Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

Photos by Toni Pallari

Pedigree cattle protects seashore nature

Hereford cattle are the most important employees of Rautala farm. Thanks to them there is now room for the endangered Primula cortusoides and nesting waterfowl among the willows in front of the Parhalahti nature conservation area.

Fifty head of cattle graze in a Natura area in Pyhäjoki – or animals, as Toni Kippola, who runs Rautala farm, calls them. The animals have 100 hectares on which to lumber.

“You can see that the animals are very happy not to be tied to anything or not to be limited in movement in any way,” Kippola says, gesturing to the Herefords peacefully grazing in their enclosure.

The animals from Kippola farm also do environmental management work in Yppäri, on a flood bed along the Liminganjoki river, and on an island at the mouth of Pyhäjoki river. The animals make their own paths in their pasture lands, which humans can also use. There are access gates to the pastures in the Parhalahti Natura area. Hunters, in particular, have praised the gates.

“I can easily spend a couple of hours walking along the stunning seashore of Parhalahti when I pop in to check everything in the evening.”

Kippola visibly shows his thoughts about the Hanhikivi 1 construction site. In early winter 2012, he drove his tractor around his snowy field to write the words “Tervetuloa ydinvoima” (Welcome, nuclear power).

“Nuclear power will bring investments and jobs to the area. I used to work at Loviisa nuclear power plant and I have visited Olkiluoto, which is why I know that you can trust Finnish nuclear power.”

The cattle breeding at Rautala farm started with Highland cattle, known for their bangs, but the faster-growing Herefords have taken over since. Both breeds like to be outdoors all year round.

Landscape management and organic meat

When his parents’ estate was being divided after they passed away, Kippola bought the farm from his siblings. This was in 1995 when Kippola was in his twenties. The farm was small, because their parents used to work elsewhere. For the first ten years, Kippola worked in the metal industry and planned the future of the farm.

A change occurred when he attended a landscape management course arranged by ProAgria in 2004. He prepared a plan for the farm according to which beef cattle would graze at environmental management sites for three months each year.

“This has not been about work for a long time: instead, it’s a way of life."

The farm switched to organic meat production in 2012.  Kippola has had to learn plenty of new things in order to produce organic meat, but the studies have also included teamwork and workshops with other organic farmers, which are pleasant for someone working on their own.

Rautala farm will soon start to breed high-quality calves for other meat farms, which will replace direct sales of meat.

“The breeding will be based on a plan that will be revised annually. When we monitor closely which bull is the best for each cow, the calving will go smoothly and the cattle will grow well.”

There is still a place where Kippola does welding. There is a new machine in one corner: a remotely controlled machine the likes of which many people have seen mowing grass on the sides of roads. Kippola uses it to remove the densest willow copses.

“The machine not only cuts the willows, but also grinds them into woodchips.”


Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

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