FINLAND – Valio, the Finnish dairy manufacturer is discontinuing the use of soybean in feed for cattle in a bid to enhance eco-friendly production practices in its entire food and feed chain.

Valio said soy elimination is part of an extensive responsibility program, a step towards achieving a soy-free milk production chain that puts it at a competitive edge in the international markets.

The scale of impact of milk production on wetlands, forests and prairies has prompted calls for sustainable dairy farming and feed production, and Valio joins the movement to reduce the effects.

Soy-free feed applies to dairy stock calves, heifers and dairy cattle of the Valio Group’s dairy farms as well as animals raised outside the dairy farms, e.g. on heifer farms.

However, it does not apply to other production animals at Valio dairy farms that is, suckler cows, beef cattle or feeder calves.

The company said that even the small amounts of soy used for feeding young cattle will be fully replaced with other protein sources as supplementary feed for dairy cows.

To enhance better life and sustainable developing, the company agreed to feed young cattle with soy-free feed by February 28, 2019 and discontinue soy on dairy farms as of March.

With one-year transition period, dairy farm entrepreneurs will be in a position to use up any of the soy-containing feed that they already have in stock or that has already been ordered.

“Soy is the most important protein feed for animals globally.

At the same time, it is also the most important source of plant protein for people. Part of Valio’s responsibility approach includes that we don’t feed animals food that is suitable for human consumption,” said Juha Nousiainen, Director of Farm Services at Valio.

In the place soy, farmers can use rapeseed which has much better nutritional implications.

Customers in the international markets are increasingly raising environmental implications of dairy production, urging manufactures to reduce greenhouse emmissions to address climate change and sustainability.