Completed Research Projects

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Project objective:

The overarching aim of the project is to optimize the on-farm utilization of clover grass on organic livestock farms along the supply chain from cutting to application. The focus will be on the low-loss conservation of clover grass, the efficient utilization of nutrients and the economic evaluation of clover grass transfer processes.

Project structure:

The consortium of practitioners, consultants and scientists has set itself the scientific and technical goals of (i) developing a composting process for clover-grass with a focus on minimizing nitrogen losses, (ii) determining the fertilizer effect of the composts in comparison with other clover-grass transfer processes in multi-year field trials and (iii) carrying out the economic evaluation (line-cost calculations) of various clover-grass fertilization strategies to improve nutrient management on the basis of practice-relevant production and application processes and making them available for practical use.

Work packages:

1. optimize the composting process

  • Determine suitable C/N ratio
  • Determine suitable material mixture of clover grass, straw and wood-rich structural material
  • Determine suitable turning frequency
  • Determine suitable timing and quantity of delayed addition of a N-rich substrate

2. test the fertilizing effect of the clover-grass transfer fertilizer

  • A total of four field trials with summer and winter cereals for comparative testing of the composts produced

3. economics of different clover-grass transfer strategies

  • Identification of typical farm constellations
  • Creation of a cost-performance model taking into account nutrient flows and technical and monetary elements to analyze individual farms
  • Implementation of practical model calculations


  • Dr. Benjamin Blumenstein
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller

Cooperation partner

  • Department of Organic Agriculture and Crop Production, University of Kassel (Christian Bruns and Verena Jalane)
  • LLH (State Agency for Agriculture Hesse, Dr. Thorsten Haase)
  • Bioland GmbH (Stephan Gehrendes)


01.05.2019 - 31.12.2023

Funding program

BMEL (Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food)

BÖLN (Federal Program for Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture)


Despite demonstrably good cultivation and baking properties, heterogeneous wheat populations have not yet found their way into the food sector. As part of BAKWERT, organic value chains consisting of farms, mills and bakeries are being established in three regions. Two heterogeneous winter wheat populations and a reference variety are being used in the three clusters to identify and evaluate the factors relevant to the acceptance and spread of heterogeneous wheat populations along the entire value chain. The aim is to use a holistic approach to promote the cultivation, processing and marketing of population cereals. Qualitative interviews with the various stakeholders, workshops and field days, participatory methods, as well as field and stock assessments serve as the basis for researching the value chains. Independent analyses will be carried out by the Institut für Getreideverarbeitung GmbH to comprehensively evaluate the quality and baking properties. Based on this data, optimization potentials along the value chain (cultivation, milling and baking processes) will be developed in a multi-actor process. The final results will be communicated by means of a 'population manual' and a 'population film' produced from participatory videos. In addition, all (interim) results and further information will be available on the project website. The overall coordination is the responsibility of the Department of Business Administration at the University of Kassel. Partners are the Department of Organic Plant Protection at the University of Kassel, the LTZ at the Kompetenzzentrum Ökologischer Landbau Baden-Württemberg (KÖLBW) and, as a contractor, the association Die Freien Bäcker e.V.


  • Dr. Torsten Siegmeier
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller


BAKWERT - More wheat diversity! From the field to the store counter.

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15.05.2020 - 31.10.2023

Funding program

BÖLN (Federal Program for Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture)


Animal welfare consists in protecting animals from excessive demands on their adaptability. In the project, a concept is to be developed with which adaptation performance can be recorded and compared with economic parameters. In order to minimize deficits relevant to animal welfare, these must first be assessed individually for each animal. In addition, it is necessary to identify those measures that are highly effective in terms of animal welfare and at the same time have a favorable cost-benefit ratio. The complexity of the subject area is to be taken into account by a pragmatic, yet scientifically robust concept. Based on MLP data, software-generated animal-specific deviations from nutritionally relevant requirement and reference variables and animal health impairments are recorded to enable adaptation to the respective living environment. Economic assessments are based on farm branch evaluations. The aim is to develop a graded assessment concept that is capable of evaluating animal welfare performance on an animal-specific basis. Furthermore, software is to be developed with which data available for individual farms can be evaluated, aggregated into indicators relevant to animal welfare and, by combining them with economic data, made operational and usable for farmers. At the same time, the concept enables comprehensive farm monitoring.

