Anders Nielsen

Head of Department/Head of Research

(+47) 913 50 435
anders.nielsen@nibio.no

Place
Ås R9

Visiting address
Raveien 9, 1430 Ås

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Abstract

In Norway domestic sheep are mostly kept on mountain pastures over summer. Previous studies have shown that climate conditions affect the growth of mountain grazing lambs in contrasting ways. We analysed a data-set from the Tjøtta Research farm in northern Norway comprising weights and growth of 8696 lambs over 17 years. The lambs grazed coastal or a mountain pasture, 15 km apart. We found that the lambs grew faster when grazing the mountain pasture. Spring and integrated Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) affected only the lambs grazing in the mountains. Winter conditions (North Atlantic Oscillation) and summer temperature had a positive effect on growth in both pastures while spring temperature and spring NDVI were important only in the mountains. The positive effect of spring NDVI suggests that the mountain pasture will produce bigger lambs under future climate warming, while the lambs on the coastal pasture will be less affected.