The Ukraine Report: Dairy farm is still in business despite on-going conflicts

A highly-productive Ukrainian dairy farm is still in business despite on-going conflicts.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage.

This is the Skif farm in Poltava region, in Central Ukraine. It is a highly productive dairy farm. The company currently houses 3,000 cows, including more than 2,000 dairy cows. Skif works with Ukrainian cow breeding.

They have Ukrainian Red and White cows, which are ‘improved’ with Canadian Holsteins. The herd is divided into 10 groups of cows based on several criteria: leg height, chest width, etc. There are bulls for each group.

“We work since 2000. At first, we specialised in growing sugar beet and corn, and we also had a developed cattle breeding. Today, crop production is transformed to produce feed for cows. In recent years, we have shifted our specialisation to cattle breeding due to the economic situation and war-related challenges. The dairy industry in Ukraine currently has a stable sales market and fairly competitive prices for the products.”

Skif consists of 6 cowsheds and a separate maternity parlour. The first milking parlour for 700 cows per day was built here in 2012. In 2023, as the number of cows grew, it was decided to build another milking parlour for 2,000 cows. Part of it is already in operation. In 2020, the farm set a record for milk yield in Poltava region — 2,560 gallons of milk per cow.

“We have 9,000 acres. Today, one-third of our land bank is covered with feed crops - corn for silage, rye and perennial grasses. We also grow winter wheat, rapeseed, and soybeans. The farm has its own 20,000-ton grain elevator built in 2016, so we can store grain there while waiting for a better price”

Over the past two years, the farm made investments in the construction of cowsheds and milking parlours and purchased foreign machinery for crop production. Skif purchased tractors, tillage equipment and wide seeders. They also have plans to process milk and crop products.

Oleksiy Bovdyr admits the war complicates life and work in the country, but it is no reason to give up and put development on hold. He encourages his team with these ideas and advises others to do the same.

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.