Nihtilä Farm - This modern Finnish farm is an active user of GrainSense Go analyzer

Nihtilä Farm - This modern Finnish farm is an active user of GrainSense Go analyzer

The Nihtilä farm has long roots, as there has been a Nihtilä named farm at the same spot since 1539. Now the farm has already received the sixth generation in the same family, when Nina Nihtilä took over the farm after her father Perttu Nihtilä retired. This academic farming family relies on data-driven farming – and therefore they have been satisfied users of the GrainSense Handheld Analyzer since 2020.

Nina’s farm is part of a family based cooperative, as three closely located farms within the same family carry out a lot of collaboration in their work and share their agricultural machinery and equipment. The other two farms are operated by Nina’s cousin and their uncle. Also the GrainSense Analyzer is used in cooperation between the three farms.

The Nihtilä farm has traditionally been a crop farm: bread wheat, malted barley, rapeseed, and autumn cereals. Furthermore, they have a forestry operation in addition to farming. In total, they have just under 300 hectares of fields on the three farms, where the machines and dryers are in shared use on this arable area. Now that Nina is the farmer on her estate, she has also introduced lamb meat production, with almost 100 ewes, producing approximately 150 lambs annually. Actually, in addition to her current role as a farmer, Nina is also a veterinarian specialized in e.g. sheep health and welfare.

“With the sheep, we have been able to add feed grass to the traditional rotation of the crop farm, so that the land and the field revives from the cultivation of grain. The lamb production and grass rotation has enabled us utilizing efficiently also small field blocks of difficult size or shape, which are not worth driving with big machines. There are grasslands that are under natural treatment, as well as protection zones. The profit comes from the lamb meat. As the agricultural political situation becomes more critical, it has been a big added value to have both domestic animals and plant cultivation”, Nina explains, and continues:

“In my case, the benefit is undeniable. The lamb farming is completely grass- and roughage-based. They only get grain and peas as little lambs. Otherwise, they grow on clover and feed grass. In addition, it is also a very ethical way to grow and produce animal protein. It goes well with my values.”

Quality analysis is an essential part of modern farm operation

Photo by Perttu Nihtilä

The idea for investing in the GrainSense Handheld Analyzer was originally Perttu’s. “I was researching how to better analyze and find out the quality of one's grain before the batch is taken to the customer, whether it’s a store or industrial company, and analyzed there. The fact that GrainSense is a Finnish innovation, it meant a lot to me. I was able to talk both of my brothers around very easily into the purchase. After three years with the Analyzer, I wouldn't give up on this device”, Perttu describes.

They use it mostly in analyzing dried batches of grains, so that they have a good understanding of the quality they have in each silo. They carry out the analysis to each batch right after the drying process, with three samples for quality assurance. In addition, they take measurements from sample crops collected from the field to decide on the best time for harvest, and additional quality inspections during off-season e.g. when they are sending grain batches to their customers.

“It’s very handy and easy to use. I believe it’s such a big factor that it actually gets used. Looking back to the analysis results of the past years, we have used the Analyzer practically every day during the harvest season, and taken several sample batches per day. If it didn’t work properly, it would quickly be out of use”, Nina states.

And not just being convenient to use, but also knowledge of your own product is very valuable. It gives the possibility to market your product to a suitable use. Although customers in the fields of industry and trade will do their own analysis of the batch, knowing your own product’s quality gives you peace of mind, both Nina and Perttu agree.

The change of generation has clearly been very smooth at the Nihtilä farm. Nina has been able to take over the versatile tasks of the farm, and when needed, she gets valuable backup from her father whether it’s about specific details about running a plant sprayer machine or help at harvest time, but most important is the mental support.

“It has been a pleasure to continue farming with modern machines and equipment. In addition to the GrainSense Analyzer, we also use other intelligent devices in our agriculture, e.g. satellite positioning for sowing, fertilization, and plant protection measures”, Nina explains, being very grateful to her father for creating such a modern farm.

If you’d like to see more from Nihtilä farm’s daily live and the cute lambs, see their Facebook page or Instagram profile (@nihtilantila) (content in Finnish only).