Review 2016

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In WS 2016/17, 1213 students were enrolled in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences. They were distributed among the individual courses of study as follows:

  • Bachelor Organic Agriculture: 701
  • Master Organic Agriculture: 166
  • Sustainable International Agriculture (SIA, cooperation with University of Göttingen): 173
  • International Food Business and Consumer Studies (IFBC, cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences): 107
  • Sustainable Food Systems (Susfoods, cooperation with Fulda, Lyon, Gent, Cluj, Aarhus): 9
  • Exchange students: 13
  • Doctoral students: 44

As part of the Event Management module, the 24th Witzenhausen Conference was held by the students from December 6 - 12 with 230 participants. This year the title was "Ich mach Dir den Hof! - Brennpunkt Hofübergabe".

Two extensive lecture series were organized in the winter semester: "Seed Sovereignty versus New Genetic Technologies - Are we allowed to do everything we can?" and "Sustainable Development, Food Security and Humanitarian Assistance".

Larger field trips took place to Ireland (Organic Agriculture course) and the Netherlands (International Food Business and Consumer Studies course).

In 2016, the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences raised € 6.7 million in third-party funding.

About 100 articles from our department were published in scientific journals (peer reviewed) in 2016 (see websites of the individual departments). A total of 30 doctorates and one habilitation 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 2016 should be listed as examples.

Completed cooperation projects:    

  • Erasmus Plus for Organic Sector (EU)
  • Further development and testing of a concept for the documentation and evaluation of agricultural research achievements for practice and society (BLE)Acquisition and use orientations as determinants for the shaping of village profiles (DFG).
  • Excellent cattle, excellent farmers: representation, identity formation and community of actors in the mirror of awards (1780-2000) - LOEWE focus "Animal-Human-Society" (Land Hessen)
  • Sorghum genotypes, tillage systems and cover crops for promotion mycorrhiza responsiveness and Striga hermonthica management (Volkswagenstiftung)
  • Boar fattening - development of a concept for the production, slaughter, processing and marketing of organically produced boars along the entire value chain (BLE)
  • Effects of water content, input of roots and dissolved organic matter and spatial inaccessibility on C turnover & determination of the spatial variability of subsoil properties - FOR 1806 (DFG)
  • Summary analysis of sub-surface irrigation activities in Sub-Saharan Africa for optimization and adaptation to environmentally friendly irrigation practices (BLE)
  • Improvement of haymaking technology (BLE)
  • Application of information technologies in precision agriculture principles in beekeeping (BLE)
  • Securing humus supply with straw and green manure - Economic evaluation of management strategies (BLE)
  • OSCAR: Optimizing Subsidiary Crop Applications in Rotations (EU)
  • COBRA: Coordinating Organic Plant Breeding Activities (EU Core Organic)
  • IMPRO - Impact matrix analysis and cost-benefit calculations to improve management practices regarding health status in organic dairy farming (EU)

Started cooperation projects:

  • Healthy plants from healthy soils: Resilience and stability of organic cropping systems (Ekhaga foundation)
  • Biodiversity education at the Botanical Garden (DBU)
  • Teacher training: Bringing the Global Development Framework into schools (BMBF)
  • The relevance of nutrient management and primary and functional traits for milk production in an urbanizing environment - FOR2432 (DFG)
  • Intensification Effects on Material Flows in Rural-Urban Cropping Systems - FOR2432 (DFG)
  • Assessment of structural and functional properties of crop production systems with modern terrestrial and air- and spaceborne remote sensing methods - FOR2432 (DFG)
  • Regional forage (BLE)
  • Effects of intensified land use and changes in soil management on soil water balance and water use efficiency (DFG)
  • Practicability of animal welfare indicators in on-farm self-monitoring, development of an evaluation framework and technical implementation in digital applications (EiKoTiger) (BLE)
  • Intensification Effects on Material Flows in Rural-Urban Cropping Systems - FOR 3423 (DFG)
  • SoundHooves - Automatic early diagnosis of claw diseases (BLE)
  • SmartBeet - Development of an electronic Smart Harvest system for low-damage sugar beet harvesting (BLE)
  • Development of a ROBOTIK solution for slug control in agriculture (BLE)
  • Economic evaluation of humus replacement strategies - joint project SOMenergy (FNR)
  • Aggregated indicator concept for the assessment of animal welfare performance and its economic implications in dairy farming (BLE)
  • Preventive cultivation planning in dealing with the pest guild in field beans and peas (BLE)
  • Extension and agronomic evaluation of practice surveys and investigations within the model demonstration networks soybean and lupine of the protein crop strategy (BLE)

The following faculty members or projects received awards in 2016:

  • Ms. Aiperi Otunchieva (FG Organic Food Quality and Food Culture):     Commitment Award Prize 2016 (initiated by the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy).
  • Mr. Stephan Junge (FG Ecological Plant Protection): Best MSc thesis and prize of the potato industry for the MSc thesis.
  • Mr. Philip Schierning (FG Ecological Plant Breeding and Agricultural Biodiversity): 1st prize of the CLAAS Foundation for his BSc thesis.
  • Department of Agricultural Engineering: Best teaching in the field of agricultural engineering at the Agricultural University Ranking
  • Recognition as botanical garden with special status
  • Allocation of HMWK to university for education/public in TGH 2016.

The following members were appointed or elected to expert committees in 2016:

  • Prof. Dr. Hamm (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Confirmation of membership in the Bioeconomy Council of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
  • Prof. Dr. Hamm (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Election to the board of directors of the Competence Center for Empirical Research Methods
  • Prof. Dr. Hamm (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Editorial board of scientific journal "Food Quality and Preference" ( Verlag Elsevier)

The department conducted a variety of tours and informational events for groups of visitors. Larger events in 2016 were:

  • International DAAD Alumni Seminar from 02.02.-09.02.2016 (FG Agricultural Engineering).
  • Humus balances under control? - Solution approaches for livestock-less farms" BÖLN final workshop on 02.05.2016 (FG Business Administration).
  • Presentations and information stand at the Biofach in Nuremberg from 10-13.02.16.
  • Final conference of the EU project "OSCAR" in February 2016 (FG Ecological Plant Protection).
  • Plant market of the tropical greenhouse on 01.05.2016.
  • Open day at the Frankenhausen domain on 3.7.2016
  • Annual conference of the university association "Food supply in the city, urban agriculture and gardens" on 14.07.16.
  • The department was represented at the Eurotier from 15 - 18.11.16 in Hannover.
  • Doctoral Certificate Program of the German-speaking agricultural faculties: "Principles and Practices in Agricultural Economics" (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing).

In 2016, 20 professors worked at our department together with a total of about 220 scientific and administrative-technical staff. Two professorships (Prof. Dr. Eva Schlecht, FG Livestock Production in the Tropics and Subtropics; Prof. Dr. Claudia Neu, FG Sociology of Rural Areas) belong to the University of Göttingen and the University of Kassel in equal parts.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Thiel started as head of the Department of International Agricultural Policy and Environmental Governance in the summer semester 2016 and Prof. Dr. Claudia Neu as head of the Department of Sociology of Rural Areas in the winter semester 2016/17. Prof. Dr. Uta König von Borstel has taken over the Department of Animal Breeding as an acting professor.

In the winter semester 2016, apl.- Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter von Fragstein (FG Organic Vegetable Production) resigned and Prof. Dr. Sven König left the department and accepted a call to the University of Giessen.

Changes in the Dean's Office as of 1.9.2016: Dean for the next three years is Prof. Dr. Gunter Backes, Dean of Studies Prof. Dr. Bernard Ludwig.