Review of the year 2013

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In WS 2013/14, 1014 students were enrolled in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences. They were distributed among the individual courses of study as follows:

  • Bachelor Organic Agriculture: 597
  • Master Organic Agriculture: 135
  • Sustainable International Agriculture (SIA, cooperation with University of Göttingen): 138
  • International Food Business and Consumer Studies (IFBC, cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences): 81
  • Exchange students: 7
  • Doctoral students: 55

As part of the Event Management module, the 21st Witzenhausen Conference was held by the students from December 3 - 7 with 120  participants, this year with the title "How round is the organic egg? - Challenges of laying hen husbandry".

The Department of Agricultural Engineering in cooperation with the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad Pakistan organized the international conference "Renewable Energy Technologies in Pakistan" from  01 - 03 October. Major field trips took place to Thailand (Sustainable International Agriculture course), Israel (Organic Agriculture course) and Turkey (International Food Business and Consumer Studies course).

In 2013, the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences raised €6.5 million in third-party funding.
In 2013, more than 100 articles from our department were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals (see websites of the individual departments). A total of 29 PhDs 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 2013 should be listed as examples.

Completed cooperation projects:

  • Increasing the Value of Organically Grown Crops by Optimizing Soil Fertility Management (BLE).
  • A Comprehensive Analysis of Subsurface Irrigation in SSA for an Optimization and Adaption of an Environmentally friendly Irrigation Practice (ERA, ARD).
  • Pilot project on a coordinated European Animal Welfare Network (EU)
  • Global Learning in the Botanical Garden  (DBU)
  • Urban Food (VW Foundation)
  • Impact of transformation processes in 'Jubraka' agroforestry systems of the Nuba Mountains, Sudan, on plant diversity and nutrient fluxes (DFG)
  • Expansion of organic soybean cultivation in Germany through breeding adaptation and crop optimization (BLE)
  • PROGRASS - Conservation of natural grassland through decentralized energy recovery (EU)

Started cooperation projects:

  • Coordinating Organic Plant Breeding Activities for Diversity - COBRA (EU).
  • Reduction of Post Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value Chains - RELOAD (BMBF)
  • Optimization of haymaking technology (BLE)
  • Development of a health monitoring system for bee colonies (ICR-AGRI)
  • Greenfood - GREENFOODS Towards Zero fossil CO2 emission in the European food & beverage industry (EU)
  • RE4Food - Renewable Energy for Food Processing (DIFD)
  • Use of organic residues from agriculture for energy production
  • Investigations and development of an efficient auto-regulative irrigation system with membrane material (BMBF, DLR)
  • Acoustic pest detection (BLE)
  • Healthy Minor Cereals - An integrated approach to diversify the genetic base, improve stress resistance, agronomic management and nutritional/processing quality of minor cereal crops for human nutrition in Europe. (EU)
  • Orientation framework for global development in North Hesse, implementation of global learning in teacher training (BMZ)
  • Orientation framework global development at model schools (BMZ)
  • Biogas plants in organic farming  (FNR)
  • Urban Food Plus (BMBF)
  • Organic inspection competence: Structured analysis of requirements and development of industry-wide coordinated education and training concepts for organic inspectors (Konkom) (BLE)
  • COMBINE - Converting Organic Matters from European urban and natural areas into storable bio-Energy (EU)
  • Cultivation of energy maize in mixed culture with pole beans Development and optimization of the cultivation system (FNR, BMELV)
  • KURZUM II - Dynamics of soil C-fractions and plant productivity during the conversion of short rotation coppice (SRC) to arable and grassland use - short rotation coppice conversion. (HMUELV)
  • Joint project EVA III -  Energy supply by means of biogas and ethanol including co-product utilization in an organic farm without livestock (ÖKOVERS) (BMELV)
  • "FOR 1806 - The forgotten part of carbon cycling: Organic matter storage and turnover in subsoils (SUBSOM)" (DFG)

The following faculty members or projects have received awards:

  • Dr. Jochen Ebert (Agricultural History): Main prize of the science award "Hessische Geschichte und Landeskunde 2013" of the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art for the doctoral thesis "Domänengüter im Fürstenstaat. The estates of the landgraves and electors of Hesse (16th-19th centuries). Inventory - Types - Functions"
  • Luise Merbach: second prize of the Claas Foundation for her bachelor thesis  "Feasibility study of a system for knife condition detection", which the student of the University of Applied Sciences Schmalkalden prepared in cooperation with the Department of Agricultural Engineering.
  • Denise Knop: Hans Martin Prize for Work Science for her internship thesis "Workload during milking" at the Department of Agricultural Engineering.
  • Dr. Anne Schiborra (FG Livestock Production in the Tropics and Subtropics): Teaching Award of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences Göttingen for outstanding teaching performance in SoSe 2013.
  • Huttenplatz project (FG Ecological Agriculture and Plant Production in the context of DOCUMENTA activities in Kassel): Health Award of the City of Kassel

The following members were appointed or elected to expert committees in 2013:

  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hamm is spokesman for the new specialist group on organic agriculture in the German Agricultural Research Alliance (DAFA).
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller was appointed to the General Committee of the German Agricultural Society.
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Georg Jörgensen has become a member of the Editorial Board of Biology and Fertility of Soils and an Independent Expert of the European Research Council.
  • Prof. Dr. Bernard Ludwig has become a member of the Editorial Board of Geoderma.

The department conducted a variety of tours and informational events for groups of visitors. Larger events in 2013 were:

  • Faculty Day for Agricultural Sciences and Ecotrophology in Witzenhausen, January 24-25, 2013.
  • Presentations and information booth at Biofach, February 13-16, 2013.
  • The Agricultural Economics Doctoral College of the German Faculties of Agriculture "Principles and Practices of Survey Research: Designing and Conducting Surveys" was held April 08-12.
  • National Workshop of the Education for Sustainable Development Leadership Program, Engagement global. April 22-23.
  • Plant Market on April 28, 2013 with approximately 2,500 guests.
  • 35th Biomass Day, June 03-07, 2013.
  • Action day around organically produced and fairly traded coffee at the Hessentag in Kassel on June 23, 2013.
  • Field day legumes on the domain Frankenhausen with about 90 participants on 26 June 2013.
  • Renewable Energy in Agriculture Conference, October 01-03, 2013.
  • Summer School "Agricultural Engineering in Developing Countries," November 03-14, 2013.
  • The department was represented at Agritechnika , November 12-17, 2013 in Hannover, Germany.
  • Meeting of the umbrella organization Kulturpflanzen-und Nutztiervielfalt e.V. from 31.November -1. December 2013.
  • University day on the topic "Soil fertility" with about 110 participants on 02.December 2013.

In 2013, 19 professors worked at our department together with a total of about 200 scientific and administrative-technical staff. One professorship (Prof. Dr. Eva Schlecht, FG Farm Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics) belongs equally to the University of Göttingen and the University of Kassel.
Prof. Dr. Gunter Backes has started as head of the Department of Ecological Plant Breeding and Agricultural Biodiversity. New in the dean's office are Ms. Tamara Thielemann as dean's secretary, Dr. Sonja Biewer as contact person of the incubator start-up consultancy and Dr. Christin Schipmann-Schwarze as substitute of the departmental advisor. Dr. Reinhold Stülpnagel retired as a long-time research assistant.