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5/2004

SPECIAL ISSUES ON AGRICULTURE

Editor: Tarmo Luoma

Contents:

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Summary
Tarmo Luoma
Work, efficiency and wellbeing for 80 years

During the first years of Finland’s independence, agriculture saw many changes. As a result of the Land Reform Acts of 1918 (torpparilaki) and 1922 (Lex Kallio), over 64,000 freehold properties were created as compulsory purchases of leasehold properties gave former tenant-farmers an opportunity to acquire land. Farm work was quite labour-intensive, and cost of labour made up over 60 per cent of overall costs. Established in 1924, the Farm Work Efficiency Institute aimed at making work more efficient through research, education and training.

The TTS Institute has always reacted rapidly to major social changes. A labour shortage during the war and women’s responsibility for both family and farm work made it necessary not only to make farm and forest work more efficient, but also to rationalise housework. In the 1960s, Finland experienced massive migration from the countryside to towns and cities, particularly to those in Southern Finland. People left their small farms and needed training for new trades. This training was provided by the TTS Institute.

A non-profit organisation, the TTS Institute continues to meet the demands of the changing society as effectively and flexibly as ever. The volume of activities has grown steadily over the years. Today the Institute employs nearly 200 people in research and training, and the total number of students in various vocational training courses is about one thousand.

In a globalised economy, requirements for production capacity keep increasing and are under continuous evaluation. Economic reasons, however, are not the only aspects to consider; we must also observe energy efficiency and eco-efficiency because ever more raw material is recycled.

Future society will need the various activities of the TTS Institute even more. Research, information, education, training and comparisons of the productivity of work must be continued in the various production areas. The issue of the productivity of services has already become a major challenge to Finnish society. Today and in the future, the goal of the TTS Institute is to enhance and intensify the work processes of various trades, whether farmers, forest owners, consumers or car dealers.

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Lea Puumala
Economical feeding – planning and alternatives

Healthy animals, low feed costs, feeding systems adapted to the farm’s circumstances and using inexpensive grain as concentrated feed all contribute to an improved economy of a livestock farm. It is also the aim of a South Ostrobothnia project called Kati, focusing on improving margins by mixing feed on the farms. The project is coordinated by the TTS Institute and features close co-operation with local dairies, Maitojaloste in particular, and dairy advisory services of local Rural Advisory Centres. Other co-operation partners include equipment manufacturers Pellonpaja Oy, Aimo Kortteen Konepaja Oy, Nipere Oy and Rehumelica Oy. The focus is on distributing information on alternative uses of grain and related technology.

A typical farm in the project is planning or investing in a barn for 40 to 80 cows, weighing up different feeding systems and feed alternatives. Some farms are well-established but want to use grain to feed the cows and mix concentrated feed on the farm.

Feeding should be complemented by suitable feed alternatives, which would make the production economically viable. The most common feeding principle is to ensure sufficient good-quality grass forage. The project will study the following on the participating farms: different ways and techniques of distributing feed, concentrated feed alternatives, prerequisites for using grain and discovering a feed mix suitable for using grain. The aim is to distribute the annual quota of 500,000 to 2 million kilograms of feed to all animals in a rational way. The target milk production for each cow varies between 8,500 and 10,500 kilograms per year.

Project farms will design the use of concentrated feed according to the quantity and quality of grass forage. Grain will comprise the base of concentrated feed because it is the least expensive concentrated feed when bought. Some of the grain comes from the farm's own fields, while some is bought, either dried or newly harvested moist, from other local farms. The price in farm-to-farm trade is set on the basis of the grain’s weight and grain’s market price in the area.

In South Ostrobothnia, in addition to grass silage and grain, the total mixed ration includes distillers’ grain, rape seed meal, dried by-products of the ethanol industry and appropriate vitamins and minerals, possibly also sugar beet pulp. Concentrated feed made on farms is made of barley, oat, rape seed meal, dried by-products of the ethanol industry, sugar beet pulp and vitamin and mineral mixtures.

