Review 2012

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In WS 2012/13, 910 students were enrolled in the Department of Ecological Agricultural Sciences . They were distributed among the individual courses of study as follows:

  • Bachelor Ecological Agriculture: 570 (incl. 12 from old diploma program).
  • Master Ecological Agriculture: 101
  • Sustainable International Agriculture (SIA, cooperation with University of Göttingen): 106 (incl. 2 from old degree program International Organic Agriculture)
  • International Food Business and Consumer Studies (IFBC, cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences): 83
  • Exchange students: 10
  • PhD students: 40

As part of the Event Management module, the 20th Witzenhausen Conference was organized by the students from December 4 - 8 with 120  participants, this year with the title "Naturally colorful- the political spectrum of organic agriculture".

As part of an IFBC project, a conference on "Stop Wasting Food" was held December 06-07 at the partner university in Fulda.

In March 2012, the mentor network, a program for the targeted support and advice of female students at Faculty 11 by professional female graduates, started its work.

In 2012, the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences raised € 4.8 million in third-party funding.

In 2012, a good 90 articles from our department were published in scientific journals ("peer reviewed") (see websites of the individual departments). A total of 25 doctorates were completed.

Of the large number of research projects carried out last year, the projects with several scientific cooperation partners that were completed or started in 2012 are listed as examples:


Completed cooperation projects:

  • "Development of a concept for marketing organic goat meat from milking farms" (Marketing of Organic Goat Lamb). (BLE)
  • Sustainable ordering systems and controlled traffic farming (CTF)  
  • Use of waste heat from bioenergy in agriculture   
  • UrbanFood(Volkswagen Foundation): African-German partnership to identify challenges and opportunities for nutrient efficient agriculture in West African cities.
  • ALUCCSA- Adaptation of Landuse to Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (at the University of Göttingen).
  • "Detection of clone-site interactions in poplar and willow on agricultural sites in short rotation periods - ProLoc (ErtagsProgamm/Klon)" ( HMULV).
  • "Dynamics of soil C and N fractions and plant productivity during conversion of short rotation plantations (SRC) to cropland or grassland use - Short rotation plantation conversion (KURZUM)" 
  • PROGRASS Conservation of natural grassland through decentralized energy recovery (EU).
  • Influence of biodiversity on the expression and spectral calibration of bioenergetic parameters of smooth oat meadow vegetation (DFG)
  • "Biocrystallization for the evaluation of technologies in the production of raw milk cheese and cheese from pasteurized milk in the course of the year".

Started collaborative projects:

  • "Data network for better European organic market information" (OrganicDataNetwork). Duration: January 2012 to December 2014 (EU).
  • "Regional Window - Evaluation of Consumer Acceptance" (Regionalwindow). (BLE)
  • Coordinated European Animal Welfare Network (EUWelNet)
  • (DG SANCO, duration 1 year, consortium of 26 partners from 16 countries,
  • Protein-rich, plant-based feed, and process for its production in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Fulda
  • Development and testing of a stress-free stunning and killing method for cattle from year-round free-range husbandry   in cooperation with bsi, Bauk, Bunde Wischen e.V.
  • A Comprehensive Analysis of Subsurface Irrigation in SSA for an Optimisation and Adaption of an Environmentally friendly Irrigation Practice   
  • RELOAD - Reduction of Post Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value Chains (BMBF)
  • WATERCOPESupporting national strategies to cope with increasing land use intensity, dwindling water resources and threats to ecosystem services in the trans-border Altay-Dzungarian region of Mongolia and China. (IFAD):
  • Tool for the systematic assessment and optimization of nutrient efficiency in dairy farming (BLE joint project).
  • IMPRO - Impact matrix analysis and cost-benefit calculations to improve management practices regarding health status in organic dairy farming ( (EU)
  • "C- and N-rhicide postion in pea pure seed and in mixed cropping: spatial distribution, temporal dynamics, microbial turnover and transfer processes" (DFG).
  • "Detection of clone-site interactions in poplar and willow on agricultural sites in short rotation periods - ProLoc (yield program Locus) - project phase II" ( Nordwestdeutschen Forstlichen Versuchsanstalt).
  • "Further development and testing of a concept for documentation and evaluation of agricultural research achievements for practice and society"   (BLE)
  • COMBINE  -  " Converting  Organic  Matters from Europeans urban and natural areas into storable Bioenergy (EU)
  • DANUBENERGY - "Improving eco-efficiency of bio-energy production and supply in riparian areas of the Danube river basin and other floodplains in Central Europe" (EU)
  • OSCAR, "Optimizing Subsidiary Crop Applications in Rotations" (EU)
  • European Master "Green Food Industries" (EU)

