Full text: Iceland 1930

Borealis Pall). But through long isolation the stock has acquired cer- 
ain characteristics, and the natural conditions of the country have put 
their stamp on it. The Icelandic sheep are comparatively small of size and 
covered with rather coarse wool; they are a hardy and very ‘frugal- 
feeding’ breed, for they have frequently been but poorly looked after 
and have often had to graze in the open most part of the winter. 
The rearing of sheep has always played an important part in Ice- 
landic husbandry, but in hard times the flock has often been consider- 
ably depleted. Owing to crop failure consequent on the volcanic erup- 
tions in 1783 the number of sheep fell to 50000, but about 1800 it 
had again reached 300000. Of late there has, on the whole, been a 
steady increase in the number af sheep. In 1913 the flock amounted 
to 635000; in 1918, to 640000 head, but there are reasons for be- 
lieving that the number has really always been considerably higher 
than it appears from the statistics, according to which it has during the 
past fifty vears been as follows: 
vith lambs 
One year 
1871 366 080 
.880 - 501251 
1890 . i94 417 % LIR15 162 875 445 855 
1900 . . 99967 38514 14 682 156514 469 477 
1910 . . 271656 73 672 60 784 172522 578 634 
i920 . . 338253 78270 43096 118 149 578 768 
1928 . . 421509 47 621 36 149 121861" 627140 
{1R 243 
The number of cattle is considerably lower at present than it used to 
be in former centuries. About 1830 this stock numbered 28000 head ; 
in 1770, 30000; in 1703, 36000, while in earlier ages the number is 
believed to have been much larger. But cattle in those days were often 
poorly cared for; they were badly fed, and oxen even had to graze 
out all the year round. Now the cattle are much better tended, and 
therefore cattle-breeding vields a comparatively greater nrofit than 
it used to do. 
The following table shows the number of cattle during the past 
fifty years:

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