The environmental programme for contract farmers begins

- We want to take real action to promote environmentally friendly food production. At the same time, we are developing our oat cultivation and getting measured information about our environmental load," says Pekka Kultti, Purchasing Manager for oats at Helsinki Mills.

The pilot phase of the farming programme involves 11 gluten free oat producers. All the farms selected for the pilot programme are long-term partners of Helsinki Mills.

- With the Environmental and Sustainable Farming Programme, we are looking for even better-quality oats for our mills and a larger and better-quality harvest - even in poorer years," says Kultti who also grows gluten free oats himself.

According to Kultti, farmers were happy to participate in the pilot programme. The Environmental and Sustainable Farming programme allows them to improve their farm and adopt new technologies. Of course, it will also require a financial investment from the farmers, but the programme will give them the opportunity to do so. In addition to providing farmers with many good lessons for improving their own harvest, Helsinki Mills pays a premium price for the crops.

Ympäristöohjelma leppäkerttu pellolla
Pekka Kultti


- Helsinki Mills' environmental and sustainability programme is practical. It makes resource-efficient use of the entire arable area of the farm," says Kari Alasaari, a precision farming pioneer and farming consultant who is an expert in the farming programme.

- At the same time, the farming programme brings biodiversity values into the farms' operations, Alasaari emphasises. "Our goal is to take care of the soil fertility of the contract farms' land and prepare for changing climatic conditions so that the fields will grow good quality crops even in challenging growing seasons," he continues.

One of the measures in the farming programme is the targeted fertilisation of oats. Targeted fertilisation means that, for example, 70% of the normal amount of fertiliser is applied at sowing and the rest during the growing season, depending on what the plant needs to produce a good crop.

- In this way, we do not fertilise too much, nor too little, but optimise the amount of fertiliser. It reduces both the cost of farming and the environmental burden," says Pekka Kultti. "We get research-based advice and guidance on how to make fertilisation more efficient from fertiliser manufacturer Yara. In the summer, we will visit the Yara research station in Kotkaniemi with farmers to see the experimental work done at the station.

Another compulsory part of the programme is crop rotation based on flowering plants. "Flowering legumes and oil plants in a crop rotation improve the soil fertility of fields and increase biodiversity by providing food for pollinators," Kultti explains.

Helsinki Mills's gluten free oat products are made from pure Finnish oats, which come from our own contract farmers committed to gluten free production. Currently, the range includes around 20 gluten free oat products sold under the Helsinki Mills brand, and customers include major companies around the world, such as well-known oat drink manufacturers.

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