Norwegian cows of the breed known as Norsk rødt fe have now become an export product. Praised for their milk production, their sperm is being shipped to 20 countries around the world, including China.
One of the first calves born from the sperm export project was recently celebrated in a traditional butter and milk ceremony in Inner Mongolia, reports newspaper Aftenposten. Sverre Bjørnstad, managing director of breeding firm Geno, says the Norwegian rødt fe cattle provide good gene material.
Geno, owned by Norwegian farmers, is charged with developing the rødt fe breed, also known as NRF. Bjørnstad said Geno has sent 2,000 doses of sperm to China, expected to yield around half as many calves.
“Meng Meng is one of the first,” said Bjørnstad, who exported sperm valued at NOK 8 million during the first six months of this year, double the amount from last year.
The NRF cattle is behind most milk and beef production in Norway. It was established in 1935 when old Norwegian breeds were mated with Swedish and Finnish breeds. The NRF is considered a “fresh and fertile” breed with normally either a red or black and white hide.
They thrive in various climates, from Norway’s winter cold to Ireland, the US and even in the heat of Madagascar, according to Bjørnstad. China was keen on importing NRF sperm because of national plans to encourage more milk-drinking among Chinese youth, to prevent osteoporosis.
“The NRF is popular because it gives a lot of milk and is also healthier and more fertile than other breeds,” said Bjørnstad.