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Why Norway's farmers will benefit from climate change

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Why Norway's farmers will benefit from climate change
Longer growing seasons are resulting in larger harvests. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix
10:55 CEST+02:00
Norwegian farmers are enjoying a very rich autumn harvest and scientists believe that climate change could provide Norway's agriculture sector with some major future advantages.
New figures show that the Norwegian agricultural cooperative Felleskjöpet (FK) has received over 505 million kilos of grain this autumn, far above the 423 million kilos harvested in the same period last year. 
 
“That means that we have collectively received approximately 20 percent more grain this year than the same time last year, which was also a good crop year,” FK communications consultant Cato Fagermoen said.
 
An early spring, and particularly a thus far very warm autumn, were among the reasons cited for this year's good harvests.
 
“The autumn capacity increases with each passing year and there has been huge grain volumes threshed in recent weeks,” FK said in a statement. 
 
The prognosis for fruit and vegetable harvests is also looking very good. 
 
“Autumn has been fantastic, and the forecasts for vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and onions are very good. With both potatoes and carrots, we are expecting a better year than last and to end on par with 2014, which was a particularly good year,” said Morten N. Andersen, the head of the Green Growers' Cooperative Market Council (Grøntprodusentenes samarbeidsråd - GPS). 
 
“The year as a whole has been very suitable for fruit. Autumn has for example been very nice for apples, which are growing very large in the heat,” GPS spokesman Bjørn Eidhammer said.
 
Photo: Frank May/NTB Scanpix
Photo: Frank May/NTB Scanpix
 
Climate models
Tore Furevik of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research said that the good crop yields are confirming what climate models have predicted. 
 
“We have already observed a longer growing season in Norway; spring comes earlier and the summer and autumn last longer. We see this in the temperature measurements,” Furevik said.
 
While the higher temperatures brought on by climate change generally have a negative impact on food production for the rest of the world, Norway is experiencing the opposite. 
 
“Norway is among the countries where one sees the greatest positive effect of climate change with a longer growing season,” Furevik said.
 
“Although increased precipitation also can give the farmers challenges, we can nevertheless see that the longer growing season gives more positive than negative effects on agriculture. But the harvest will obviously vary from year to year, and some years can experience extreme rainfall that will lead to particularly vulnerable periods,” he said.
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