VikingEmbryo 20th Anniversary event in Finland 

VikingEmbryo 20th Anniversary celebrations were held on the 24th October in Jokioinen, Finland. The event was hosted by VikingGenetics, Faba (The Finnish Animal Breeding Association) and Luke (Natural Resources Institute Finland). Over 140 people attended the event. The celebratory day went well and the long history of using embryos in cattle breeding was commemorated properly. 

The event started off by hearing about the history of embryo technology and development from Johanna Aro who is the VikingEmbryo program manager at VikingGenetics. Johanna also played international video greetings from VikingGenetics partners and suppliers all over the world. 

Next in program was the panel discussion about the future of the cow in Finland. The participants were; Esa Mäntysaari (research professor from Luke), Juha Kantoniemi (dairy farmer), Jenna Syrjälä (dairy farmer), Matti Harju (management consultant for Valio), Mikko Peltonen (research director at ministry of agriculture and forestry) and Veijo Meriläinen (CEO of GIRA Consultancy & Research). 

Panelists from left: Jenna Syrjälä, Juha Kantoniemi, Mikko Peltonen, Matti Harju, Veijo Meriläinen ja Esa Mäntysaari 
The panel discussion was interesting and the discussion was very lively throughout the whole discussion time. There were many interesting points made about the prospects of the dairy industry in Finland and in the world in general. They all felt that there is a long future ahead in the dairy business but changes are happening and we need to react to them. 

One main point was the changes in the consumer behaviour. Matti Harju who is a management consultant for Valio (international Finnish dairy manufacturer) said: “I have seen a massive change in consumer behaviour. Countries and dairy producers must change accordingly. This creates challenges for the R&D work, but luckily you can make just about anything from milk. Milk is a great raw material in developing new products. The consumption on milk is decreasing in the world but at the same time the consumption of other dairy products is on the rise.”

Also, awards were given out to people who have furthered the development of embryo program by their commitment and hard work. The awards were given by VikingGenetics and Faba. 

From left: people mingling at the event, Johanna Aro and Katarina Hägg from VikingGenetics, VikingGenetics' vet and the OPU - program (ovum pick up) Henri Simonen (right) talks about VikingEmbryo program to a visitor
Animal show 

In the afternoon, the event continued at a nearby Luke farm where seven VikingRed cows were presented to the event attendees. The people were asked to vote for their favourite cow. All the presented cows are part of the VikingEmbryo program. 

  1. Savikkaan Myrsky NTM +27
  2. ASMO Milka NTM +7
  3. Kiviojan Luxus NTM +25
  4. ASMO Majesteetti NTM +9
  5. Saarihaan Muistotar NTM +14
  6. ASMO KumkvattiI NTM +17
  7. ASMO Lilla NTM+18

The votes were counted and for first time in the VikingEmbryo animal history – two cows got the same number of votes and shared the first place! The winners were no 1. Savikkaan Myrsy NTM +27 and no 5. Saarihaan Muistotar NTM +14. 

Left/above: No 1. Savikkaan Myrsy NTM +27
Right/lower:  No 5. Saarihaan Muistotar NTM +14
After the animal presentation, the guests had a chance to know more about the cows at Luke barn and their work with several interesting research programs, for example regarding feed efficiency. All in all, the event was a success and we are sure that VikingEmbryo will have a more and more growing role in VikingGenetics’ future business. 

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