Northern Norway can become a climate model for Norwegian dairy production

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Norway can lead the way when it comes to climate-friendly milk production. Pic: ©iStock/Zimnevan
Norway can lead the way when it comes to climate-friendly milk production. Pic: ©iStock/Zimnevan

Related tags Cattle

Northern Norway can be at the forefront of creating climate-efficient milk production in the future, according to Harald Volden, professor of environmental and biological sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås.

He cited topography, long, bright summers, and being close to the ocean as contributing positive factors.

He added marine algae will be able to replace much of the imported feed used on Norwegian farms today.

"It can take 10-20 years, but the opportunities are great, even though there are challenges related to volume and quality,"​ Volden said.

Volden, who has authored more than 300 articles on the nutrition physiology of ruminants, feeding dairy cows and sustainable food production, is also the head of department at TINE Consulting.

Good light – nutritious feed

Scandinavia is well known for its long summer days, but the fact that grass thrives well in the north isn’t quite so well known.

"In northern Norway, the bright summers provide nutritious grass with high sugar content,”​ Volden said.

Future of solar energy and methane capture

The future will be even more energy efficient than today, and self-produced energy will be important, including solar panels, Volden said.

Cool weather makes solar panels far more effective than when used in warmer areas, he noted. Lower temperatures cause the operating temperature of the solar panel to remain low, reducing wear and heat loss - and the solar panels utilize more of the energy to extract power.

There will also be major changes in the future inside the barn, with methane capture and utilization of cow manure for energy production.

From cows to cars

Volden said there is a lot of exciting research on methane capture in the barn.

"Already there are facilities where biofilters convert methane gas into CO2​ - CO2​ is also a greenhouse gas, but it is 25 times less climactically harmful than methane,”​ Volden said.

"There is a great potential in using cow manure to produce energy.”

In the future, he said, he was convinced “more and more of us will fill the tank with [energy from] cow manure.”​ 

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Posted by Mary Fisher,

This is the best report about dairy production I've ever read and i endorse every word 100%

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