Review 2014

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In WS 2014/15, 1067 students were enrolled in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences. They were distributed among the individual courses of study as follows:

  • Bachelor Organic Agriculture: 613
  • Master Organic Agriculture: 148
  • Sustainable International Agriculture (SIA, cooperation with University of Göttingen): 139
  • International Food Business and Consumer Studies (IFBC, cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences): 97
  • Exchange students: 14
  • Doctoral students: 56

As part of the Event Management module, the 22nd Witzenhausen Conference was held by the students from December 2 - 6 with 150 participants. This year the title was "SoYes - SoNots - Protein Sources on the Test Bench".

The Department of Agricultural Engineering in cooperation with the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad Pakistan organized for the second time the international conference "Renewable Energy Technologies in Pakistan" from  December 16 - 18. Major field trips took place to Norway (Organic Agriculture course) and the UK (International Food Business and Consumer Studies course).

In 2014, the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences raised €6.7 million in third-party funding.

In 2014, about 130 articles from our department were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals (see web pages of the individual departments). A total of 19 doctorates were completed.

From the large number  of research projects carried out last year, the projects with several scientific cooperation partners that were completed or started in 2014 should be listed as examples

Completed cooperation projects:

  • Development of a communication strategy for sustainable aquaculture products (BLE).
  • Concept for product differentiation on the beef market - communication options and willingness to pay for beef from extensive, species-appropriate suckler cow husbandry on grassland (BLE)
  • Communication of agro-biodiversity (BLE)
  • Water resource management in dry zonal paddy cultivation in Mahaweli River Basin, Sri Lanka: Analysis on spatial and temporal climate changes in scalar (re)configuration
  • Environmental flow assessment of the Orkhon River in Mongolia  (ICDD)
  • Reduced tillage and green manuring in organic farming (BLE)
  • Decentralized energy production from biomass of the Danube basin and other river floodplains of Central Europe (Interreg Central Europe)
  • Joint project EVA III (BMEL)
  • Energetic use of grassland biomass within an agroforestry system of fast growing tree species and grassland (BMEL)
  • Promoting animal health and welfare of organic laying hens in Europe (Core Organic)
  • Tackling abiotic production constraints in pearl millet and sorghum-based agricultural systems in the West-African Sahel (BMZ/ICRISAT)
  • Nutrient cycling in wheat under different fertilizer and tillage regimes (DAAD/CIMMYT)
  • Land use changes around Lake Inle-Myanmar (DAAD)
  • -     ICDD - International Center for Development and Decent Work, Phase I  (BMZ/DAAD)
  • KLIFF Subproject 1.1 Performance traits in dairy cattle: Influencing variables, interactions and breeding measures in different production systems (Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony)
  • Importance of nitrogen uptake pathways of microorganisms in soil (DFG)
  • PROGRASS - Conservation of natural grassland through decentralized energy recovery (EU)

Started cooperation projects:

  • Sustainable Consumption (NaKon) ( Land Hessen)
  • Integrated Water Resource Management for a Sustainable Food System in Southeast Georgia: A Study on the Interrelationships of Water, Food Security, Climate and Society of a Transition Country
  • Improved Soil Fertility Management for Sustainable Intensification in Potato Based Systems in Ethiopia and Kenya (GIZ)
  • Erasmus Plus <EPOS> (EU)
  • Animal-Human Society (Loewe- Land Hessen)
  • Small-scale and dynamic analysis of microstructural rhizo- and drillosphere properties: porosity and physicochemistry and their importance for root growth, nutrient storage and delivery (DFG)
  • Development of self-compacting backfill materials with increased root resistance with preferential use of excavated soil - for the protection of tree roots and underground infrastructure in urban areas (DBU)
  • SAPDRY - Development of grain drying facilities using super absorbent polymers (ZIM)
  • Acoustic early warning systems for insects control in grain storage in Kenya (Rentenbank)
  • Development of quality standards and optimized processing methods for organic produce (DBU)
  • Quantification of climate-relevant gas leakages in biogas plants (BLE)
  • Real-time detection of knife sharpness in agricultural machinery (DLR)
  • Investigation and presentation of quality changes of agricultural products during drying (Amazonen Werke)
  • Effects of climate change on fungal community structure and organic matter turnover in soil profiles along an elevation gradient in alpine forest ecosystems  (University of Kassel)
  • Breeding programs for hornlessness in dairy and dual purpose cattle in Germany (Rentenbank)
  • Cow-L: Cow learning samples for the implementation of genome-based selection strategies based on high-throughput typing in dairy cattle ( BMBF)
  • Quantitative genetic analyses and breeding planning calculations for conventional traits of the
  • Dairy cow behavior and new traits of the human-animal-relationship ( Hessian Ministry of Science and Arts /LOEWE Project)
  • Excellent Cattle, Excellent Farmers: Representation, Identity Formation and Actor Community in the Mirror of Awards (1780-2000) ( Hessian Ministry of Science and Arts /LOEWE Project)
  • Development and implementation of a breeding concept for the production of gilts
  • for self-rearing and sale in organic farming ( BMLE)
  • Biodiversity education as a cross-cutting issue of biology, politics and ethics - model project on qualification measures at botanical gardens (DBU)