Work plan

On 36 dairy farms, comprehensive data that can be evaluated using software will be collected, including the animal-specific gap between energy demand and supply and the extent of health disorders. Furthermore, an assessment of animal welfare according to the Welfare-Quality® criteria will be conducted on all farms. Algorithms will be developed to relate the cost situation of the farms to animal-specific performance data. Optimization strategies are developed using a test model.

Utilization of results
The development and application of the tool to be developed will enable a significant improvement in animal welfare performance in dairy farming and proof of animal welfare performance achieved. On the one hand, this can be used to implement measures relevant to animal welfare that are not detrimental to farm income. Furthermore, it can be used for monitoring purposes as well as for label programs and for a general improvement of the image of products of animal origin as well as for a technology transfer abroad.

The collaborative partner DSP will integrate the results of the research project into a new software system and thus make them directly usable. The connection of the software to existing applications as well as the intensive market penetration of DSP with close contacts to farmers, veterinarians, hoof trimmers and consultants will enable a rapid dissemination of the innovation.


Verena Uhlig

Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller

Cooperation partner


01. 10. 2016 - 30. 04. 2020

Funding program

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a resolution of the German Bundestag. The project sponsorship is carried out by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) within the framework of the program for the promotion of innovation.

INSUSFAR is a coperative research project, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research The Project is being performed jointy by the Technical University of Munich, The University of Kassel and the Julius-Kühn-Institut.

Sustainable agricultural systems will need an excellent capacity for self-regulation and self-regeneration to allow for overall reduced external inputs while maintaining or increasing overall system output including delivery of ecological services. System output will be measured in the future not only as crop yields for food, feed, and energy but also as yields relative to inputs such as energy. Biodiversity at all levels is a major system component allowing for efficient self-regulation.   However, there is a lack of knowledge about the optimum level of diversity needed for high yield and yield stability, while at the same time achieving maximum self-regulation and self-regeneration to reduce the necessary inputs in a giving agricultural system.

The overall aim of the proposed work is to achieve a better understanding of how genetic diversity in self-pollinating crops with a focus on wheat grown in production systems characterized by reduced tillage and the use of living mulch crops can be optimized. To achieve these aims, the breeding innovations realized until now will be analyzed for their effects on adaptation to agricultural systems differing in input and diversity levels to determine which types will be necessary for diversified sustainable systems. The breeding innovations realized so far will be described and their role in the agricultural systems' change management will be determined and critically assessed. The potential of plant breeding innovations for the development of sustainable production systems will be investigated by analyzing their performance when grown in systems characterized by different input levels and different levels of system specific species diversity.

Varieties, lines and populations as well as the genetic changes in genetically diverse populations will be studied. Model and real cropping systems will be made use of. Besides crop performance, ecological and economical parameters will be analyzed. The results will be reflected for their potential effects on agricultural practices and breeding methods and goals as well as the political and administrative measures that might be necessary to support sustainable agricultural development. As breeding is a long-term process, a critical aim is also to ensure that the data generated in the project will be available for future research as a public and readily accessible source kept in an information system.


Dr. Torsten Siegmeier

Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller

Cooperation partners

(1) Technical University of Munich, Chair of Plant Nutrition (KU-PE), Prof. Dr. U. Schmidthalter, Dr. J.P. Baresel
(2) Julius-Kühn-Institut (JKI), Dr. Lothar Frese
(3) University of Kassel, Department of Ecological Plant Protection (KU-FÖP), Prof. Dr. Maria R. Finckh
(4) University of Kassel, Department of Organic Plant Breeding (KU-ÖPZ), Prof. Dr. G. Backes
(5) University of Kassel, Department of Business Administration (KU-BWL), Prof. Dr. D. Möller
(6) Technical University of Munich, Chair of Organic Agriculture and Plant Production Systems (TUM-ÖL), Prof. Dr. K.J. Hülsbergen, Dr. H.J. Reents


01.03. 2014 - 28.02.2020

Funding program

BMBF in the frame of the funding initiative "Innovative Pflanzenzüchtung im Anbausystem" (IPAS, Plant Breeding innovations in the Farming System).


For the practical use of domestic protein feeds in feeding, the decisive factor is whether they are competitive with imported products. However, this is not only dependent on the respective market price. The use (as well as the production and supply) of domestic protein sources is associated with synergy effects, which must be taken into account when assessing economic viability. The development of the value-added potential of domestic protein carriers presupposes the ability to connect precisely to farm-specific requirements.

In close cooperation with the partners of the project, the value-added potential of domestic protein sources in organic monogastric feeding will be analyzed in terms of demand and supply as well as in terms of development through cooperations. Practical farms with organic pig and poultry production provide the data basis for the optimization of feed rations with domestic protein carriers and the calculation of the cost-benefit ratio in the implementation of various feeding strategies in agricultural practice. Aims of the project are the analysis of the potential of individual farm optimization strategies for a demand-oriented nutrient supply with native protein carriers as well as the economic potential of cooperations between feed producers and suppliers.


Anne Oltersdorff / Caroline Over

Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller


Cooperation partner

  • Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health (coordination)
  • Department of Business Administration
  • Bioland Consulting GmbH


01. 01. 2017 - 31. 12. 2019

Funding Program

BÖLN: Federal program for organic farming and other forms of sustainable agriculture.

The project aims to analyze and evaluate the fermentation of cereal straw as an option for energy use while at the same time ensuring humus reproduction in accordance with the requirement in §17 BBodSchG. The project follows an interdisciplinary and interactive approach, taking into account aspects of humus reproduction as well as the economics of material flow management. The overall objective is the identification of optimal solutions for the energetic use of cereal straw by fermentation with regard to production economy and humus reproduction.


Dr. Benjamin Blumenstein

Prof. Dr.  Detlev Möller

Cooperation partner


01.04.2016 - 31.03.2019

Funding program

FNR Agency for Renewable Resources

PROGRASS - Securing the conservation of NATURA grassland habitats with a distributed bioenergy production

responsible: Dr. Benjamin Blumenstein, Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller

In many years of research, the University of Kassel has developed a special technology for the energetic utilization of biomass (production of electricity and solid fuel), which is particularly suitable for older grassland growths.
For the demonstration of the Europe-wide applicability of this technique on NATURA 2000 grassland habitats of particular conservation value, a mobile bioenergy plant will be deployed at three different locations (Germany, Wales, Estonia - link). The main focus of the project is on socio-economic and business aspects as well as sustainability with regard to the preservation of botanical diversity, climate-relevant savings potentials and the strengthening of regional material and value cycles in remote, economically disadvantaged regions.
One focus of the project is the regional and Europe-wide dissemination of information and the provision of advice to potentially interested parties and users in agriculture, higher-level institutions and interest groups.

The University of Kassel developed a technological and process oriented approach (PROGRASS) to produce bio-energy (electricity and solid fuel) also from mature grasslands.
PROGRASS will combine state of the art technology in a sustainable approach to gain bioenergy from a substrate which could not be used with conventional technology. As demonstration project PROGRASS will      be introduced in 3 model regions in protected NATURA habitats to prepare the ground for a large scale European wide transfer.
The PROGRASS approach will be applied in an interdisciplinary approach in a transnational partnership of 4 Research Institutes, a regional Government, the Environmental Ministry of the German State of Hesse an      Industrial Partner and an Education Agency.

siehe auch / see also:


In 2010, the project 'WEIDEKUH I' was started, which was mainly based on the initiative of dairy cow farms and thus brought to science by the practice. The objective was to identify the suitable genetic basis for the production system 'pasture'. For the comparison of different Holstein Friesian (HF) genotypes, daughters from mating with New Zealand bulls and high-performance dairy sires as well as bulls from Germany recommended for pasture systems were available. The original breed of today's HF, the German Schwarzbunte Niederungsrind (DSN), served as another comparison group. In WEIDEKUH II, in addition to production traits from routine performance testing and traits of fertility, functional traits of animal health and welfare were collected on the farms. These are of elementary importance for organic breeding programs or breeding in pasture-based husbandry practices. Data collection for a wide range of traits combined with a comprehensive economic evaluation of dairy farming in pasture-based production systems will allow a) studies of genotype-environment interactions, b) derivation of economic weights for production and functional traits in pasture systems, c) development of an overall breeding value for pasture farms and corresponding ranking of bulls, and d) identification of economic criteria for successful dairy farming in pasture-based husbandry systems. WEIDEKUH II is the prerequisite for the implementation and expansion of pasture-based production systems in Germany. Based on the generated data, the developed total breeding value can be used to identify both the most suitable genotype and the most valuable bulls across genotypes and to develop operational strategies to maximize farm profit.


Detlev Möller / Verena Uhlig


2013 - 2016

Funding program

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture based on a resolution of the German Bundestag within the framework of the Federal Program Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN).

siehe auch / see alsohere

Expansion and integration of bio gas facilities in energy supply networks

Researchers: Dr. Stefan Gold / Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller

The objectives are the development of a simulation model, which allows a comprehensive analysis of biogas production and the different utilization paths, the consideration of utilization options such as power and heat generation, natural gas substitute and fuel as well as the improvement of the integration of biogas facilities into the existing and in the future changing energy supply structures.

