Lokakuu (October), the mud month

This first week of October or “Lokakuu” meaning the mud month in Finnish, is already quite muddy. Most years in Finland the crops would have been safely stored in silos weeks ago, but this summer was a rainy one for Finland making crops and harvest late. The past 2 days’ rain has resulted in flooded fields, lakes and rivers pretty much halting harvest. Unfortunately some famers have crops they were unable to get to before the rain started, leaving silage and barley out soaking in the rain. Over 3 and 1/4 inches have fallen with more to come. This exceeds the quota expected for all of October , Finland’s rainiest month, in just 2 days!

In preparation for the rain the fields were buzzing with tractors like bees on a hive the past few weeks. Harvesters were running into the night trying to get the precious crops in before the rain. The silage and grains are needed to feed the animals and people for the next year. Silage is part of the mixed ration fed to the dairy cows at Vuorelan tila.

While all this rain is worrisome for farmers, seeing the silage harvesting at night was a sight. The photos above show the cutting, harvesting, transportation, compaction and storage of grass silage. The silage harvest is massive effort on part of the farmer, cooperative and contractor. I had a great time practicing english with the contractor Toni.

Silage can be made from many crops and stored in silos or plastic wrapped bales and fermented. The quality and preparation of the silage is crucial for optimal animal health and nutrition. Green silage maintains more nutrients than dry hay and the fermentation increases the digestibility and utilization of nutrient by the ruminent animals.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Lokakuu (October), the mud month

    • Barley is one of Finland’s “finn-est” crops but typically the spring variety they grow is mostly used for animal feed, rather than the other malt barley varieties (which grow better in warmer climates) for beer. Interestingly, the only ethanol plant that uses barley in the UK is located in Finland.

      As the climate changes Finland’s malt barley export is increasing. Just a few kilometers from my school in Ilmajoki is Koskenkorva, which produces Finland’s most popular clear spirit “viina” or vodka from distilled barley. They buy most of the barley in the area. I am still unsure of the crop losses from the flooding, if I find out I will pass it along. Thanks again for reading 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s