lot 66,000 cubic meters of sand had to be moved by truck. The site preparation took almost a year; the construction, mostly with prefabricated parts, took only four months. In february 2015, 330 own cows and heifers went to the new company. Since then, more than 100 heifers were purchased and added. The acquired animals were not brought into the new barn before blood tests showed that they are free of IBR, BVD and Salmonella. "We are free of those diseases and we want to stay that way," says Korkiamäki. "Therefore, visitors must wear clothing and footwear provided by us. Visitors are only allowed on the feed paths, not on slatted floors or between animals. In addition, the calf barn is a 'forbidden area'.