The department has received a number of awards, i.E. were awarded:

  • Katharina Zipp  for innovative and practical work on "Animal-friendly dairy farming" in the category Masterabreit for the thesis.
  • "Influence of space availability in the pre-waiting area on heart rate and agonistic behavior of horned dairy cows of different social status".
  • Dr. Meike Janssen was awarded (together with another prize winner) the prize for the best dissertation 2011 of the Society for Economic and Social Sciences of Agriculture (GEWISOLA).
  • Dr. Jan Khalsa was awarded the Ernst Klapp Future Prize of the Society for Crop Science.
  • Christian Vieth was accepted as an Ashoka Fellow in the Ashoka Network for Social Entrepreneurs.
  • Greenhouse for Tropical and Subtropical Crops:
  • Cooperation project "Global Learning in the Botanical Garden " (
  • Award: as "Project of the UN Decade of Biological Diversity".
  • Prize of the "Stiftung Agrarkulturerbe" 2012 for the establishment of a "Historical tour on the history of forced labor on the Frankenhausen domain, 1939-1949" to a student project group: Hannah Fritsch, Annette Haak and Frank Kessel, supervised by Dr. Jochen Ebert.
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hamm was appointed to the Bioeconomy Council of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
  • Prof. Dr. Ute Knierim was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board for Agricultural Policy of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV).

The department conducted a variety of tours and informational events for groups of visitors. Larger events in 2012 were:

  • January- September 2012: cooperation of the department and the Frankenhausen Domain with the American artist Claire Pentecost for her installation "Soil Erg" on the occasion of dOCUMENTA (13) as well as.
  • Support of the artist collective And And for their d(13) actions.
  • Participation in the School for Worldly Companions to train the wordly companions of d(13).
  • Open day of the department in the context of the Witzenhäuser Green Week on 29.04.2012.
  • Plant market around the tropical greenhouse on 29.04.2012
  • Exhibition "Get off the wooden path" 13.04.-03.05.12
  • Field day on the topic of "soil fertility" in cooperation with the LLH 02.07.2012
  • Information booth at the Green Career Fair 27.-28.10.12
  • Lectures and information booth at Biofach 14.-18.02.12
  • Information booth at the Euro-Tier 13.-16.11.12
  • Study information days on 20.1., 29.04., 25.05. and 23.11.2012
  • 34th Biomass Day: NaWaRo-Logistics 29.06.12
  • Annual Conference of the Association of Universities on  "Conflicting goals of agricultural production: food production versus production for bioenergy production"  on 13.7.2012
  • AGGF conference 2012: "Energetic utilization of grassland growths", 08/30-1/9/12.
  • Conference "Regulation of soil organic matter and nutrient turnover in agriculture", 15-16/11/2012.
  • Faculty Day: 26-27.01.2012 for agricultural sciences and ecotrophology in Witzenhausen, Germany
  • Summer School: 03. - 12.06.2012 "Applied Solar Technology in Developing Countries"Funding DAAD
  • Tropentag: 19.-21.09.12 in Göttingen: "Resilience of agricultural systems against crises" (jointly organized by the Universities  Kassel/Witzenhausen  and Göttingen)

In 2012, 19 professors and 1 junior professor worked at our department together with a total of about 200 scientific and administrative-technical staff. One professorship and one junior professorship belong equally to the University of Göttingen and the University of Kassel.

Prof. Dr. Stephan Peth has newly started as head of the Department of Soil Science. Dr. Christian Schüler left as a long-time scientific staff member. Furthermore  many longtime secretarial staff members left: Barbara Brübach, Monika Klaus, Evelyn Meinhardt, Lydia Rammenzweig, Karin Stahn and Irmgard Zeuner.