Tag: Grazing in Finland

Providing Shade in the Arctic Region

Our European partner shares another customer story. This time we hear from a Shade Haven user in Findland.

Written by Rosa de Nooijer
Interview questions answered by Henri Hartikainen

When you think of Finland in summer, you might not imagine a hot sunny day with cows looking for shade. The idea of Finland being cold, also in summer, is probably influenced by its unique geographical profile and arctic climate conditions. However, considering that temperatures are rising, especially in the Arctic region, and noting that Finland is the most northern agricultural country in the world, with many farms concentrating on livestock, the idea of cows needing extra shade is suddenly not out of the ordinary.

The impacts of climate change are diverse and differ depending on the place. In Finland, the rising temperatures have meant that farmers started looking for ways to cool down their livestock, which has led them to the Shade Haven.

Today we are proud to introduce you to Henri Hartikainen, a cattle farmer located in southern Finland. We asked him some questions to learn more about the role the Shade Haven plays for livestock on the farm.

Q: Can you tell us about yourself and your farm?
Henri: “We have a dairy farm in southern Finland. A few years ago, we built a new compost bed and dairy barn for our cows. We try to make the animals feel as comfortable as we can. Our heifers have been living and grazing on the seaside pastures for 50 years already. In total, we around 150 animals and 80 in lactation.”

Q: What led you to look for a shade structure for your animals?
Henri: “Some seaside pastures have only a few or no trees at all to give shade. Heifers tried to go swimming to cool down and we decided to try and help them. At first, we were planning to build something, but wind and high waters would have destroyed everything other than mobile shade.”

Q: What are the biggest benefits of the Shade Haven?
Henri: “We can easily move it to different pastures and store it for the winter.”

Q: Are there also negatives? If so, have you found solutions for that?
Henri: “A little big to store at winter inside the shed, even when in transports mode, but to use the extra space we are storing smaller things under it.”

Q: Have you seen a difference in the behavior of the herd since you have the Shade Haven?
Henri: “Wolves are back in this region for the first time in over a hundred years. I put lights under the Shade Haven and heifers seem to stay near the Shade even at night. They feel safe. Also during the day, it is easier to get closer to heifers, when they want to come under the Shade that makes it easier to check the cattle.”

Q: Have you seen a difference in the meadows since you got the Shade Haven?
Henri: “Pastures are eaten better around the Shade. I move it 20-30 meters once a week or so with a John Deere gator. Unfortunately I can not take the Shade Haven everywhere, because pasture gets really wet closer to the sea.”

Q: Why would you recommend others to also purchase a Shade Haven?
Henri: “Because it is strong and for the mobile shade. It makes it possible to have dairy heifers on a pasture with no shade. We love it.”

Q: Do you have a funny anecdote or memorable moment with the Shade Haven?
Henri: “People from the village were worried that Russians might think it’s a huge satellite dish.”

Q: How do other farmers and people who visit the farm react to the Shade Haven?
Henri: “They are amazed by the structure, the size of it and how it stands in the winds.”

Q: What is your future dream for keeping animals on farms/for the animals on your farm?
Henri: “We have started to let calves be with their mothers for a few months. Maybe letting them go to pastures too under the shade.”

Going through Henri’s answers, we are proud that the Shade Haven has made it to Finland. His story is the perfect example of the ways in which mobile shade can positively influence a herd and farming practices while considering the local ecology and biodiversity.

We want to thank Henri for taking time to answer our questions. We hope that the answers he has given to these questions will help other farmers learn about the important role the Shade Haven plays on farms with livestock.

Man@Machine is the importer of the Shade Haven to Europe. Contact us at info@manatmachine.com or call +31644428391