We asked her about her perspectives on running a milking farm that far north, and she explained to us the variations in the grazing season, challenges to run a dairy farm in such a location, the midnight sun, but after all, still very satisfied and happy with their robust cows.
Mari Trosten. Photo: Jan Arve Kristiansen
Dairy production at 700North and far beyond the polar circle
“Some people believe that it’s not possible to run a milking farm this far north, but interestingly, in this region, we find good conditions for running a farm. The region has the midnight sun from May until the end of July, which means that the grazing season is very intense” explains Mari.
Návet Doallu DA is a cooperative owned by three farmers, established in 2006. They have about 100 milking cows and two milking robots taking care of the milking. The name is actually Sami and it means “Barn Operation”. The average production is about 9000 kg milk and produces about 900 tons of milk annually. The grazing season is from the middle of June to September and is a very intense period, as the days and nights are so light with the midnight sun.
Large variation between seasons
Mari explained that the biggest challenge is the potentially large variation between the seasons, as the weather can change rapidly, one year can be a fantastic grazing season, whereas others are more challenging. "We always need to have feed “back-up”," she says.
“The best characteristic of the Norwegian Red for me is robustness, and how the cows can easily adapt to the different environments”, Mari says. In her farm, the feed ratio can vary, and they have large contrast during the year, from the midnight sun to cold and darkness, but the Norwegian Red adapt easily to the different conditions, “And they are easy to get pregnant!” she added.
Mari is genotyping all of her cows for better decision-making about which bulls to use. “We focus on production (milk fat and protein), but aim to find bulls that can complement our females, she said. The fact that the Norwegian Red is also more profitable, it is important for us that we get paid better from the slaughterhouse.”