Bioforsk – the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research – is a national R&D institute under the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Bioforsk is a new institute constituted as a result of the merger of The Norwegian Centre for Soil and Environmental Research, The Norwegian Crop Research Institute and Norwegian Centre for Ecological Agriculture.
The main areas of competence are linked to food quality and safety, agriculture and rural development, environmental protection and natural resources management. Bioforsk has a staff of about 500, with an annual turnover of some e40 million. The R&D activities of Bioforsk are organized in seven research divisions, located in different regions of Norway.
Bioforsk encompasses a wide range of competence within natural sciences, with long traditions in field- and laboratory-based experimental studies. This includes also the development and application of various tools and models for management- and policy support linked to agriculture and environment.
Plant Health and Protection Division
- To develop effective and sustainable strategies for controlling plant diseases, pests and weeds
- To advise the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Norwegian Food Safety Authorities on phytosanitary matters
- To develop and apply sensitive and reliable diagnostic methods
- Research on pest biology and population dynamics to develop integrated pest management (IPM)
- Develop environmentally sound control practices that sustain crop productivity and quality
- Consumers, farmers and growers, regulators, policy makers and the rural environment should benefit
- Diagnosis: Immunochemical and molecular methods for detection of phytoplasma, viruses, bacteria, fungi, netmatodes, mites and insects
- Biocontrol: Agents such as parasites, predators and fungi antagonistic to pests and disease control with little or no use of chemical control agents
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Beneficial micro organisms, parasites and predators of pests are important to widen the number of pests where IPM can be applies. Threshold values and prognosis and warnings for pests and diseases
- Pest control in organic farming: Effective strategies for pest and weed control in organic farming to reach the goal set by the Norwegian government that 15% of the farmland should be organic
- Quarantine pests: Research and legislative efforts are carried out mainly through international efforts
- Entomology and Nematology
- Plant Pathology
- Weed, climate and Environmental Impact
- Genetics and Biotechnology
Bioforsk Arable Crops Division
The Bioforsk Arable Crops Division is responsible for the national coordination of R&D activities related to cereals, oilseed crops, peas, seed production, potatoes, vegetables and herbs. In addition, the Bioforsk Arable Crops Division has the national responsibility for VCU trials of cereals, potatoes and grassland plants.
The division’s main office is at Apelsvoll, but activities cover all of eastern Norway, where, due to natural conditions, most of the country’s arable crops are grown. The division also has a regional R&D responsibility for berries, roughage, lawn grass, small livestock, cultural landscape and organic agriculture. The division is also engaged in farm-based rural development in the mountain regions. Within the Arable Crops Division, cutting-edge know-how can be found in a wide range of fields, including precision farming, farm systems, nutrient supply, soil cultivation, irrigation, bioenergy crops, grazing and cultural landscape management.
The Bioforsk Arable Crops Division emphasises an integrated approach to research – where production efficiency, food quality and environmental issues are all seen as parts of a bigger picture. There is considerable focus on market-related issues: product demand and quality. The division aims to maintain high international standards within R&D activities in its core areas.
In addition to the main office at Apelsvoll (western shore of Lake Mjøsa), the Bioforsk Arable Crops Division also has branches at Kise (Ringsaker region), Landvik (near Grimstad), Løken (Valdres region) and Sæter (near Tynset).
Bioforsk Horticulture and Urban Greening Division
The Bioforsk Horticulture and Urban Greening Division is Norway’s leading R&D environment regarding the sustainable and competitive production of greenhouse, nursery, fruit and berry crops. In addition, the division has a national responsibility for developing R&D activities in the field of urban greening. Its regional focus is on roughage production and cultural landscape management. The division’s main office is at Særheim, in south-western Norway, and there are branches in Ullensvang (Hordaland county), Njøs and Fureneset (Sogn & Fjordane county).
The Bioforsk Horticulture and Urban Greening Division has the country’s foremost R&D expertise in such areas as greenhouse production of vegetables and berries, Christmas trees and cut greens, as well as the establishment and maintenance of urban green space. The division has equivalent expertise in fruit and berry cultivation, including yield regulation, nutrient supply and production systems, and a high level of expertise in plant protection in fruit and berry production, roughage production, pasture and cultural landscape management, organic farming and horticulture, and recycling of organic waste. Other important responsibilities at the Bioforsk Horticulture and Urban Greening Division include business development and environmental R&D activities.
Bioforsk Organic Food and Farming Division
On 1 January 2006, NORSØK, together with the Norwegian Crop Research Institute and the Norwegian Centre for Soil and Environmental Research, merged into Bioforsk – Norwegian Institute for Agriculture and Environmental Research. The name of our division is Bioforsk Organic Food and Farming Division (Norwegian name: Bioforsk – Økologisk). Being the leading Norwegian institute in the field of agricultural research, Bioforsk has about 500 employees divided into 7 divisions. Bioforsk Organic Food and Farming Division is responsible for research and development within organic agriculture.
Bioforsk Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division
The Bioforsk Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division focuses specifically on knowledge development regarding Arctic agriculture, food production and nature-based recreation with a distinct “northern” profile, production systems adapted to the natural conditions in the far north and the interaction between business development and environmental considerations. The division’s main office is at Holt, in the Arctic metropolis of Tromsø, with branches at Tjøtta and in Bodø.
The Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division consists of the following departments:
- Arctic Agriculture and Quality (headed by the Holt branch)
- Environment and Land Resources (headed by the Tjøtta branch)
- Northern Norwegian Centre of Expertise (headed by the Holt branch)
The Bioforsk Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division has a national responsibility for research on wild berry production and breeding, and for developing the utilisation of non-cultivated land resources and freshwater fisheries. Via the Northern Norwegian Centre of Expertise, the division also has a regional responsibility for facilitating an innovative development of agriculture and land use in northern Norway.
The Bioforsk Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division is part of an international R&D network on agriculture and land use in the Barents region. In addition, the division cooperates with other research institutes engaged in marginal farming and natural resource use in both North America and the European Union.
The Bioforsk Arctic Agriculture and Land Use Division has considerable expertise on soil and plant adaptation to Arctic growing conditions. Its project portfolio is substantial and diverse, and includes research projects, innovation and business development projects, network activities and environmental impact assessments. The various projects cover an even broader range of fields, including roughage and potato cultivation, wild berries, revegetation, soil science, agricultural and horticultural pests, freshwater fisheries, conflicts between agriculture and game management, animal welfare, organic agriculture and livestock husbandry.