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Vefpˇstur Rala

The Agricultural Research Institute




Main office is at Keldnaholt, Vesturlandsvegi, 112 ReykjavÝk. Telephone: +354- 5771010, Fax: +354- 5771020. Email :rala@rala.is
The Agricultural Research Institute (RALA) was established in 1965 and it has a mission to provide access to agricultural information and develop new knowledge and technology needed to solve urgent agricultural problems of broad scope and high national priority.

The headquarters of the institute are at Keldnaholt, Reykjavik where there is a full- service research library in the agricultural sciences, modern computer unit and well equipped laboratories, in addition to facilities for small scale experiments in animal nutrition, including cultured fish. The institute runs four experimental stations around the country with emphasis on agronomy, sheep production and physiology and dairy and beef production. Research is also carried out on farms and rangelands and at processing units in various parts of the country.

Services are provided to various sectors, such as chemical analyses of soil, fodder and food; advice on crop cultivar, fodder and fertilizer use, testing of farm machinery, etc.

The institute organizes several scientific meetings and courses every year
and publishes the scientific journal, Icelandic Agricultural Sciences, as well as a number of reports and information booklets.
The institute is organized into several research divisions. The current research aims are as follows:


Animal science
The aim is to facilitate the production of diversified and nutritious agricultural products in the most economic way for both producers and consumers. The main emphasis is on production methods which are based on the utilization of locally produced supplies under prevailing conditions within the country. Examples of research areas are:
- Utilization of locally produced feedstuffs and grazing land.
- Development of feeding systems for ruminants.
- Feeding, breeding and management of farm animals with respect to quality and marketing of products.


Agricultural engineering
The aim is to ensure that the use of modern technology results in more economical production and/or better working conditions for the farmer. Examples of research areas are:
- Adaption of technological innovations to Icelandic conditions
- Farmhouse studies and environmental conditions for farm workers.
- The application of machines and technology in agronomy and the management of farm animals.

Agronomy
Soil and vegetation are the natural resources which form the foundation of Icelandic agriculture. The aim of the research is to find ways to:
- Utilize soils for cultivation in a sustainable manner.
- Obtain high quality fodder at low economic costs.
- Accelerate plant succession in rangeland areas with various cultivation techniques.
- Minimize damage caused by pests, diseases and weeds in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Food science
The aim is to ensure and improve the quality of agricultural products. Important research areas are:
- Product development leading to a selection of products and new ways to utilize raw materials.
- Chemical analysis of foods to provide information on their wholesomeness and purity

Environmental science
Icelandic agriculture is based on sustainable use of natural resources. Both soil and natural vegetation are fragile and must be utilized with great care. Environmental research should ensure the maintenance of quality environment and natural resource base. Important research areas are:
- To provide a basis for land use decisions by assessment of soil erosion and grazing tolerance of rangelands.
- Environmental monitoring
- The effects of climatic change on soil and vegetation



 

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