187,888, and that’s just counting those of a significant size… This is the number most frequently suggested by various sources that like to call Finland the “land of 1000 lakes” (and it strikes us that a thousand, in this case, is a rather drastic rounding down…). Considered, according to the famous magazine Newsweek, “the best country in the world”, it has to be said that Finland does have one of the highest per capita incomes in Europe, the best welfare state, the best educational system, the best quality of life, and is also the least overpopulated, with a population density of just 16 people per square kilometre and a total population of only 5.4 million. Essentially an agricultural nation until the end of the 1940s, after the Second World War Finland experienced a veritable industrial revolution, so that agriculture now accounts for just 2.9% of GDP. Geography and climate are also important contributing factors in this regard: in addition to the lakes, some 73% of the country is forest, leaving only 7.4% of the land available for arable and livestock farming. And the climate cannot be overlooked: forget chocolate-box snowy landscapes and herds of reindeer… that only applies to the far north, while the rest of the country actually experiences significant temperature excursions, ranging from as low as -35 degrees in winter (depending on the prevailing winds) to +35 sometimes in summer, with great differences from one year to another. Not an easy climate for agriculture, to be sure. However… there are some exceptions, and one of these was brought to our attention by the Dieci Dealer in Finland, Tomas Kjellman: he is based in Härkmerivägen, in Ostrobotnia, the western region of Finland that looks over the Gulf of Bothnia, the stretch of sea that divides Finland and Sweden. Divides in a manner of speaking, given that Finland was under Swedish rule for centuries, still has close dealings with its Scandinavian neighbour, and Swedish remains the second language spoken in Finland.
We’re talking about “Ab Euro Bull Oy”, a large bull beef livestock farm run by Samuel Ingves. Not far from Härkmerivägen, construction work is almost completed on a new cattleshed which will take the total number of cattle at Euro Bull to over 1500 head. Such large numbers obviously entail a massive workload, both in terms of feeding the cattle and cleaning the cattlesheds, a massive workload that Samuel spoke to us about in our brief but enjoyable and entertaining chat. “Certainly, it’s hard work on a farm like mine, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I drive 1000 hours each year just feeding cattle and shifting manure! And with the opening of the new cattleshed, that work can only increase proportionately. That’s why, together with my co-workers, we decided to purchase our third AGRI TECH. With its compact size and great agility, it’s perfect for our daily manoeuvering “back and forth” in barns and other tight spots, and it’s powerful enough to let me do in half the time all those jobs I used to do using a traditional tractor. Just think of the amount of feed to be handled… and when it comes to feeding, time matters. There’s also another more, shall we say, selfish consideration: here it isn’t like in your part of the world, where you have sunshine all year round. Here, when it’s cold, it’s really cold! And after trying the AGRI TECH heated cab, I wouldn’t be without it again for anything in the world!”