In year 2022 Helsinki Mills started its own responsible cultivation programme with its trusted farmers.
A good harvest is not a given – it requires actions from the farmer
“With our own cultivation programme, together with the farmers, we get a better harvest with a lower environmental load. We use technology to optimise the amount of fertilisers exactly as needed”, explains Pekka Kultti, purchasing manager of oats at Helsinki Mills – a farmer of gluten-free oats himself.
“We reduce the need to cultivate the field and improve its structure to make it more carbon-binding. We use collector plants, such as clover, which improves the growth potential of the soil by binding nitrogen for the next harvest. In addition, in the fields we use flowering plants, such as rapeseed and peas in the crop rotation to attract pollinators, he continues.
The responsibly produced oats were also of very high quality
The mill is celebrating the first harvest obtained as a result of the responsible cultivation programme. The oats have been really high quality and large in size.
Finnish oats grow under the midnight sun
Our coolish, bright summers with just the right amount of rain are the ideal growing environment for oats, which cannot tolerate heat and drought.
Measures of the responsible cultivation programme
Precision fertilization – the right amount in the right place
The degree of fertilisation the plant needs is carefully studied with various plant sensors. In this way, fertilisation costs are reduced, a better harvest is obtained, and the fertiliser given to the plant leads to growth, and does not leak into the environment.
Flowering plants in the crop rotation improve the growth conditions
Flowering plants, such as rapeseed or peas, grow on about a third of the farms’ arable land. Oil and leguminous plants are good for the soil both in terms of structure and micro-organism activity. They reduce the need for plant protection agents and fertilisation and increase biodiversity by providing pollinators with food.
Tillage reduction and collector plants
Some of the fields are lightly tilled in the autumn, others are kept covered with plants over the winter. In this way, nutrients are not washed away due to runoff and erosion. Vegetation and collector plants improve the structure of the field, increase carbon sequestration, the density of the soil and the number of micro-organisms, such as worms.
Soil scanning helps the farmer to fertilise and lime the field in the right places.
Diversity fields increase the diversity of the cultivated land. They are sown with e.g. meadow plants suitable for pollinators and birds.