The following members or projects of the department have received awards:

Prof. Hamm and Dr. Jannsen (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Highly Commended Paper Award from the Emerald Literati Network - British Food Journal 2014 for the article "UK consumer reactions to organic certification logos".

Fr. Zipp (FG Farm Animal Ethology and Husbandry): Best Poster Award 18th IFOAM Organic World Congress, Istanbul, Turkey, October 2014 for the poster "Zipp, K.A., Barth, K., Knierim, U.: Agitation behavior and heart rate of dairy cows with and without calf-contact during different stimuli in the parlour."

Mr. Sommer (FG Animal Nutrition and Animal Health): Best Poster Award 18th IFOAM Organic World Congress, Turkey, October 2014 for the poster "Sommer, H. and Sundrum, A. (2014): Leaf mass of clover-like legumes as a protein source in organic pig nutrition."

Fr. Biermann (FG Animal Breeding): Scholarship from  European Association for Animal Production (EVT) for the EVT annual meeting. The presentation topic is "Improving meat quality in endangered pig breeds using "in vivo" indicator traits".

Mr. Yin (FG Animal Breeding): Scholarship from  European Association for Animal Production (EVT) for the EVT annual meeting. The presentation topic is "Generating test-day methane emissions as a basis for genetic studies with random regression models".

The research project "PROGRASS" has been selected as one of the hundred best projects in the competition "Ausgezeichnete Orte im Land der Ideen" 2014.

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

Prof. Dr. Knierim: Competence Circle Animal Welfare

Prof. Dr. Backes: Appointment to the Scientific Advisory Board for Biodiversity and Genetic Resources of the BMEL.

Prof. Dr. Backes: Appointment to the Advisory and Coordination Committee for Genetic Resources of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops (BEKO) of the BMEL

Prof. Dr. Ludwig: Member of the Editorial Board of Pedosphere

The department conducted a variety of tours and informational events for groups of visitors. Larger events were in 2014:

In 2014, a lecture series organized by students and supervised by Ms. Ploeger was held again for the first time. The aim of the lecture series was to provide an in-depth insight into the problems of the existing food and agricultural system, to discuss current obstacles and challenges, and to present possible alternatives and options for action.

International DAAD Alumni Winter School "Quality management along organic agri-value chains in developing countries", from 03 - 11 February 2014 in Witzenhausen.

The department was represented at the Hessian Agricultural Fair in Alsfeld, February 8 - 9, 2014.

Presentations and information booth at Biofach, February 12-15, 2014.

Workshop on reintroduction of endangered field wild herbs, April 1, 2014.

Association Mapping Worskhop of the Scandinavian PPP Barley Consortium in Witzenhausen (with participants from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway), April 03-04.  2014.

Plant market on April 27, 2014 with about 2,500 guests.

The department was represented at Euro Tier in Hannover from 13-16 November 2014.

5th Biomass Day on the topic of " Residues, Landscape Maintenance Material and Co-Products" on 20.06.2014 at the FH Schmalkalden.

Urban Food Plus Summer School 2014 on "Urban and Peri-urban agriculture in West African cities" at the University of Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana, from 28.09. -  03.10.2014.

In 2014, 21 professors worked at our department together with a total of about 250 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. Christian Herzig has newly started as head of the Department of Management in the International Food Industry. New in the dean's office are Ms. Thekla Gundlach and Ms. Sema Yilmaz and Ms. Birgit Schubert, respectively, as their maternity leave replacements as administrative specialists for third-party funding management. In addition, Mr. Sebastian Münz was hired as contact person for quality management issues and Dr. Martin Wiehle is the new managing director of the Tropical Center.