The animal production in Norway has become more specialized with increased demands for the nutritional composition of the feed concentrates, and especially protein content. As a result, increasing amounts of protein-rich feed ingredients like rapeseed cake and soybean meal are being imported at the expense of the domestically produced feed grains, which are low in protein content and considered mostly as a carbohydrate source. However, the potential is great to increase the protein content of Norwegian feed grains, both short-term through optimized nitrogen fertilization and long-term through breeding of high protein content cultivars.
With focus on barley, the largest feed grain in Norway, we will engage with central actors in the grain and feed industry, including farmers, agricultural extension service, feed producers and plant breeders. The aim is to increase the protein production and ensure a better utilization of the domestically produced feed grains. Sensor technologies will be used to generate new knowledge about the link between soil variability, nutrient uptake and nitrogen remobilization in the plants during the growing season. Targeted split nitrogen fertilization regimes will be developed that can be applied by the farmers to optimize both yield and protein content in barley. Genetic studies will be performed, and tools developed for the breeding of barley cultivars with increased nitrogen use efficiency and protein content. Moreover, new feed formulas will be developed to increase the utilization of domestic barley in the feed concentrates for ruminant and monogastric animals. We will also interact with the industry and policy makers to come up with a differentiated pricing system to stimulate increased protein production based on Norwegian feed grain. Overall, the project will contribute to a more profitable, sustainable and self-sufficient Norwegian agriculture.
FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri