Country Information - Sweden

Swedish dairy production is very intensive. Averaging at 9,500 kg of milk per cow, Swedish dairy farmers have highest milk yields in Europe. At the same time there are more regulations regarding animal welfare and feeding than in other EU countries. They also face special climate conditions. These are some of the reasons why Swedish dairy production is declining since many years now.

Sweden is a very diverse country. From North to South climate conditions vary along the 1,500 kilometres latitude. Average yearly temperatures for example vary by at least 10°C, with an average of below zero in Northern Sweden. This influences barn constructions as well as fodder production via short vegetation periods.

The Swedish “milk belt” is located in Southern Sweden where 70 per cent of all Swedish milk is produced on only 20 per cent of the total land. 4,800 Swedish dairy farmers produce about 2.8 billion kg of milk per year corresponding to one tenth of the German milk production. About half of the 350,000 dairy cows are still tied up and less than 20 per cent of the farms keep more than 100 dairy cows. On average Swedish farmers keep 70 cows.

Swedish farmers restricted themselves from using genetically modified products and they are obliged by law to offer their cows 6 hours of grazing in summer (a period of two to four months). Most farmers offer “green walking” but cows are still fed inside the barn. The high yielding cows need more energy than they could get by grazing only. On top of that, strict biosecurity measures ensure a high national health status.

Sweden - Country Report 2013/1

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