Current Research Projects

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Description

The VORWERTS research project investigates and evaluates the adoption of agroecological innovation
and transformative action using the example of wheat-grain legume mixed culture in the real laboratory. Eight
regional organic value chains are involved in the research process in a participatory manner.
The overall aim of the research project is to investigate and optimize the adoption of agroecological innovation and
transformative action using the example of wheat-grain legume mixtures for human
nutrition under practical conditions.
VORWERTS provides guidance for transdisciplinary practical research and develops concrete
recommendations for action for the application and dissemination of wheat-grain legume mixtures
in regional organic value chains. This "use case" is intended to serve as a "blueprint" for future real-world laboratories
and the structured monitoring of relevant agroecological transformation processes.
The overall objective of VORWERTS is structured as follows:

- Evaluation and optimization of agroecological innovation along the entire value chain
  from primary production to the consumer using the example of mixed cultivation of winter wheat
  and grain legumes for the production of baked goods
- Evaluation and optimization of the production and processing processes of mixed cultivation of baked wheat
  along the value chain (cultivation, harvesting, preparation, processing, marketing), harvesting, preparation, processing, marketing)
- Investigation and evaluation of the eco-functional intensification through food-grain crops
  and the potentials of decoupling land use competition (fodder production vs. human
  nutrition) through mixed cultivation
- Establishment of a practical research approach to analyze and implement agroecological
  Innovation in regional organic value chains as a so-called "real laboratory"
- Analysis and promotion of transformative action through co-production of knowledge involving
  all actors from production to final consumption.

Editing

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

Website

More information on the topic: www.vorwerts-projekt.de

Cooperation partner

  • University of Kassel, FG Organic Plant Protection
  • University of Kassel, FG Agricultural and Food Marketing
  • Die Freien Bäcker e.V.
  • Atelier Ernährungswende

Duration

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2026

Funding program

BÖLN (Federal program for organic farming and other forms of sustainable agriculture)

Description

Despite proven good growing and baking properties, heterogeneous wheat populations have not yet found their way into the food sector. Within BAKWERT, ecological value chains consisting of farms, mills and bakeries are established in three regions. Two heterogeneous winter wheat populations as well as a reference variety are applied in the three clusters to identify and evaluate the factors relevant for acceptance and diffusion 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 different stakeholders, workshops and field days, participatory methods, as well as field and stand surveys serve as a basis for exploring the value chains. Independent analyses will be carried out by the Institut für Getreideverarbeitung GmbH for the comprehensive evaluation of quality and baking characteristics. Based on these data, optimization potentials along the value chain (cultivation, milling and baking processes) will be developed in a multi-actor process. The communication of the final results will be done by a 'population manual', as well as by a 'population film' produced from participatory videos. Furthermore, 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 of the University of Kassel, the LTZ at the Competence Center for Organic Agriculture Baden-Württemberg (KÖLBW) as well as the association Die Freien Bäcker e.V. as contractor.

Editing

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

Website

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

More information: www.weizenvielfalt.de   

Get to know us: www.youtube.com/@wheatdiversity

Follow us at: www.instagram.com/bakwert

Latest news at: www.twitter.com/popkruste

Duration

15.05.2020 - 31.10.2023

Support program

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

Description

Within the framework of federal funding, synergy effects between the goals of nature conservation, agricultural economics and sustainable regional development are to be established in the biodiversity hotspot region "Werratal mit Hohem Meißner und Kaufunger Wald" and to permanently safeguard the local habitat and species diversity. This is done in two submodules:In

In sub-module 1, conceptual foundations for further projects and measures for the hotspot region as a whole are developed with regard to the above-mentioned holistic model. Newly developed concepts will be integrated into a future-oriented overall concept together with already existing care and measures concepts overlaying the hotspot region.