These goals will be achieved with the help of the following work steps:
1. system analysis and interface definition
2. selection of the simulation tool to be used
3. model development and operationalization of the simulation model
4. definition of the evaluation system
5. use of the model system
6. recommendations and transfer
Participating departments:
- Rational Energy Conversion (Department of Electrical Engineering)
- Production Organization and Factory Planning (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
- Waste Engineering (Department of Civil Engineering)
- Center for Environmental Systems Research
- Business Administration (Department of Ecological Agricultural Sciences)


Soil fertility in organic agriculture

Responsible for the project: Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller / Daniel Wolf

The project is being carried out by a consortium of scientists and consultants from FiBL Germany, FiBL Switzerland, the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture (LfL), the Dresden University of Applied Sciences, the Naturland growers' association, the Foundation for Ecology and Agriculture, the University of Kassel, and the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute. Dr. Klaus-Peter Wilbois of FiBL Germany is responsible for the overall coordination of the research project, which is scheduled to run for a good three years.
The main objective of the interdisciplinary research project is to develop measures for preserving soil fertility, making better use of yield potential at various locations and thus increasing the value added for organic farms. The project follows a practice-oriented research approach and focuses on organically managed market crop farms with low livestock numbers or no livestock. The main focus is on researching ways to increase the performance of legumes in pure stands and mixed crops. Soil chemical and physical as well as phytosanitary aspects are in the foreground of the work. In addition, yield-limiting factors and their control at the respective location will be determined in practical farms. All soil fertility management measures developed and tested during the project will be subjected to both an economic analysis and a technology assessment.

see also:

Developing a method to create a network of rural service providers and agricultural enterprices with sheltered workshops  fostering rural development

Editor: Albrecht Flake

A research project of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL Germany e.V.), in which Albrecht Flake is involved as an external PhD student.

see also:

Integrating nature conservation objectives into organic agriculture

Author: Detlev Möller / Tina Behrens

Organic agriculture is considered to be a land use method that per se represents advantages in terms of environmental protection and nature conservation. Nevertheless, there are also conflicting goals and unused potentials. In a BfN project, various nature conservation measures are being implemented in an interdisciplinary manner on the Hessian state domain of Frankenhausen and accompanied by scientific studies. The aim of the agro-economic project is the economic analysis of nature conservation measures in the form of cost-effectiveness analyses and operational cost-benefit analyses. From this, statements on nature conservation efficiency as well as possibly necessary compensation payments can be derived. Both measures in the managed area (wide row, ridge cultivation, field fodder management, use of harrows, flower strips) and permanent landscape structures (grazing concepts, creation of hedges) are considered.

see also:

Economics of group housing systems of lactating sows

Processing period:
Researcher: Katja Lange

The importance of pig fattening and thus also piglet production in organic farming is increasing. The interest in ecologically and economically sensible housing systems is growing. Group housing systems for sows with piglets are an interesting alternative to the usual individual housing systems. The housing system is adapted to the natural behavior of the animals and at the same time environmentally friendly. It is assumed that there are also economic and production advantages. Nevertheless, this method is still not widespread and insufficiently researched from an economic point of view. The aim of the project is to investigate the economic efficiency of group housing systems and to derive practical recommendations in comparison with conventional methods. Based on empirically collected cost and performance data, typical model farms and a decision support model are constructed on a full cost basis.

Success factors and economics of bio gas production on organic farms

Project duration:
Researcher: Victor Anspach

The research project is designed as an empirical study and will include about half of all larger "bio-biogas plants" in Germany. Aims of the project are, on the one hand, economic feasibility studies especially tailored to the conditions and needs of organic farms, including all important input and output areas (e.g. Nawaro cultivation and the effect of "biogas slurry"). In coordination with the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (German Agricultural Society), work is to be carried out on a transferable accounting system for organic farms.
On the other hand, in addition to quantitative success parameters, qualitative parameters relating to the "human factor" as an entrepreneur are to be given greater focus and success factors are to be precisely worked out.

Network data base of bio gas facilities on organic farms in Germany

Project duration:
Responsible: Victor Anspach

The aim of the project is the development of an operator database, in which characteristics such as output, substrate composition and heat utilization concepts of all "bio-biogas plants" are to be recorded. In addition to providing an overview of the actual development and significance of biogas plants, the database can above all serve as a basis for research tailored to the specifics of organic farming and for better networking of plant operators.