Traces of animal husbandry and arable farming in Norway have been dating from the early Stone Age, approximately 2500 BCE. , in the form of bone remnants of cattle, sheep, goat and dog, as well as grain imprints. At that time, the climate was so mild that feet went out all year. In the last millennium before our time, agriculture was seriously affected in this country. Agricultural settlement became common everywhere along the coast where the climate was conducive to it.
The settlement was densest in some places along the southwest coast, such as on Lista, Jæren and Karmøy. Fields in particular were cleared on self-draining soil, and rounded clearances are typical of this time. The forest was cleared with burning, and permanent fields were kept as well as the use of wood and wood. Farming has been proven in several places early in the Bronze Age, and from the early Bronze Age, use of ard must have been common throughout southern Norway.
The mode of operation was in many ways unchanged from the Viking Age to the 18th and 19th centuries. At the end of the 18th century several important impulses came to agricultural conversion. New crops (such as foddernake and potato), better cereals and later also new implements were introduced from about 1790 onwards in the 19th century.
Up until 1800, livestock was heavily dominated by cattle, although sheep stock had increased a lot from 1750, and goats were common in some villages. There were little pigs and chickens. Livestock farming was based on grazing. It was important to utilize the feed so that there were many livestock in the spring. Meat production was based on the animals being slaughtered in the fall. The milk cows received calves in the spring, and the hungry cows gave little milk during the feeding period.
In order to avoid soil degradation, farmers with large fields of land had to dispose of a lot of livestock manure, or alternatively, the fields were unused every 3 to 5 years. The individual farm was not a closed economic system with complete self-sufficiency. Own products were sold and both essential and luxury goods were purchased. Self-production of grain did not meet the need, and around 1750 grain was imported, which also went to the agricultural villages.
The major shift to commercial agriculture came first with the transition to the use of imported power feed in the 1890s and the use of fertilizers from about 1915.
In the 19th century agriculture was prospering because the population increased and there were more diligent hands. However, arable farming was also in strong development, mainly because of the transition to closed quarries, but also because a change of grain between potatoes and potatoes was introduced which led to strong crop growth. The large number increased by perhaps 50 per cent in the years 1835–1855 and was more or less constant in 950,000 winter-born animals until 1900. With better feeding, the annual milk volume per cow increased from 980 kilos in 1865 to 1500 kilos in 1907. Further increase was not recorded until 1920s. The increase was increasingly due to the results of the breeding work that was taken up in earnest around 1850.
The information activities through the travel agronomists (from 1850), the agricultural schools (from 1825), the agricultural college (from 1859) and professional magazines had their effect. But the overall economic, population and transport developments were crucial.
In the first half of the 20th century, there was more use of less than 50 acres of agricultural land through division and cage raising, and there was less use with more than 200 acres. However, since the 1950s the average size of use has increased, while the use has decreased. In the financially difficult interwar years, regulations were introduced to prevent destructive low-cost imports of feed and food. Such were the grain monopoly and regulation and price equalization for milk and milk products, which contributed to the agricultural cooperation undergoing a strong development from about 1930.
After World War II, Norwegian agriculture has almost completely been mechanized. The number of people employed in agriculture has been greatly reduced, and hired work aid has been rare except for agricultural substitutes and replacement schemes. Consumption of artificial fertilizers and concentrates has increased strongly, and the crop per unit area and production per animal unit has shown a corresponding increase, also as a result of plant and animal breeding. Specialization has replaced the old-fashioned agricultural operations of the past.
In recent years, technological and organizational changes in agriculture have accelerated with the introduction of milking robot, satellite controlled precision farming and widespread use of computer technology for feeding and production management. In milk production, co-operation has become a common mode of operation and comprises about 1/3 of the milk volume, while most of the production of chicken and eggs takes place in large industrial halls.
The decline in use is great in all parts of the country and greatest in the parts of the country where the use is least, as in Western Norway, the valleys and northern Norway. Land is increasingly widespread, covering more than 40 per cent of agricultural land.
The area of plant production is declining and the area of grain is greatly diminishing. Grain harvesting is increasingly taking place under the control of farmers who operate as entrepreneurs and in the fruit and vegetable sector there is widespread use of immigrant labor from the EEA area.
The degree of self-storage of agricultural commodities is declining and was 45 per cent in 2013.