Although the long winters necessitate indoor feeding from October to May, pastoral farming is important, and about 80% of farm income derives from animal products, especially dairy products. In 2001, there were 418,471 dairy cows, 165,738 beef cows, 573,286 heifers, bulls, and steers, and 494,016 calves. Beef production totaled 139,000 tons in 2001. Liquid milk production totaled 3.34 million tons in 2001. Other dairy products made that year were cheese, 125,000 tons, milk powder, 56,000 tons, and butter, 49,000 tons. Because the oversufficiency of butter before 1970 weakened Sweden's position in world markets, the government encouraged farmers to shift to meat production. An agricultural reform program in the early 1990s dismantled many of the price regulations and subsidies for products like milk and meat in favor of market-oriented pricing. As these adjustments were made, the number of dairy producers fell from 24,786 in 1990 to 12,168 by 2000. Sweden's beef industry is now supported by direct EU subsidies and in programs connected with less favored area and environment supports.
The sheep population was 420,000 in 2001, and pigs numbered 1,891,000. There were 7,400,000 chickens during the same year. Fur farms breed large numbers of mink and a declining number of fox. Reindeer are raised by 51 Sami (Lapp) communities in the north, and between 1970 and 2001 the reindeer population in Lapp villages increased from 166,200 to 219,500. Reindeer meat production declined in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 in the former USSR.