Review of the Norwegian Landrace Pig
Heggen, Lars Erik
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The earliest proof of the domesticated swine in Norway dates back to 1500-1400 B.C. The Norwegian landrace is the oldest and most important pig breed in Norway. And todays landrace originates from these domesticated tame pigs. In the 1980s they were also influenced by the Swedish landrace, through breeding. It has been used systematically for breeding since 1958 by the Norwegian breeding association NORSVIN, and today makes up approximately 60% of the pig population. They also contribute approximately 75% of the genes in the average slaughtered pigs in Norway. With the help of this systematic approach and the maticulate recording/documentation done by the farmers, allows NORSVIN to do more detailed studies to evaluate genetic progress and the development of the production/reproduction of NL. The typical external characteristics of the Norwegian landrace are their white body, hanging ears, straight shaped nose, relatively small head, long back and lean shape. While the traits they are selected for are; that they have a rapid growth-rate, very good feed convertion ability, good lean meat, large litters, good maternal insincts and a very good general health. Certain studies made has shown that among the different European landrace breeds, it's top of the class when it comes to growth-rate and feed convertion ratio. It is also considered to be one of the best in regard to general health. Even though Norway is a small scale country in the pig industry, it is considered as one of the leading country in breeding terms. Which has made the Norwegian landrace a highly demanded breed outside the Norwegian boarders and is regarded as one of the best breeding swine in the world. It is the most widely used gene contributor in the Nordic pig industry(except for Denmark) and more or less the entire Finnish pig industry is now based on the Norwegian landrace. All Icelandic pigs originate from the NL. NORSVIN is today exporting sperm and genes from the Norwegian landrace to a wide range of different countries. In addition NORSVIN has established production facilities in other countries like Lithuenia and USA. Today the worldwide count of NL has passed 20 millions and USA has 12 times the population present in Norway In Norway it is now bred mainly for it's maternal traits, rather then as a combined breed which it was just a few years ago. As a consequence of this recent change, it still serves as a good breed in aspect to male traits.