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Eerikki Kaila
Research results and advising services improve quality to agricultural buildings

The increasing unit size is a salient trend in livestock farming in Finland. Last year, 3.92 cubic metres of agricultural buildings were completed in Finland. The number of building investments has decreased in the past few years, whereas the average amount of investment has increased. For example, the average level of investments in cowsheds has, in a couple of years, increased from 100,000 euros to 140,000 euros. The increase is due to both the increased size of building projects and the rising cost per individual animal area built. The costs are increased by the rising general level of building costs, and the increased amount of automation acquired. Investments in agricultural building have been approximately EUR 300 million a year.

As the size of building projects has increased, the role of the farmer has changed from an independent private builder to a manager of the construction project. A farmer planning to build seldom has previous experience of construction management, and when the project may be the first ever for the farmer, his or her expertise is seldom enough to successfully carry out the project. Farmers as construction clients always bear the main responsibility for the project. Therefore, it is vital they have up-to-date information on matters related to building and that they know how to make the best use of professional building services.

The TTS Institute carried out a project entitled VIRAKO on agricultural construction management, with the aim of improving the quality of agricultural buildings by increasing farmers’ awareness of what construction management duties involve. To achieve a good agricultural building requires close co-operation between the farmer and any professional participating in the building project. One of the VIRAKO project’s purposes was to produce information on how to improve this co-operation and clarify the division of responsibilities between farmers as construction managers, designers, supervisors and builders. The VIRAKO project was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The most visible part of the VIRAKO project is the website providing a comprehensive information package on agricultural building and, in particular, on managing a building project. The website also has useful information for anyone interested in building in rural areas or builders, designers and supervisors whose work involves agricultural building. The website is at: www.tts.fi/rakentaminen (only in Finnish).

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Elina Muuttomaa
Carbodyacademy

TTS Institute’s Vocational Education department (est. 1955) has built the Carbodyacademy. This co-operative training centre has partnerships with and strong support from the whole automotive industry: car importers, tool and equipment manufacturers, sales and insurance companies.

The mission of the Carbodyacademy is to support the automotive industry nationwide by providing information on the latest technologies and developments in car bodies. This is done by receiving up-to-date knowledge directly from the manufacturers of cars and related tools and equipment. Through their own repair jobs and tests, this knowledge is then converted into training. Training is provided in new materials, new tools, and new technologies (e.g. welding), as well as in new makes. Some training is trademark-based, and some is open, applicable to all.

These trainings can be recognised in the national vocational qualification system, providing elements of one or more of: vocational upper secondary qualifications, further vocational qualifications, and specialist vocational qualifications.

 

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Elina Muuttomaa
A bus driver in virtual city

In the TTS-Institute's Adult Education Centre started a new era of teaching, when the bus simulator was started in February. The bus simulator is based on Volvo 8700 that has been modified for simulator use so that the simulator can be driven with an automatic or manual gearbox. Basically the simulator is a two-axle, 13-meter bus, which can be changed in the software.

The bus simulator is a device that as closely as possible emulates a bus in traffic. The moving base makes it possible for the bus to move in different directions, real sounds, real control devices and the cabin of a real bus make the device so realistic that the driver feels like driving a real bus.
The bus simulator can take up to 11 passengers, which allows also practicing customer service situation along with driving.

Simulator Training bus simulator allows you to practice e.g.: gear usage, driving in narrow streets and places, changing lanes while reversing or reversing on a curved road. It can also be used in different traffic and weather, like driving on a snowy or icy road, driving in rain or mist, driving in in urban areas, country roads, highways or reacting to unexpected situations, e.g. a pedestrian or an animal on the road. The simulator is also a training tool, which allows you to practice for example customer service situations, ticket sales, economical driving or driving with different bus types.

The practices can be replayed from different angles. The driver receives also a written report of his/her performance. The practice can be done safely and economically without consuming a litre of fuel. Training with the simulator is efficient and individual as the student can immediately begin practicing the weather and traffic conditions he or she needs.

STC Simulator Training Ltd concentrates on developing simulators and products and services created with them. The shareholders of STC Simulator Training Ltd are Korsisaari Group/Nurmijärven Linja Oy, Team Larus Oy, TTS-Institute's Adult Education Centre, Team Simrac Finland and Motiva Oy.

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TTS Institute | P.O.Box 5 (Kiljavantie 6), FIN-05201 RAJAMÄKI | Tel: +358 9 2904 1200 | tts@tts.fi