Sub-module 2 focuses on the continued existence and further development of (herding) sheep as a key factor for the provision of diverse landscape and ecosystem services in the hotspot region and thus implements exemplary measures for which there is a priority need for action. Existing and newly constituted sheep farms are to be supported by an intelligent, nature conservation-related high-quality area network, by optimized marketing strategies and by integration into public relations and tourism concepts, and regional/local actors are to be strengthened in their cooperation. In this way, a sustainable infrastructure is generated that helps to absorb risk factors of sheep farming and is suitable for effectively implementing priority objectives of the National Biodiversity Strategy and the country strategies.Sub-module 2 is based on three pillars that are coordinated with each other and linked in many ways in terms of content: Pillar 1 includes conservation-based measures to optimize, further expand, and connect sheep corridors. These include the long-term securing of land through exchange and purchase as well as the nature conservation-related upgrading of pasture and drift areas along the summer and winter grazing routes. The project-accompanying communication concept from pillar 2 aims at the effective public communication of environmental and nature conservation topics concerning the hotspot, as well as the creation of acceptance and the integration of sheep products into the regional value chain. Pillar 3 accompanies the first-mentioned pillars by means of application-oriented research. Management procedures and measures are analyzed and evaluated in an iterative feedback process, optimized during the course of the project and transferable results are generated from the added value of knowledge.

The partners in the network ensure the success of the project through their expertise in land management (Werra-Meißner district), in maintenance and repair measures, public relations and marketing (Frau-Holle-Land Geo-Nature Park), as well as in project management, network planning and success monitoring (University of Kassel). The necessary linking of the competences of the network partners for the processing of the above-mentioned project focal points is taken into account by the participation of the representatives of all three network partners in the committee work.

 

Editing

Daniel Mühlrath

Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller

Website

www.schafland17.de

Cooperation partner

  • University of Kassel, FG Landscape and Vegetation Ecology
  • HLNUG
  • Regional Council Kassel
  • Association for Regional Development Werra-Meißner e.V.
  • State Office of Agriculture Hesse
  • District Farmers' Association Werra-Meißner e.V.
  • Federal association of professional shepherds e.V.
  • Natura 2000-Station Unstrut-Hainich/Eichsfeld
  • Sheep farms from the region
  • Nature conservation advisory council

Duration

10.2019 - 09.2025

Funding program

BPBV project, funding priority hotspots of biodiversity

Background

A stable landscape water balance mitigates the consequences of climate change. The measure L-19 of the IKSP Hessen 2025 aims at adapting the landscape to progressive climate change in such a way that local climatic effects (summer cooling by evaporation of vegetation) and at the same time the other services such as water supply, soil fertility, recreational function, local climate and habitat function for animal and plant species are strengthened by increasing the water retention potential of the soil. It stabilizes the material balance in the soil and reduces the risk of soil erosion during heavy rainfall events.

Implementation to date

In a first step, the HMWEVW commissioned an expert opinion in 2018. This was published on the Internet in January 2020 under the title "Adaptation to climate change through improved landscape water balance". Based on an overarching approach, it describes the role of the landscape water balance for adaptation to climate change. The target groups are primarily those working in regional planning. They are to receive support in the application of the various planning instruments and measures.

Based on the basic report, a pilot project was launched by the HMUKLV in coordination with the HMWEVW, focusing on agriculturally used soils. Under the title "AKHWA: Adaptation to Climate Change in Hesse - Increasing Soil Water Retention through Regenerative Arable Farming Strategies", scientists from various institutions under the leadership of the University of Kassel want to answer the following questions:

  • Can regenerative arable farming improve the water retention function of soils?
  • Does an improved water retention function produce a significant temperature reduction in the microclimatic range?
  • Does the effect of the system differ under organic and conventional farming?

The functional approach is new. Producers (plant crops), consumers (humans, grazing animals), destructors (soil organisms by number, connectivity) and the site (soil/topography) are considered together with water and local climate. The aspect of economic efficiency is also integrated. The AKHWA pilot project began in 2020 and is expected to run for four years. Prior to the start of the project, a literature review and a survey of farmers were conducted. This preliminary work allowed to specify the research questions of the project and to sharpen the experimental design.

The results will not only benefit agriculture by improving soil properties, but also groundwater and flood protection.

