Arctic Agriculture

Arctic Agriculture

Bioforsk North carries out research and development activities linked to northern growing conditions, food products and recreational services with a distinct northern profile. The research centre also focuses on northern production systems and the interaction between business development and environmental considerations. In addition, Bioforsk North has a national responsibility for the research on and refinement of wild berries, as well as the commercial utilisation and development of non-cultivated areas and freshwater fish resources.

Agriculture in northern Norway is dominated by production systems based on forage crops, such as milk and meat production from sheep and cattle. Growing conditions for grass and other types of forage crops (such as clover, cereal grains and peas) are tough in the North, and the cool climate, combined with a short and hectic growing season, often results in feed of varying quality. This particularly applies to rough grazing areas. Similarly, climate change is posing new challenges to forage crop production and livestock farming. This affects both animals and plants.

Potatoes and other vegetables under the midnight sun

Twenty-four-hour daylight makes it possible to cultivate potatoes and other vegetables throughout the region, despite the short and cool growing season. According to many people, this produces a unique taste and quality.

The environment and resources in rural areas

Resources in the rural areas of northern Norway represent an area of great potential for agriculture-based business, although there is a high level of conflict between the various stakeholders. Bioforsk North has developed expertise in the prevention of wildlife damage, including injuries caused to livestock by wild predators, grazing damage attributable to geese and deer, and other areas of conflict between the agricultural community and wildlife stakeholders.

Aquatic plant cultivation

Against the backdrop of Bioforsk's tradition and skills in plant cultivation, we are currently working to develop expertise in coastal ecology, with emphasis on aquatic plant cultivation. This is centred primarily on the cultivation of algae, but also involves other aquatic plants. Aquatic plant cultivation is a new area for Bioforsk, and Bioforsk North is institutionally responsible for the ongoing development of this discipline.

Business development based on agriculture and nature

The expression ‘Forward with agriculture' specifically characterises our collaborative work within business development based on agriculture and nature. Agriculture in North Norway is developing, and it is imperative to ensure that it becomes as dynamic and robust as businesses in the rest of the country. Through the Holt Division of the Northern Norway Competence Centre in Tromsø, Bioforsk North is laying the foundation for development and innovation.

Wild berries and herbs

Strongly coloured fruits, berries and vegetables often contain high levels of antioxidants on account of their elevated flavonoid and carotenoid contents. Some of the very best berries in this regard are wild crowberries, blueberries, lingonberries and cranberries.


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