Biobord

Breed change for the benefit of economy and landscape?

In a new article, scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU) and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) recommend to change the sheep breed from the heavy Norwegian White Sheep to the lighter Norwegian Spælsau. As the Norwegian Spælsau is able to graze outdoors even in winter (at coastal areas), and they eat more woody plants than the Norwegian White Sheep, a shift will benefit both the landscape and the farmer’s profitability.

What do you think - is a change of breed a good way to make sheep farming more profitable and environmently friendly? :sheep: :herb:

Read the article at https://www.nmbu.no/en/faculty/landsam/department/noragric/publications/all/node/40675

2 Likes

Interesting article. :slight_smile:
I think the use of lighter breeds in coastal and fjord areas is a good way. Lighter breeds are often better suited to more challenging conditions. Small size also reduces the pressure on the pasture, which reduces erosion caused by grazing. Grazing is important for biodiversity and this kind of activity is suitable for developing meat production in a more sustainable direction. I also think that we should eat and use all what we produce. Food waste (and also waste of the side materials) is a big problem that we should address. Meat consumption is declining, but I don’t think we will stop eating meat completely. I believe that in the future we will consume less but better quality and more environmentally produced meat. The direction described in the article gives an advantage to the sheep industry.

2 Likes

Hi @ingrid!
It would be nice to hear about other sheep research as well, what they do in Norway. We have little sheep research in Finland at the moment, most of them are related to graduation thesis.

1 Like

There is actually some sheep research going on in Norway. I’ll check out what I believe might be of interest also abroad :slight_smile: And, of course, there is also ongoing research that does not directly target sheep, but which is nevertheless of importance for sheep farming. One example is that the Geological Survey of Norway now analyses the radioactivity in Norwegian outback after the Chernobyl accident. As many sheep graze in the affected areas, it will be very useful to get updated knowledge about the radiation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any articles about this in English, but perhaps Google could provide a usable translation of this one, from the Norwegian national broadcast?

1 Like