Future plans

Through 2024, several trials will occur as part of the pilot project to investigate the effects of regenerative cropping strategies on water retention, soil, vegetation, and agricultural yield. The latter is important to promote the acceptance of the measures. The project takes an integrative view of water, climate, soil and vegetation. Some of the experiments will take place on the experimental farm of the University of Kassel, others on farms. The findings will also be used to parameterize a water balance model that will allow the effects of cropping systems to be estimated even under more extreme weather conditions.

In the end, there will be recommended measures for extension, promotion and planning (e.g. spatial planning, compensation planning). In the future, farmers should be able to contribute to the stabilization of the landscape water balance and thus to an increased resilience of the agricultural ecosystem in climate change - and this nationwide.

Further information can be found at

https://landesplanung.hessen.de/informationen/anpassung-den-klimawandel/Grundsatzgutachten_verbesserter_Landschaftswasserhaushalt

The measure is promoted with means of the country Hessen

Wiesbaden the 26.06.2020

Project Objective:

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

Project structure:

The consortium of practitioners, consultants, and scientists has set the scientific and technical goals of (i) developing a clover-grass composting process with a focus on minimizing nitrogen losses, (ii) to determine the fertilizer effect of the composts comparatively with other clover-grass transfer processes in multi-year field trials, and (iii) to evaluate the economics (line-cost calculations) of various clover-grass fertilization strategies to improve nutrient management based on practical production and application methods and make them available for practical use.

Work packages:

1. optimize composting process

  • Determine suitable C/N ratio
  • Determine suitable material mix of clover grass, straw and woody structural material
  • Determine suitable conversion frequency
  • Determine suitable time and quantity of delayed addition of N-rich substrate.

2. test fertilization effect of clover-grass fertilizers

  • Conduct 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

Editing

  • 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 Office of Agriculture Hesse, Dr. Thorsten Haase)
  • Bioland GmbH (Stephan Gehrendes)

Duration

01.05.2019 - 30.04.2022

Support program

BMEL (Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food)

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

Description

Here, everyone is pulling together: In the five-year, nationwide NutriNet project, practitioners, advisors and scientists are working together on the question of how to improve nutrient management in organic farming.

On many long-standing organic arable farms, the main nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur are increasingly being used to a minimum. In vegetable production, nutrient surpluses are sometimes observed. At the same time, good examples from practice show that higher yields can be achieved through optimized nutrient management. But how can nutrients be optimally circulated within the farm and how can nutrients that leave the farm cycle be replaced? Many individual aspects of nutrient supply have already been well researched, but it has not yet been possible to optimally transfer the existing knowledge into agricultural practice.

This is where the NutriNet project comes in. With the help of a nationwide competence and practical research network, it aims to identify successful nutrient management strategies, develop them further with practitioners and test them in order to derive concrete recommendations for action for practical farms. To this end, practical research trials are taking place on a total of 60 organic farms, which are grouped into six regional networks nationwide. The regional networks also aim to further develop methods of practical research. Alongside the project, a data management system is being developed to support data collection, storage and evaluation in the project and, in future, as an online application, to facilitate the monitoring of the success of nutrient management strategies for extension and practice. All project activities are accompanied by a continuous knowledge transfer, which aims at a timely implementation of the existing knowledge in practice, consulting and vocational training.

Editing

Dr. Benjamin Blumenstein

Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller

Website

www.nutrinet.agrarpraxisforschung.de

Cooperation partner

  • Bioland Consulting GmbH
  • Federation of the Organic Food Industry (BÖLW)
  • Demeter e.V.
  • FiBL Projects GmbH
  • University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde (HNEE)
  • Competence Center Organic Agriculture Lower Saxony (KÖN)
  • Board of Trustees for Technology and Construction (KTBL)
  • Chamber of Agriculture North Rhine-Westphalia (LKW NRW)
  • Öko-BeratungsGesellschaft mbH - Expert advice for Naturland
  • University of Kassel, FG Business Administration

Duration

2019 - 2024

Support program

BMEL project, BÖLN