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Cattle farming in HKScan’s food chain

Our contract farmers rear cattle in Finland and Sweden. In Estonia, we also procure cattle from our partners. We sell products made from local beef under HK®, Scan® and Rakvere® brands.

HKScan’s contract farms in Finland and Sweden are committed to following strict guidelines for animal rearing, feeding, health care and biosecurity.

The Baltic Sea region is well suited for beef production as it is good to grow grasses and produce grass feed here. Production of milk and beef maintains food self-sufficiency and animal grazing supports biodiversity.

In our operating countries, more than 80 per cent of beef comes from animals in the milk production chain, which means that the carbon footprint of production is proportionally lower than in separated meat production. In addition to dairy and meat products, the carcasses of the cattle are fully utilised to produce leather and gelatine, among other things.

Food and rest

Cattle are intelligent and social animals that spends most of its time eating, chewing and resting. Cattle form close relationships and develop a strict hierarchy. Licking other members of the herd is an important part of social interaction. For calves, playing is a particularly important way to learn social skills and body control.

Despite their sociability, cattle also need peace. Adult cattle rest for 11 to 13 hours a day. The lying area must be soft, spacious, peaceful and well ventilated. Straw, peat and rubber mats are used as litter and bedding. Too short a rest or uncomfortable lying area may cause stress and predispose to illness.

Our farmers make sure that there are enough feeding and drinking places for the entire herd. Cattle are ruminants that spend most of the day collecting feed, chewing and ruminating. Cattle eat 8 to 12 hours and ruminate 6 to 9 hours a day. In Finland, there is no soy in beef cattle feed.

Beef cattle grow on specialised farms

Beef cattle are reared in cowsheds and cold loose barns as well as in pens and pastures. Beef breed cattle calves are born on suckler cow farms where they graze with their mothers until they are about 6 months old. The calves are then moved to specialised farms or they stay on their birth farm. From 2 weeks to 3 months of age, bull calves born on dairy farms are moved to a specialised calf rearing house or to the calf section on a beef cattle farm. From the calf rearing houses, young 6-month-old calves are moved to cold loose barns for final rearing.

Employees at our slaughterhouses are trained and the process is strictly controlled. In addition, there is always a veterinarian on site. All our slaughterhouses have recording video surveillance and we are constantly developing our operations.