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Systems Approaches

Changes in agriculture, especially qualitative ones, can only be investigated and realized if the complexity of the different system levels (e.g. animal, farm, society) is taken into account.

Systems Approaches: Projects and selected publications

Animal Health Economics

The costs of livestock diseases, especially through downtime and performance losses, are often invisible. The importance of production diseases for the profitability of farms has been a topic of various research projects.

Animal Health Economics: Projects and selected publications


The allocation of resources according to the greatest need is a decisive parameter for the efficient use of resources and the avoidance of negative external effects. Knowledge about allocation processes in the metabolism of animals is relevant for the reduction of production diseases. On the farm level, they enable the control and reduction of nutrient outputs.

Allocation: Projects and selected publications

Animal welfare services

Animal welfare, as a system performance, is a performance of the farm. The reference level is the individual animal. The percentage of animals in a herd that were successfully protected from pain, suffering and damage over a defined period of time, i.e. remained largely unharmed, or the percentage of animals that were exposed to varying degrees of impairment, reflects the animal welfare performance of a farm.

Animal welfare services: Projects and selected publications

Knowledge transfer

The term is used to describe the transfer process of knowledge from science to practical application. However, knowledge is constructed subjectively through personal interpretation and understanding based on worldviews, experiences, and so on. The omission of subjectivity is one of several criticisms of the concept of knowledge transfer.

Knowledge transfer: Projects and selected publications

Effectiveness of (alternative) treatments

Diseases in farm animals are widespread. Treatment with antibiotics is criticized because of the dangers of resistance development. Alternative treatments are viewed critically because their efficacy is questioned.

Effectiveness of (alternative) treatments: Projects and selected publications


Alfalfa is a native protein crop that is also of high value from a crop and ecological point of view. Its potential for use in the feeding of monogastric animals has been investigated in various research projects.

Alfalfa: Projects and selected publications


The use of roughage is mandatory in organic farming. Roughage reduces the energy density of the ration and can reduce the effectiveness of production. Positive effects on animal health are often not directly visible. The effects of roughage, especially in pig feeding, have been studied in various research projects.

Roughage: Projects and selected publications

Meat quality

The quality of animal products is multi-layered and includes not only process quality (aspects of animal health, animal welfare and environmental impact) but also aspects of eating quality. In particular, the intramuscular fat content influences the taste, tenderness and juiciness of meat. Products with a high enjoyment value can achieve higher prices and thus also enable expenditures for higher process qualities.

Meat quality: Projects and selected publications

Environmental impacts

Analogous to animal welfare services, environmental protection services are also a service provided by the company as a whole. That is, an assessment requires consideration of the entire system, not just sub-areas. They require an active effort to keep the discharge of pollutants from the operating system as low as possible and thus to avoid external effects.

Environmental impacts: Projects and selected publications

Animal health in organic milk production in Europe

For organic agriculture, animal health is closely linked to the four basic principles of health, ecology, equity and care. The EU-funded IMPRO project aimed to overcome the weaknesses in current strategies in health management of organic dairy farms and to improve the implementation of evidence-based interventions and health management. To this end, a multidisciplinary and participatory research approach was used to develop farm-specific solutions for preventive measures and early treatments.

Animal health in organic milk production in Europe: Projects and selected publications