A six-month old Aberdeen angus calf born through surrogacy in Iceland will be used as a breeding animal in Kjósarhreppur near Reykjavík. The embryo was transported from Stóra-Ármót agricultural research centre and implanted in a surrogate cow of the Icelandic breed. Sveinn Sigurmundsson, CEO of the Agricultural Association of South Iceland (Búnaðarsamband Suðurlands) says breeding Aberdeen angus cattle will make Icelandic beef production more competitive.
“The ideology of this is to have a herd of purebred Aberdeen angus cows and then we can import genetic material from Norway, the best available at any given time, and thus get access to the Norwegian breeding activities,” Sveinn explained to RÚV, adding that the Aberdeen angus breed has come to stay.
Around ten calves have been born through the same process as the Kjósarhreppur calf in Iceland. Embryos are imported to the Stóra-Ármót agricultural research centre, which has a special licence to breed Aberdeen angus cattle.
Iceland has its own unique breed of cows, but Sveinn says the expansion of this new breed does not put Icelandic cows at risk. Though some farmers may experiment with crossbreeding for beef production, they would not do so for dairy cows as the Aberdeen angus breed produces much less milk than the Icelandic breed.