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Sustainable agriculture

The overall goal of the research group is to contribute to long-term sustainable and climate-smart agriculture with farmer benefits. Agriculture involves both plants and livestock.

We have the following sub-goals:

  • Develop and test new technology for sustainable plant and livestock productions, including optimization and adaptation of field machines and indoor mechanization, as well as the use of renewable resources such as biodiesel and other «fossil-free» energy sources
  • Effective climate measures in agriculture through increased use of cover crops and biochar for carbon sequestration, as well as increased plant diversity use and examination of new food and feed crops in Norway for climate adaptation
  • Sustainable use of grazing resources in outlands
  • Profitable operating arrangements for plant and livestock production

New technology for sustainable plant and livestock production

We are involved in technology development and testing to fine-tuning of instruments and equipments. The work is done in collaboration with the industry and with students, and as part of a pedagogical idea. We focus on technologies that can be useful in reducing our negative impact on the environment, such as precision fertilization and indoor technology for better livestock welfare and production. New technology also includes the use of renewable resources such as biodiesel and other energy sources in agriculture, but also optimization and adaptation of machines and tools. We are active in optimizing existing technology in various parts of agriculture to facilitate efficiency but also protect the soil. Based on knowledge of material and function, we take part in the development of future production systems.

Effective climate measures in agriculture

We are involved in the project «Plasmabehandlet husdyrgjødsel – gjødselvirkning, miljøpåvirkning og klimagassutslipp (Fargo) that runs from 2020-2022. The goal is to determine how much fertiliser can be replaced by plasma-treated manure and to examine the impacts on soil health and the environment. We are also involved in research on cover crops and other measures for carbon sequestration in soil. Plants can capture carbon from the air and store it in the soil. These can be species cultivated together with grain but continue to grow in autumn after the grain harvesting. We are also testing biochar and other solutions where agriculture can contribute to increased carbon sequestration while improving soil life and soil structure.

Sustainable use of grazing resources in outlands

Outlands make up much of the area in Norway and can contribute to increased food production. About half of the outlands are suitable for livestock grazing but farmers experience challenges with conflicts of interest. Technology such as GPS, sensors and automated capture systems can contribute to a more efficient use of grazing and facilitate grazing in large herds. In outlands with a presence of large predators, predator-proof fences can help reduce the loss of livestock to predators. At the same time, the fences can bring with them other challenges. We are involved in «Grazing in carnivore forests for sustainable production of food, timber and biodiversity», a project that aims to generate knowledge about grazing in open country with predators that take care of multi-use considerations. However, more knowledge is still required about the effects of predators, overgrowing of grazing landscapes, etc., at the same time, as we know little about, for example, the effects that domestic animals can have on regrowth of forests. New tools such as radio bells, virtual fences and digital surveillance technology require further research efforts. We want to contribute with research in these areas.

Develop profitable operating schemes for plant and livestock production

An increasing use of technology provides increased opportunities for production but makes the farmers more dependent on knowledge and suppliers. There is a great need to work on implementing new solutions to balance the farmer's finances with increased efficiency. An example of this is how to create profitable operating schemes for smaller milk production herds.

Example of current and previous project

Plasma-treated slurry – effects on plant growth, environment and climate gas emissions (Fargo): https://app.cristin.no/projects/show.jsf?id=2501814

CAPTURE - Assessment of cover cropping as climate action in cereal production in Norway: https://app.cristin.no/projects/show.jsf?id=2504399

Grazing in carnivore forests for sustainable production of food, timber and biodiversity: https://app.cristin.no/projects/show.jsf?id=2496150

Project “Innlandsfjøs”: www.innlandsfjoset.com

Agrobiodiversity: https://app.cristin.no/projects/show.jsf?id=687249

Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa – AVISA: https://app.cristin.no/projects/show.jsf?id=2505593

Fossil-free tractor and biodiesel: https://app.cristin.no/projects/show.jsf?id=687488

 Important partners

  • Nibio, Norsøk, Ruralis and other research institutions
  • NMBU, Nord University and other universities
  • Norsk landbruksrådgivning
  • Tine og Q-meieriene
  • Felleskjøpet Agri, Strand Unikorn, Graminor and Norgro
  • Norsvin, Geno, Tyr and NSG
  • Nortura, KLF and Animalia
  • Kverneland, TKS, Orkel, Serigstad and others
  • N2 Applied, Standard Bio, Oplandske Bioenergi, Mjøsanlegget AS and others
  • Alliance (Biodiversity International and CIAT)